Friday, February 22, 2013

Trying on a new look!

Per my New Year's resolution, I can't cut my hair.  It's looking cray-cray these days and there's nothing I can do.

I can't quit my job because, like, I did that 3 months ago.  That is soooo last year.

I can't have another baby because it's just not in the cards.

So....  'cause something's gotta change, it's my blog!  Welcome to blooMBing.  Because I'm not just a 'clip clop mama.'  Because I'm not just a wife.  Because I don't want to define my blog by some category.  I am all sorts of all over the place, trying to be better and do better and grow. And against some good advice, I like "blooMBing."  It's got me written all over it.   I hope you'll continue to enjoy it half as much as I enjoy writing on it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

When life gives you a broken Barbara Streisand duets CD....

Back in 2005, I had been at my job 6 months by the time Christmas rolled around.  I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed little program evaluator.  For Christmas, I made cookies and put them in little Chinese take-out boxes for everybody in our division.  Imagine my perplexion [word?] when the following occurred.

Upon handing the little take-out box to our administrative assistant (whom I thought liked me), she said - "Oh I got you something too."  She kind of looked around, then opened a drawer.  She took out an unwrapped item and handed it to me.  "I got this for you.  Sorry, it looked so good I had to listen to it before I gave it to you."  "Oh thanks" I murmured and scampered off.

It was open.    The case was broken.    It was this:

It was clearly not new.  It was clearly not bought for me.  It was clearly not a Christmas gift.

It was one of the strangest things that had happened to me by that point in my life.  And I had done and seen some stuff.... especially in the Peace Corps.

Well, the feeling I had that day was kind of like I've been feeling lately.  Like, innocence lost.  Here are some lessons on what life is really like, kid.  I go on my little naive way, la-dee-da, and then somebody or something rears its head and says "Oh you think the world is good and you want all these nice things and for people to get along - well, eff you!"

I hated the feeling I had that day.  It's a feeling I can't name.... like, being left out of the loop.  I felt like there are unspoken rules and peccadilloes that just elude me.  My brain just doesn't process them or know how to react.  Like, if I know somebody is being fake-nice, or doing things just to be polite not nice, I feel kind of paralyzed to respond.  I don't know what to do.  When do you all people out?  When do you let it get to you?  When do you let go?

I still don't know why she gave me that gift or what it meant.  Did she secretly hate me?  Was I the butt of some joke?  Did she think there was a gold watch in that take-out box instead of 5 cookies?  Would any excuse warrant giving somebody a broken duets CD?

I just know it made me feel crappy.  I never talked to her about it.  I just had a good laugh(cry) about it with a friend.

Plus it really hurt my feelings that people think I like Barry Gibb when I really just liked a few of the Bee Gees songs because really, that was the strongest moment for any of the Gibb brothers.  I mean, doesn't anybody really know me at all, geeze??!

So...  dear reader....  when life gives you a broken Barbara Streisand and Barry Gibb duet album, how do you make Streisand-and-Gibb-ade?  Do you insist that the music is sweet sweet sweet, when it was possibly given to you in malice, cynicism, or crazed delusion?  Do you say to the gifter, hey, this sucks, what gives?

Or do you (like I did) give the crappy CD to your parents, try to forget it happened, and move on about your business?

This post is vague on purpose.  Just been dealing with a number of disappointments in recent times on a number of levels.  Trying to hear the sweet music despite the brokenness....

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ugh. We still have cable... but I got a good deal!

To have cable/phone/internet, or not?  That is the question.  At least it has been in our house the past few weeks.  As the time of our 'introductory deal' Verizon Fios contract drew nigh, we knew the decision was looming. We had pretty much decided on ditching everything but the Internet.  After all, prices be crazy, and who needs all that?  I mean really?  And most of what we need (a term I use very loosely) every day is Internet driven.... like streaming free TV shoes on websites, or using Netflix.
Then I actually called Verizon Fios after learning that all of Roy's attempts had been through online chats.

Now, this is not a blog post to sing Verizon Fios' praises. If you show me a phone/cable company with clear pricing and excellent customer relations, you can have a turn riding my new unicorn.   It is a blog post that I could have otherwise labeled "It ain't over until you get on the phone for at least an hour and initiate the actual service cancellation process."  By calling and being patient and persistent, I reduced our monthly cable bill by $50 in a single phone call.  Here's how:

1) Know what you're willing to pay for your new car for your services.  Be 100% willing to walk away.  You don't NEED it.
2) Don't be rude.  Remain calm.  "Our contract is expiring and we cannot afford the price increase.  We'd like to get the best deal possible, otherwise we'll have to cancel services."
3) The first guy you talk to.... let's call him the "front desk."  He barely works for the company and has no authority to change prices. He'll tell you the lowest *he* can offer which is just what shows up on his screen.  It will not meet your price point.  You - very truthfully - say "Ok we'd like to cancel our service please."
4) You get transferred to the next person... let's call her "the muscle."  She says "I'm going to do everything I can so you won't cancel.  I am on the Elite Team and can make prices drop like bottles in a bar fight."  Make her do her job and work for you.
5) Re-explain your position to her.  Tell her what a great customer you are.  Whatever bottom price she tells you, ask for an additional $10 off.  You have a good chance to get it if you say you'll agree to another 2-year contract at that price.  Make the voodoo work for yoo.
6) Kiss that introductory price you had for the last 2 years goodbye.  You are hostage to their wiley pricing ways.  But if you want a happy husband who gets to watch sports, and happy children who love the Disney channel, and you can still save for retirement, give to charity, and not go broke having cable, then by all means.... bask in the fact that you just saved $50 a month.