Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Two Thoughts over Three Problems

 Thought Number One:  You know what they say about "Good Intentions".

 Last Tuesday morning, I had every intention of posting my "Two Thoughts For Tuesday" and those good intentions hit a  brick wall.  I am sure you have heard the quote "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."  Well..last week I traveled that road and it was not a pleasant journey.

So.... do you mind if I complain a bit?  I know you get tired of listening to the never ending lineup of complainers  that surround you but, I think you will agree with me on a couple of points why my complaints are warranted. 

You might remember that just 10 days ago or so, it was freezing here in the middle of the country only to be followed up with 80 degree weather within a matter of days.  While not wanting to look a gift horse in the
Not convinced this is a gift horse.
mouth, the extreme weather change brings on a bit of urgency for the Midwest gardener.  Well...I shouldn't even say "Midwest"  I should say Johnson County, Kansas gardeners because this is "extreme" gardening here.  We not only fight the weather but we fight each other for product and services.  While there are thousands of landscapers and various lawn and garden related service providers, there seems to be an extreme shortage of  any that actually know anything about yards or gardens.

I had hired a landscaping company to put in a number of plants and trees in a back portion of my yard.  The bid consisted of planting  a large tree, 2 six foot shrubs and a lot of smaller plants, plus they were to enlarge the planting bed and sod the area in front of it.  A week or so ago, I realized that the large tree they planted  isn't deciduous...it's dead.  Also, the 2 shrubs that were supposed to be Rose of Sharons...aren't. That is just a couple of things that made an appearance on the bid, that didn't actually show up at the final party.  Sooo...I made a several calls and sent several emails to ask for a meeting to go over the "situation". 

I wish I could of recorded last Tuesday's morning meeting but I doubt that "landscaper man" would of been too happy to be videotaped. Still, that would of equaled things out a bit as I am not particularly happy, having to deal with a half-assed job.   At one point he tried to convince me that the tree was alive and just needed time to green up but when he shook the tree to reinforce his position...it fell over.  Seriously...the tree fell...prone onto the ground.  As the poor slob stood there over the prostrated tree,  he said something about " it needed staked."   He seemed oblivious to the fact the tree was a variety of EVERGREEN that was currently the color of tanned leather....and laying on the ground.  It was all I could do, not to yell "timber" and pronounce it dead on the spot.  

I know that you don't know me all that well, but you might of figured out over the last few years of reading my posts, that I am a proficient complainer.  Yes, I am gifted.   At one point in the conversation, I asked him if he was proud of the work he had done and would he mind if  I took pictures to show all  the ladies at all the various clubs I belong to.  Before waiting for his response,  I started snapping a number of shots with my Iphone.

The conversation quickly made a U-turn with promises of  a "live" tree being swapped for the pathetic plant laying on the ground.  Although, it must be said, I haven't seen evidence of the swap actually happening yet.

Onward to my next gripe.   I switched cable companies.  Against all logic I decided to switch from a totally workable system into the abyss of the unknown because of "price."  I knew this was an endeavor that would drive me to the brink insanity, yet, I kept telling myself for $165 dollar DIFFERENCE per month, I should try to go the distance and go with a new company.

To be honest, I did the research.  I talked to people using the service. I talked to the local representative and asked all the possible questions and pointed out the myriad of reasons my house would be the worst "install" that their company would ever be unfortunate enough to have to deal with.  The local rep for his part, rolled his eyes, assured me that their installers weren't of the mediocre quality of my last cable, phone, Internet  provider and they could install this baby in two hours.

 Needless to say, one lonely little installer came at 8:00 AM on Wednesday.  At 8:00 PM he called for a second installer to join him.  After the two commiserated over the difficulty of the job, they ran "temporary wires" until they can send in someone else to run new cables. 

None of that came as anything close to unexpected.  I have moved 21 times in my adult life and when it comes to cable companies, it's not that my attitude is "the glass is half empty".  My attitude is that the glass is bone dry and has remnants of lime deposits clinging to the bottom.  I expect problems.  I count on the fact there are going to be problems in all arenas:  installation, technical and billing.    Yes, I know this trifecta of aggravation is an absolute when switching cable providers.

I wasn't exactly shocked the following morning when I turned on my TV to watch the news and it didn't work.  Here is a portion of my "chat" on the customer service chat line:

I am not entirely sure the phrase "as good as resolved" is easing my mind.

AND last but not least...the third reason, I never got around to posting last Tuesday. 

You might remember my concerns over being called for jury duty last year in my posts Looking from Both Sides Now and  Who Is the Liar?

Last Tuesday, I was notified that I AGAIN was called for jury duty.  Now don't go jumpin' to the conclusion I don't live to serve BUT the problem with this summons is that it was to serve in Denton County, TEXAS.
I live in Johnson County, Kansas and have for nearly 10 years now.

The basic problem with jury duty notifications besides that pesky question "Do you deem yourself mentally competent to serve?" which at best is a trick question...is that they have that threat in there about " if you fail to respond there will be a bench warrant  issued on your behalf."  I don't really know why a bench warrant is called a bench warrant as opposed to using the word "arrest" but I don't think it has to do with a cozy little area to rest and relax.

If I won lotteries like I "win" jury duty, I would be rich and I wouldn't be worried about my impending arrest on an outstanding warrant.  Needless to say, on Tuesday between bargaining for a living tree, Wednesday watching the installer(s) commiserate over my house being the worst install EVAH....to which I kept nodding and saying "told-ja-so"...I now was dealing with  the powers that be in Texas to recognize I moved out of their lovely state in 2005 and serving on jury duty just wasn't going to be convenient for me.

Thought Number Two:  Providing I am not in jail...I am confident that this is going to be a good week...right???

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Jayne said...

Well, damn. That really was a shitty week. By all means, you are due for a good one.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Worthy gripes, all of them! But that situation with the landscaper reminded me of nothing so much as Monty Python's "Parrot Sketch" LOL!

Linda R. said...

I agree with Jayne, that week really sucked. I guess there's a reason I've been with the same cable company for over 30 years. Pricey but pretty reliable. I totally sympathize with your need to gripe a bit (or a lot). My latest issue is with airlines not being able to maintain a schedule. Hubby has been traveling a lot lately and almost all the flights are delayed - several to the point that he either would have missed his connection (the last flight out) and was stuck overnight and re-booked the next morning. And it happened again (different airline) and he was luckily re-booked the same day. Once it was even delayed because the plane was due for inspection that very day and was not taken out of service ahead of time. They only discovered it when something else (coffee maker?) had to be replaced.

I know your husband travels too. Does this happen to him a lot?

abeerfortheshower said...

I too am reminded of the Monty Python dead parrot sketch. Did he try to wiggle it around and go, "Look! See, it just moved?" or did he say, "Well, it's a Norwegian Evergreen, you see, so it's supposed to be that lifeless kind of brown. That's, uh, how trees look over there. It's not dead, it's exotic!"

Also, I hate doing online chats when I need technical support. I know it's probably just company policy, but they're always so robotic. I don't expect them to be joking around with me, but nothing's more soul crushing than adding a little lighthearted joke to your problem description only to get: "THANK YOU DESCRIBING THE ISSUE. I AM HERE TO ASSIST YOU."

Why was I programmed to feel pain?

Cheryl P. said...

So far so good. I am still fighting with the tree guy but I am determined to win as I haven't paid him in full yet. I will start hounding the cable people next week about finishing the wiring. I have come to accept that doing business with any company demands a fight to get it done. I did manage to get disqualified from Texas jury duty.

Cheryl P. said...

hahaha..I hadn't thought of the similarity but you are right! I should of started saying "Listen, matey...this tree is demised, it's passed on, this tree is no more, it has ceased to be, it has expired and gone to meet it's maker...it is an ex tree.

Cheryl P. said...

The airlines would require me to post a rant so long that it couldn't be considered a post but would become more of a book.

My husband has had to change planes a number of times to make connections due to the fact his flight has been canceled or delayed. Getting home for Christmas from Germany was a 4 day debacle of booking and rebooking flights. I find it interesting that if my husband has to change his flight it costs a $300 fee but if any airline cancels his flight and puts him on a different flight causing him to spend the night somewhere..it's just too bad so sad.

Two weeks ago one of his flights was delayed by several hours and he was told it was weather related out of Dallas. My friends in Dallas said it was beautiful there.

He is flying into Kansas City this evening. I am hoping there are no delays.

lisleman said...

LOL - the dead tree skit you played in your yard had me laughing. It reminded me of the Monty Python skit Dead Parrot. I case you don't remember or never saw it, thanks to youtube you can enjoy it now.

I refuse to take the bail the other company bombards me with. One benefit of dropping cable TV (still connected for internet) is that the offer of all these channels I don't care about - I really truly don't care about.

Last one - I guess the jury is still out on that one.

lisleman said...

same here - I included a youtube clip of it in my comments

Cheryl P. said...

I hadn't thought of that Monty Python skit until Debra mentioned it so I went back and watched it on youtube. That is pretty funny. Perhaps my landscape guy should of nailed it to a perch.

I am not entirely convinced the chat help isn't actually robots...not robotic but REAL robots. I think maybe I should type some obscure question in there that has no bearing on an actual problem and see how they answer it.

It seems that most companies send you to their web site to resolve any issues these days. I find it interesting when an Internet company tells you to go to the Internet to try to figure out why your Internet is down.

Cheryl P. said...

I had watched it a bit earlier today when Debra mentioned the similarity. I hadn't recalled it but it certainly is similar. If I only had an English accent, it would of been funny to do the part of the parrot owner. (subbing in the word tree of course)

I thought I had this resolved but then I got an email from the guy today and it seems he is ready to plant the new tree...the problem is that I haven't picked out a tree to plant yet. Perhaps he has another dead tree on hand that he is wanting to put into my yard.

Cheryl P. said...

OMG...I no sooner wrote that reply, Linda and I got a text from my husband his flight is delayed out of Indianapolis. Shheeeessshhh

Linda R. said...

So sorry! Apparently this is the new normal. Good luck to him getting home.

Brenda said...

Wow...what a week! We have had our share of trying to get things done right...so I can relate. The dead tree was just too funny...

Cheryl P. said...

Isn't that the truth! Every time a service of some type gets done, there seems to be a fight over something. It rarely goes without a hitch. This tree guy is making me nuts and I will be shocked if I get this resolved.

Wendy said...

Several, and I do mean several Laugh Out Loud moments envisioning your post.

Now isn’t the yellow brick road so apropos since you do live
in Kansas. I mean, you DO live in Kansas, right? If you sent them a photo of something that could ONLY be in Kansas they would accept that you are Not in
Texas? Only a maybe. It is a bureaucracy after all.
I SO wish you’d been recording that conversation with the landscaper so we could all have seen the tree fall over, or rather,his expression.
But , then, you’d have been conflicted about using your cell phone for that invasive purpose. Perhaps this would be one exception to that rule? And hey, I bet it would get a zillion hits on Youtube!

Garden Reaper -(so cute) might needs her sickle to be pink. Her, yes HER. Why you ask me? Well, after all, she must be 'working' for Mother Earth.

As for your confidence about it being a good week, Yep, I checked. You can keep on gardening. You are going to have a wonderful week- there seems to be no threat of snow or heavy rain or tornado. So far!

Chubby Chatterbox said...

Would you believe I've never been called for jury duty? I'm a registered voter and I pay taxes, so why don't hey want me? Perhaps I shouldn't complain.

Cheryl P. said...

Yes, contrary to what Texas may or may not think, I do indeed live in Kansas and we take any and all opportunities to use images of the yellow brick road (and all other OZ related material...as we have so little that is associated with Kansas)

I love the actual forms that various states, counties and/or cities send out for jury duty. This one reminds us to leave our guns at home when reporting to the courthouse.

The tree guy is horrible at communication. I have figured out that he doesn't hear anything I say. I am fairly confident, this isn't going to end well. I have left another message for him to call me about the dead tree's replacement that I want to PICK out the tree. He, of course, emailed me to say he would be here later this week to plant a tree...what part of me picking it out is confusing to him? GGGRRRR

I do think a video would of been fun for replay value but I suspect, I would not have even get the promise of a replacement if he suspected he was being recorded. To be honest though, so far he hasn't come through with anything he has promised so I might of had nothing to lose.

You might be right that the Garden Reaper is a female...I am not sure. This year he/she has shown no mercy in all the perennials that met their demise over the winter.

I am keeping my fingers crossed for things to start "turning around". I still haven't gotten things worked out with the re-wiring or the tree replacement but I have been officially disqualified from jury duty.

Cheryl P. said...

I think that makes you far luckier than me. I get called a lot. I don't always get paneled and when I do it isn't always interesting.

I would love to be called on a really high profile, case but more likely I will get someone that was stopped and drugs were found in their car.

Jo-Anne said...

I get your frustration with cable companies not that we have any here we do, however, have telephone companies and internet companies and they are all out to make a buck and think we the homeowner ok renter don't know anything. They say to me we can give you a better deal, I say no other company except Telstra will touch us they say they will I say ok they do some checks and come back with sorry can't help you can't guarantee your internet will not drop out a thousand times a day I say I knew that but would you listen to me no I don't know anything. Yes I would love to go with a cheaper company if only they would have me............lol

Jury duty not something I have any experience with never been called up

Lady Jewels Diva said...

Yep, I know what you're going through. You know that bathroom issue I had, still going three weeks on, and on top of that, the car didn't start yesterday when mum had an appointment. If tradies showed up when they were supposed to, this would not have happened. I'm over it!

Cheryl P. said...

I guess it's the same everywhere. I did a post a year ago or so that talked about the movers not believing that we needed a 53 ft. truck to move our household. We had move 20 other times and knew this but still they said they could get us on a 48 ft. truck. They had to call in another truck and repack everything to make it work.

As for cable companies....how do you receive your TV reception in Australia? Satellite? Here we have lots of choices which is why their is a price war going on. We have Fiber Optic (Google), several satellite companies and several more cable companies and they are all trying to get us to sign up.

Is there no jury system in Australia? OR have you just never been called?

Cheryl P. said...

It's a nightmare trying to get things done right ... or even to get subcontractors to show up is a battle. When I was trying to get bids for the yard work I wanted done, I probably called 8 companies. I heard back from maybe 4. To even get someone to answer the phone is a struggle.

Hope you got both the bathroom and the car situation worked out. Car problems are the worst.

Jo-Anne said...

We have satellite for our pay tv and we have free tv which all you need is an aerial to receive.

Yes we have the jury system, I just have never been called up, Tim has had his name called up a few times but has never been picked

oldereyes said...

I too seem to win the jury duty lottery more than most people and once to the courthouse, I have a nasty way of getting on juries. As far as competent to serve, I think it's like Catch 22 ... if you tink you're competent to serve, you're probably not.

We've going through conversion to all digital with our cable company. We've been on the Cheapo-Cheapo Plan for ever, less that half of your $165 a month. We've had to ad a cable box on one TV and adapters on all the others. I was able to install it all and get it working but it turns out my fancy new Tivo won't work with adapters or cable boxes. So, I bought a cable card to go in the Tive, which is when the trouble started. After spending two hours on the line with technical support, it still wouldn't connect, so two days later, I had a tech here all afternoon. I'm not sure he really knows what he did to get it to work ... he just kept trying things and eventually, is kicked in after four hours. And now I've got more stations than I can possibly want.

Cheryl P. said...

Being educated doesn't work in your favor during jury selection. It may be random as far as being sent a notice of jury duty but being paneled on a jury the prosecution wants people that are capable of "reason". That might explain why I didn't actually end up on a jury the last time I was sent a notice.

As for the cable companies. Olathe, KS for whatever reason is the test market for cable companies. Now that Google is spreading through Kansas City, Xfinity and U-Verse (and a few others to lesser degrees) are vying for locking everyone into contracts. The $165 dollars is the difference between what Uverse was charging me compared to what Xfinity is offering for 2 years. I really like U-verse but the bill was hovering just under $300 a month. I had been with them for seven or eight years and wasn't eager to jump ship...but Xfinity has very similar technology. There are differences (good and bad) but for the money difference, I will adapt.

Google is the one that is causing the stir here. They have negotiated contracts per city with amazingly low monthly rates but their TV cable and phone services are so new (and confusing) that I am not eager to participate. Their marketing ploy is that their Internet speed is 100 times faster than the competitors. I don't even see how that is possible but I am not a techy person.

The thing about installing new equipment and having it work properly is that the process of it makes me NUTS. I (unlike you) have no talent for trying to get something to work so the installer would have had to be hooking things up from the start. I not only need them to install their set boxes and DVR but I want them to hook their stuff up to my Blueray players and home theater system. When they leave I want it ALL to work. I might not use all those channels but I want to be able to record, pause, FF and do that on all my TVs around the house.

Just as with all thing related to technology...the more you get used to using it the more you expect it. The thought of only watching real TV in real time wouldn't make me happy. Aren't I such a big baby?

oldereyes said...

As a rule around here, the attorneys don't want engineers if there's anything technical about the case (radar, alarms, computers, etc.) ... except for me. For some reason, I'm a good interview.

As a techie, I'm continually amazed at the level of technology we have in out homes and how people who aren't technical deal with it. Computers, cell phones, TV systems, alarms, to name a few. Gor all my ranting about Apple (mostly in jest) I understand why people but it ... it works with a minimum of understanding. Google (and their Android system) don't get that notion. And, for a techie, I'm a low gadget guy. I have basic cable, a Tivo without whole house anything, basic computers and cameras and phones. But I rarely call technical support for anything ... I figure it out myself. Truthfully, that's not very productive but it's kind of a hobby.

ravenjanedoh said...

I was just talking to my son about jury duty not 15 minutes ago, and the thought crossed my mind, "I better shut up or I'll get hit with it" .. sort of like the universe is listening. GAH! - Anyway, I understand with the cable company. I was told when we switched about a year ago that the cable guy would be at our house between Tuesday and Thursday. - I kid you not. Not sure if they realized what they said ... but he showed up Friday at 5 pm, worked for an hour and left until Tuesday. Welcome to life on island time... Can I just say I HATE CABLE COMPANIES! .. As for your tree - WTH? That's horrible! But I had to laugh when it fell over - good grief! :)

Riot Kitty said...

You say proficient, I raise you...Riot Kitty. OMG. Out of state jury duty? From a state you lived in 9 years ago? Well, I've lived there too, and it isn't exactly a progressive place...

So she read right over the part about having to be a heavy drinker, eh? What did you black out? "We're happy we have taken care of your fucking concerns." ? :)

Cheryl P. said...

Isn't that the truth. Once it's out of one's mouth, it's like the universe hears it and feels the need to make it happen. Sort of like a geni in a bottle...only no one rubbed the lamp.
Really? Between Tuesday and Thursday and they still couldn't make it on time? At least on this latest switch they gave me a particular day to brace mayself for aggravation. Of course, they still haven't returned to take care of the exposed wires. I am sure that will take some nagging on my part. (doesn't everyone hate cable companies and isn't it deserved?)
Yes, the tree situation is all but laughable. The company did come out last Thursday and plant what looks like a "live" tree. I would say "knock on wood" but then it might fall over.

Cheryl P. said...

I am thinking anything dealing with beauracracy is just another way of saying it's bound to be screwed up. The guy that bought my house there gave my summons to a neighbor that he knew still was in contact with me. Had he pitched it, I might of been fighting a warrant rather than just trying to get excused from jury duty.
I actually was kind of amused at her glossing over my feeble attempt of joking with her. When I had AT&T, I would do that sort of thing and they would throw me a LOL or something. Evidently at Xfinity they have rules to stay professional. That is a bad thing in my world. I would of had more respect for Jan had she sent a comment back.

Nicky said...

I would pay to have seen the expression on your landscapers face when the tree fell over... priceless! I also can't believe that Jan didn't make a single comment about your alcohol comment - that was a damn funny line, worthy of a response on her part! I hope your week got better after all that!

Dexter Klemperer said...

Wow, I think your tree guy is the same guy that renovated our kitchen (of which I intend to blog about this week). Yeah, cable companies love me because I never switch because I just never believe it's worth the hassle. Lately, a certain phone
company tried to convince me to switch and I told him I heard bad things about how slow their internet is. He tried to draw me a picture about how we would have a direct internet line that was all our own. Um, I'm pretty sure it's coming down that same telephone line that runs thru the neighborhood, um like you know how telephones
used to work. Needless to say, we didn't switch.

Cheryl P. said...

He pretended not to notice the tree's collapse and went right into the discussion of why he planted two hybrid tea rose bushes when the bid called for Rose of Sharon shrubs. He obviously takes "a rose by any other name smells as sweet" way too literal. There is about 8 ft. difference in the size of those "roses"

I would say that my week improved for awhile then took another nasty turn. My new iPhone 5S decided to crash during an update. All was not lost though, as visiting the Genius Bar at the Apple store is always good for a few laughs. It's so interesting watching really techy people try to hide their disdain for people that are clueless to anything technological.

Katherine Murray said...

Oh man... jury duty! I did that one time.. once I wasn't chosen and another we had to sit with NO food and NO water for hours and hours and hours... if anyone in there had been a diabetic they would have died. Finally I was chosen... it was actually quite interesting. But now, when they are asking if there is any reason why you can't serve, I would have to be honest. I'm 48, I've had three children and frankly I will require pee breaks every half hour. Bet I would get out of it instantly!

Cheryl P. said...

At least the case you sat on was interesting. I have served a number of times and only a couple were interesting at all. I would love to get called for an important "high profile" case but I am not eligible here for two years as I just served.

I wonder if a person could get excused for a weak bladder??? I know that having kids won't get you excused. Here there was a big brouhaha over nursing moms bringing their babies to jury duty.