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Customer Service and Robo Calls

corsetLike buggy whips, land lines, and whale-bone corsets, customer service is a thing of the past. The long past. Only we old fogies remember when real people answered the phone after 3 to 4 rings, and actually listened and answered questions. I long for the good old days.

Here is what customer service offers today.
1. Being on hold 28 minutes before your call is answered. (Assuming it is.) . clock tickingAnd during this unreasonable lengthy of time, you hear a recording every 15 seconds that says, “Your call is important to us.  Our customer service representatives are busy helping other customers now. Please remain on the line and your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.”

2. so sorryFinally reaching a real person and being told at least 10 times with in a minute, “I’m sorry” or ” I apologize.”
These people who could care less are not sorry or apologetic. Just annoying. More than once I’ve said, “Stopped telling me you are sorry and do something!”

3. While on hold. Hearing a recording which encourages you to check their website. Great advice! But if your complaint is with your cable provider, who supplies your internet access, and the internet is down, which is why you are calling, this advice is worthless.

cable serviceBundle they say, fancy words for let us rip you off 3 ways.

4. Being told, “We are expecting higher call volumes than normal. Please call back.” Click.

 

5. Calling at 9 a.m. CSDT, and hearing a recording say, “Our office hours are between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. ESDT. Please call back during those hours.” Click

6. Being on hold for 56 minutes. Hoping to wait them out and finally giving up because you need to take more aspirin, fix a stronger drink, go to the bathroom, or GET A LIFE.

robo callsAnd then….there are the robo calls. If you have missed receiving some of these you must live on Neptune, have no phone, are in a coma, or refuse to answer calls if you do not recognize the number. (The fault with this last plan is, caller ID is far from accurate. My calls have been identified as coming from Los Angeles and I live in Louisiana.))

Robo calls offer: free braces, free hearing aids, a chance to lower your credit card interest rates or win an all expense paid vacation, some restrictions apply. (Like how much money you have to invest in time shares.). What’s nice about robo calls is that no one ever comes onto the line, so feel free to vent all your frustrations to this inhuman voice. (A robo call has saved my sanity and marriage on more than one occasion.)

My best solicitation call ever.  Several weeks ago a REAL, LIVE person called our house. She began her spiel about preparing for death, saving my loved ones the effort, and offered a great prepaid funeral.

When she paused for breath, I said. “Thank you for calling, but we have no need of your services, we are vampires.” I hung up and let her ponder that. vampires

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Old Sicilian Proverbs

italian vs sicilianMy husband, who I fondly called the Sicilian, is not referred to as having an Italian heritage, because his grandmother would rise from the grave and curse me.  Technically Sicilians are Italians, but don’t try to tell them that. They are a people and culture unto themselves.  And per my Sicilian, his family was steeped with myths, adages, and possibly even a curse or two.

After Katrina destroyed the home of his elderly Aunt Anna, his mother’s only sister as cry and laughshe was usually described, this little old Sicilian lady came to live with us.  When the devastation of Katrina, which submerged her home in 9 feet of toxic water was mentioned, she would say:  You have to laugh to keep from crying.  Wise words. Words that apply to many situations.

crows on houseGod forbid Aunt Anna  saw a crow. A crow  sitting on your house meant death would visit soon. If this adage were true, I should already be dead. Perhaps I am and I don’t know it.

Once a baby, twice a child was her excuse for spilling food at the table or her need for help taking a shower, and getting in and out of the car. This does not make sense at first, but contemplate for a few minutes how as adults we become child-like as we age. Can’t imagine anything? Perhaps the mention of adult diapers will help.

She burned black candles. black candlesDoing this was tantamount to calling down the wrath of God on someone. A curse would be put on you and your family should you ever burn a black candle against someone.  Doing this would result in being shunned. I don’t understand how this works, but these first generation Sicilians in America did so you better not burn any black candles.

birds in rainThe birds are crying for rain.  Of course these squawking birds better not be crows. (See crow comments above.) I still don’t understand  how birds making noise meant rain was coming. I heard birds making noise after a storm passed and asked if these birds were crying for rain? I was told, “None essere in asino intelligente.”   Aunt Anna said that meant, “Don’t be smart,” but I think a  better translation might be, “Don’t be a smart ass!”

Next is  a handy phrase that Aunt Anna’s Grandfather, who was a Big Boy by anyone standards, often said. When when asked if he wanted a second helping, his response would always be, “Si, dopotutto siamo in America.”  Yes, after all we are in America. 
cannoli
America was the epitome of wealth, success, and the good life to these first Sicilian immigrants to New Orleans. So, when in doubt, have another cannoli, after all you are in America.

 

 

 

One Less Rodent

Perhaps because the Sicilian dislikes/fears snakes, spiders, rats, and other vermin as much as I do he has developed selective hearing and vision. While I can see evidence of these little pests inside and outside our house, he seems oblivious to them. (Correction, he did say he saw a rat at the bird feeder. I think this was said so I would remove the feeder since he is not fond of birds. )

I never saw any rats at the feeder, but did discover a fat black rat dead in our swimming pool one morning. Perhaps Spot chased it there and it died of exhaustion trying to get out, or maybe it was on a suicide mission. Either way  I was not happy about a rat that close to our home.

rat gnawingSeveral days later when I went into the garage to fetch my plastic container of bird seed, I  saw that the hinge had been gnawed off by some rodent.  I declared war.

My solution was traps, baits, or even grenades. The Sicilian opted to go pacifist and put a heavy wrench on the top of the bird seed container. So much for passivism. The varmint knocked the wrench off the container and gnawed off the other side of the lid.  I brought the container into the house and put my finger on the Nuclear War button.

The Sicilian moved to terror threat red at my urging. We set a T-rex trap, baited with peanut butter in the garage for a week. Nada, zip, zilch. Nothing took the bait.He moved his terror threat back to green. Mine remained on orange.

T-rex

The next week as the Sicilian slept, I heard faint tap dancing in the attic above our bed. The dancing never started until Spot the Wonder Dog had given up barking for the night. By then, the Sicilian had been in dreamland for more than an hour. Several nights I woke him to listen, but the attic varmint always became quiet. Finally, one night when the varmint was performing an Irish Step Dance the Sicilian heard the noise.

“I’ll set a trap there tomorrow,” he said.

“Tomorrow? Are you nuts. I don’t want to sleep with vermin in the house another night?”

“I’m tired. I’ll do it tomorrow.”  He returned to his soft snoring while I lay awake listening, fearing that at any minute a Godzilla-like rodent would fall through the ceiling and kill me.

The next night he set the trap. Bedtime bought a short attic tap dance followed by two loud noises. “I got it. Now go to sleep,” the Sicilian said.

“No, I want to know what we caught. Go up and see what it is,” I said.

“I’m asleep. I’ll get it tomorrow,” he replied.

Go get it please,” I begged.

“No. If you want to see what it is, you go up there.”

“I’m afraid. What if it is not dead. It might leap up and bite me. We don’t even know what’s up there. It could be a monster.”

“Go to sleep.”

End of discussion. I read into the wee hours. No blood dripped through the ceiling. I’d been spared.

The next morning the Sicilian announced,”The trap was sprung, but there was nothing in it. The varmint knocked the trap off the ledge and it hit the floor. That’s what made all the noise. Don’t worry, I’ll catch the bastard tonight.” He shifted into his High Red alert. Determined not to be outwitted.

rat in trapThat night when the trap snapped, he went into the attic without my asking.  I followed closely behind him. A large rat was trying to free itself from the jaws of the T-Rex. “I’ll toss it out tomorrow,” he said .”It’s not dead yet.”

I suffered another night of terror. Rat Ghosts haunted my dreams.

A dull THUD in the garbage can the next morning ended the tragic life of Mr. or Mrs. rat.

Days later the Roach man (our bug exterminator not the seller of funny cigarettes) came to our house. A Roof Rat he announced. Good grief what next?

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Traveling in Style, If Only Once

Sardine manIf you have every flown more than 4 consecutive hours in the main cabin of an airplane, which I refer to as a cattle car, you can sympathize with the lowly sardine  mashed into a can.

In their quest to increase profits, airlines have narrowed the distance between your seat and the one in front of you to the point that only a person who has had both legs amputated can ride with any degree of comfort.

For a higher-priced ticket, you can move from the Sardine can to the Pork and BeansPork and beans in bowl area where you have an extra 6-8 inches of leg room. This high-priced real estate usually has a swanky name like Comfort or Premium Seats, which make you think you have space and can relax. You can’t. And, if the cost per inch of this room was used to determine the value of your home, we’d al be living in multi-million dollar mansions.

Pork and Beans is better than the Sardine section, but unless you reserve a seat in an exit row or bulkhead row you don’t get that much room. An aisle seats ensures a bit of leg room, but these seats come with hazards. First the flight attendants airplane seats, man tipping chairmight ram your shins with that metal cart delivering drinks and snacks.  A “snack” in airplane language means pretzels or peanuts. Second, others on your row may crawl over you numerous times to go to the bathroom or walk the aisles to prevent their legs from becoming paralyzed. And third, (the Sicilian’s personal gripe) the person in front of you may recline their seat which leaves you feeling like a mouse in a trap.

Ever since I saw how the fat cats in the Business/First Class section lounge in Barcaloungers sipping champagne, my dream has been to fly in that section. Not because I am snooty; I’m not. Or because a better class of people are in that section, (there isn’t from what I can tell) or because the food is better (which it actually is), but because I want some room. I’m a mere  5’2″, and  I’m cramped in the Sardine Can or Pork and Beans area. I pity the super-sized people.

With due diligence, and months of checking on line, the tickets the Sicilian and I needed to fly to Spain went on sale. I pounced on two First-Class tickets. Let me tell you, there are light years between the Sardine Can/ Pork and Beans area and First Class.

drinksWe boarded the plane before the Sardine and Pork and Beans passengers and were given drinks of our choice in real glasses.  We were not told, no beverages during take off or landing.  This bonus allowed the Sicilian to be totally relaxed during take off.

Our seats were wide enough for a 300 pound person to sit in comfort. Each person had their own 12 inches wide table which separated  your seat from other person on your row. A bottle of water, a fresh, full-sized pillow, and a wonderful comforter were waiting for us at our seat. We had real headsets, not those plastic things don’t work and gouge the skin in your ears raw.  USB and power plugs, a personal reading spotlight, and a wonderful Tumi box added to our comfort. (I realized I’d lived a sheltered life, one with few luxuries. I’d never heard of a Tumi Box until this flight.)

The food and beverage service was great: real china and silver, and  miniaturefirst class salt and pepper shakers which the Sicilian placed in his carry on. This was nice, but I’ve had nice in many restaurants. What was really grand was. . . the seats lay completely flat. Yes, flat, like a bed. The Sicilian, who hates to fly took a long winter’s nap.

I’ve always contended there is no such thing as jet lag, and this flight proved it. I watched as those in the Sardine Can walked off like crippled gnomes. The Pork and Beans passengers didn’t look much better. But, after our seven-hour flight, much of which was spent napping, we walked off the plane looking and feeling like humans. We were able to enjoy a full day of activities in Spain without exhaustion.

Will I ever be able to fly First Class again? I don’t know, but I do know I like being in that galaxy far, far away. (And so did the Sicilian.)

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Where is the person who . . .

• wrote on the food containing  box: lift flap to open?

Obviously this person has fingers that can double as shovels and fingernails of steel. And after ripping this box open, we are now expected to press open the tab and seal it by ticking Tab A into Slot B.  Who has ever down this without making the box look as if the postal service delivered it?

•  designed packages with a label that says “Press here to seal.”   This person has vice-grips hands and the patience of Job to line up the minuscule strips to seal the bag.

•  Sealed for your protection. bubble packages

These bubble, doubled sealed, heavy plastic containers should be banned. Scissors do not phase them. I’ve had to use razor  These bubble containers would confound Houdini.

 

Handy tear strip at top. Handy for who?  Only if you are Edward Scissorhands.edaward sissorhands.jpg The only tear strip that ever opens this way, and only after constant tugging,  is on a mustard, ketchup or salad oil packet and it explodes open when you have on your best white shirt.

Pull gently to open. This is open found on hermetically sealed slices of cheese. Took me and a girlfriend with pliers to pull one open yesterday. Have these people never seen those lovely slider lock bags?

Press down lid while turning. This instruction is often found on the lids of medicine. It’sheadache bad enough that I am sick, I don’t need to be tortured with bottles that can’t be opened. And while we are on it, what’s with all this childproof stuff? I’m not suggesting kids should eat poison and die, but where are the parents who like mine who gave the “the look” and said leave it alone.

Press sides while turning lid. This instruction is often on hazardous items, like toilet cleaner. The design is to keep children from opening the containers. Fine idea, but if you are a person with small hands, there is no way can you press and turn the lid. This is why vice grips were made.

Handy pull inner seal or ring. This instruction is on juice bottles, creamers,inner seal ring and other liquids. The handy seal is NOT easy to remove. And as for the ring, it works, but usually cuts off circulation to your finger. And, if you have large fingers, I’m sure the hole in the plastic ring is a real challenge.

The person in the photo obviously needs to get a life if she creates finger puppets from these rings.

Another challenge is even reading these instructions. Seems the same diabolical people that devise these “easy to open packages,” love to put the directions in fine print.

soap lidAnother gripe, instructions written on a device in white if the article is white or black on black.

• For example: Easy push and turn hand soap dispenser. The Sicilian opened the last one I bought. I tried pushing and turning in both direction to no avail.

Battery slot designers. Theses fiends love to add minuscule screws that fall out and bounce onto the floor never to be seen again, unless you have your pet x-rayed or you sort through the crap in the vacuum cleaner bag.
• Here are two examples. One good. One bad. You figure out which is which.

My remedy for this: Find the miscreant who devised each of these items, and seal them in a similar human size contraption. Limit their oxygen to 10 minutes.

• If that seems drastic, stock your kitchen with scissors, pliers, sharp knives, screwdrivers, dynamite, and a mini chainsaw.

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Advice for men: Weld It Shut

zip itWhen males turn 12 or 13, and their hormones are raging, I suggest the zipper on their pants be welded shut. This will save them untold misery, loss of money and possibly even prison time.

The daily news is enough to make sane people cry. There is little we can do about the terrorist situation in the world, crooked politicians, and losing football teams, but one way to lower the crime rate and bring back a sense of decency in the world would be to have men weld the zipper shut on their pants. Let me explain.

Last week, John Besh, a famous chef, decided to throw his career inJohn Besh the trash, by unzipping his drawers. He’s lost money, endorsements, and possibly his marriage and family because or raging hormones. Guess he’s been chopped.

Then there is Harvey Weinstein, enough said about him.

tiger woodsTiger Woods lost millions of dollars in endorsements when he let his zipper have its way.

And then there is Anthony Weiner who not only unzips it, he posts photos. Yikes! I give the man a pass, a very small pass for some of his behavior, because I am sure he’s suffered with years of bullying and embarrassment because of his last name.  So, change it. Kevin Spacey

And now a favorite actor of mine, Kevin Spacey, is in trouble.

Bill clintonAnd of course this list would not be close to complete without adding the alpha male of unzipped pants, President Clinton, who asked us to define what does  “is” mean when it comes to sexual misconduct.

Have none of these men heard of fidelity to their spouse or that “NO means no”? And just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

How many men are in prison for sexual crimes because they could not keep it zipped?

'My advice? Dump him! There are plenty more fish in the sea...'

Let me give men a word of advice. If a woman dumps you, consider yourself lucky. You have probably been spared years of nagging, quarrels, and misery. There are far more female fish in the sea than males, so move on. Get over it.

This dumping advice applies to women too. While we do not have an abundance of male fish in the sea, being alone is far better than living with a barracuda.

As for men in power, get a grip on your zipper. A position of power does not allow you to run rough shod over other men and women.

I told my son when he was a mere 15 years old, “Don’t let 15 minutes of the hots  ruin your life. You will not die if you can’t have sex the minute you want it, your male organs will not explode and fall off your body. Go ahead, be wild, care free, and don’t use protection, but you will pay for it later.

Must have been good advice. He has been an adult for many years and there has yet to be a hint of scandal associated with his name. The same is true for many other men too.

shame cartoon

For my male readers, next time before you unzip, ask yourself this. “Would I want my actions reported on national TV, on the front page of the National Enquirer, or  have my best friends and family see me now? Is it worth a divorce, scandal, and possible prison time?

If the answer if NO, then weld it shut.

 

cheater

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Vanity, thy name is man

Women are often accused of being vain.  Woman worry about having to wear glasses,  braces on their teeth, not having the right shoes, purse, or dress for an event, unruly hair, and their weight which is never what they want it to be.  I can certainly identify with some of these, especially the hair and weight problems. But I find men are just as vain in their appearance as women, maybe more so.

Major vanity issues for men include:
1. Comb overs :comb over The way men carry on about going bald baffles me. I know many women who think bald is sexy. I’ve never heard of a woman leaving her man because he went bald. Why do men think a comb over camouflages hair loss?  For my male readers, if you comb your hair over, under, around and through and need a gallon of hairspray to keep it that way, stop it. We all know you are going bald. Buy a hat or shave your head. (This comment applies to the President also.)

2. Buying Hair Restoring products as seen on TV. These items of vanity are expensive and useless. Flocking your head with a dark sprays looks weird, and costly hair implants do little to enhance your appearance. Another misused option is a toupee. bad wig 2There are good ones and bad ones. Sean Connery when he wore one was good. Nicolas Cage’s is not. If one must wear a toupee, be sure it does not look like you cut a square out of the bathroom rug and glued it to your head.

3. Hair dyes:  man-poor hair dyeNothing wrong with this at all, IF you have it done professionally or do it yourself in moderation. Shoe polish black hair on a man with grey eye brows is scary. (This applies to women too.) Be subtle, or go with green or blue hair. I would do this, but the Sicilian does not like multicolored hair on me.

bad hair dye, paul mccatney
Paul Mc Cartney

 

 

And Sir Paul, with all your money, is this the best hair dye job you could find?

beard-bushy4. Beards:  I’m sure the trend of bushy, untrimmed beards was started by a lazy man. Perhaps it was the guys on Duck Dynasty (however that was a gimmick they were clean shaven before fame) or maybe it is the unshaven NFL players, but whoever thought a bushy bunch of unshaped facial hair is attractive must be the same person who thinks comb overs are cool. Neither are a way to win a woman’s heart.

duck dynasty-no beards
Duck Dynasty Stars before TV fame.

 

botox for men5. Botox: In theory I have no complaint against using botox. I never have, but that does not mean I would not consider it. But, the thought of having a toxin injected under my skin is a bit disconcerting. But if a man wants to remove a few wrinkles, go for it. Just be sure the result is not Joan Rivers twin brother.

My Sicilian has little concern about his wrinkles, which suits me fine. He has developed that craggy look Sam Elliot sports so well. Says he has no use for botox.

adults onlyThe other day I was reading an article in the paper how men are now using botox in ways I never could have imagined. Seems some men are concerned about the appearance of a body part that should remain covered, and have injections in their scrotum so it looks less wrinkled. I know that  my real manly readers have winced and crossed their legs right now.

When I asked the Sicilian, a man who takes pride in his ear tufts, if he had ever heard of such a thing, he made it abundantly clear that men who do that are crazy.  This is one time I agreed completely with him.

For those of you who wonder where I find the fodder for this pointless blog, I read the paper, watch and listen to people around me,  and listen to TV ads. Life is full of humor. Post a comment about what in this world makes you laugh.