Saturday, June 23, 2007

Lowering the Bar

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter and I visited our local wireless phone dealer so that we could have her account switched from my name to hers. The semi-friendly lady who helped us spent a few minutes preparing paperwork, slid it across for us to sign, then called a number somewhere out in the universe. She talked for a couple of minutes and then handed the phone to my daughter. Jess sat there for twenty minutes, every once in awhile saying something like "O.K.," "Yes," etc. I got bored and started wondering what our helpful phone service representative found so compelling on her computer. I had my suspicions. So I got up and wandered around pretending to look at accessories so that I could sneak a peak at her computer screen on my way back to my chair. Sure enough, she was online shopping for blouses.

A few days later, Jess got two large "welcome to our company" envelopes, even though she's had her phone for three years. The information was identical (waste of paper) and confusing. She had to call the customer service people to straighten it out. A couple of days after that, I got a 61 page statement in the mail, even though I had been doing all the business for the phone online (to save paper). Two days after that, I got the exact same 61 page bill. So much for saving paper. The statement indicated that I owed $1.25. I hauled my little self back to the store to pay it, where I was told to call customer service, so I went home and did that. Never talked to a real person, but was told that I owed no money on my account. I tried paying online, but, of course, the account isn't in my name anymore, so that was right out. I ended up writing a check for $1.25 and mailing it to the company. Because you know what will happen if I don't?

My non-existent, zero balance account will go unpaid and I will get a late fee. Which I won't know about because they won't tell me because my account is non-existent. The next month, another late fee will be assessed, and so on and so on until such time as we decide to move and buy another house. Our credit will be checked and we will be told that we are $6,923,438.71 in debt to the wireless phone company.

The other thing that could happen is the exact opposite. Somewhere in their messed up system, they see the $1.25, mistake it for a customer credit, and I end up with a check in my mailbox for $125,000.00. I'm just saying.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Thousand Words

Fellow blogger (my mentor) Jeff invited people to post about their hobbies, so I decided to take him up on the offer. I've had lots of hobbies over the years. I used to sew a lot, even made my sister's wedding gown. I also did lots of crochet, needlepoint and embroidery. And I like to do stuff around the house like putting up ceiling fans, painting, landscaping and so forth. But the hobby that I have had the longest and love the most is photography. I have won some ribbons and such at fairs and photo contests at a local museum. Please bear with me for these photos. My husband is out of town and I lost the instructions on how to scan and transfer to my computer (computer not being a hobby), so these are pictures of pictures, not the best quality. But some of my favorites.

I like to photograph scenery, and Duluth was a great place for that! The first year we were there, I think I took ten rolls of film of the leaves changing in the fall. (We moved there from Corpus Christi, where I took pictures of the beach. I wasn't used to orange leaves.) There was a particularly nasty day with heavy wind. My mother-in-law was visiting. We were on a skywalk looking down onto the canal and the waves were awesome, blowing up onto the boardwalk. Of course I had to go. I would totally be one of those people out taking pictures of a tornado instead of running inside to get away from it.

Another favorite thing to photograph is architecture. From unusual angles. Boston was a great place for that. This was a really neat place to get the old and the new in one shot.I like this one of the JFK library. When I entered it in the museum contest, the curator called me to ask which side was up. I told him it didn't matter.

My kids have both taken an interest in photography and are very good, quite creative. I guess growing up with a mother who always has a camera in her hand rubbed off. They are far and away my favorite subjects when it comes to snapping pics. Because there is nothing more beautiful in my world.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

One and a Half Stars

Most nights after supper, hubby and I settle into the recliners, flip on the television, and halfway watch it. I say halfway because he is usually doing Sudoku and I am usually doing the crossword or crocheting. This time of year it's all re-runs, thank God for Netflix. Sometimes a movie will show up and hubby will say, "Who ordered THIS?" To which I usually reply that it must have been him, because I haven't been on the queue for (fill in the blank) weeks. Over the past three nights, we have seen three movies that were nothing like one another except that they had actors in them. Here is my mini-review.

Last night we watched "Tortilla Soup." It's about a widowed (or widowered, whatever) Hispanic man with three grown daughters who are nothing like one another except for the fact that they lack the Y chromosome. They are a typical close yet dysfunctional movie family and the story is fairly predictable, but it was sweet. What I really liked about the film was that the dad was a chef, so he made these elaborate spreads for family dinners. I'm talking cruise ship buffet type feasts. He was always chopping and dicing and sauteeing and grilling and stirring. He grilled stuff like bananas and cactus. Every night! Of course, his daughters complained about it. Ungrateful brats. I want to be adopted.

We watched "The Sentinel," which had lots of scenes like this one. Michael Douglas is a good actor, so I continue to watch his movies, even after his comment about seeing Catherine Zeta-Jones and becoming a "heat seeking missile." Nobody needs that image in their head. In this film, he was a secret service agent assigned to the First Lady and he took his job very seriously, if you know what I mean. A fellow agent and his former best friend (former because the guy thought Michael Douglas had had an affair with his wife) got killed and then the widow told M.D. that her husband thought that someone was having an affair with someone in the White House but he didn't know who. And there was a plot to kill the prez, and it was someone in the agency and they framed M.D. for it so he had to run away until he could prove himself and you can guess the rest. I just kept thinking, yeah, here's two guys I would want in my Secret Service. The dude that's boffing my wife and the idiot who can't figure it out.

The third movie was "Twister," and not the one that everyone knows and loves. No, this one starred Dylan McDermott and Crispin Glover. It was about a family in Kansas who were rich because of soda pop. The father was odd and controlling, the mother had left a long time ago, the daughter's ex-husband showed up to get her and their eight year old daughter away from there. The father had a very uptight girlfriend. And they were all stuck in this big farmhouse waiting out a tornado. Crispin Glover played the son, who was a total nut job. He did and said the most random things. We weren't sure if it was supposed to be deep or funny. We talked about turning it off, but we couldn't look away, so we actually sat through the whole thing. But then we had to play Super Smash Brothers so life would make sense again. There's nothing like throwing red polka dot mushrooms to put things in perspective.