Leghorn/Foghorn and Jackie O

I have no idea why this popped into my head – true story

Accompanying, then husband on a business trip to Oscoda, Michigan (yes, there is a such place) a few decades ago, I was introduced to a business associate’s, wife – Janet. This woman was petite and extremely gorgeous from her scarlet spike high heels to her impeccability coiffed hair. Soft spoken, size 2 rings and cordial were her Jackie O attributes.  She presented herself as polished, refined and cosmopolitan.I knew her husband controlled a bunch of bucks due to the position he held for the trip’s purpose.

The purpose of my presence was to entertain Janet so the “men folk” could negotiate a multi million dollar agreement. It is a lot harder to ride a rocket when you are used to waiting for a bus, in the snow. This had to be an academy award performance.

Janet’s husband sounded like Leghorn/Foghorn when he spoke – and he talked LOUD. His suits were shark skin, cuff links were gold and his head was shiny bald. The shoes on his feet could’ve been traded in for a new Pontiac.His demeanor was southern drawl Atlanta (darlin’) and his appetite was top shelf double scotches, thrown down faster than a steel worker just off shift.

We were all staying in beautifully appointed homes on an upper echelon resort property. Activities for Janet and I included golf, tennis, the spa and salon while the wind bags blew smoke, kissed ass and impressed each other. This woman excelled, like a pro, on the courts and golf course and she never appeared aglow with sweat or had a hair out of place. I’m guessing she was approximately 15 years older than myself, at the time. My kids were toddlers and her 4 sons were in college. She informed me that their youngest son would be available to join us for dinner the last night on property.

The dinner was at the resort’s clubhouse – after-five attire – cleavage (if you have it), crystal chandeliers, lobster and champagne. Up until this point, Janet was the epitome of perfect business etiquette. Gracious with a goddamn!  In fact, my ass was aching from being such a “good business wife”. I was ready to drive my own car, eat peanut butter out of a jar, hold my kids, actually go back to work and cut loose into my usual wild child rants and antics.

During cocktails, a really ginormous young man entered the terrace. He was dressed in a golf shirt, couture’d by Omar the tent maker. This guy’s neck was bigger than both of my thighs – put together. He had to lean down and turn sideways to enter the doorway. If he wasn’t 6′ 7″ tall, I’m crazy. You could sail a family of six with cousins to Europe in his high ticket athletic shoes.

Janet stood up and in a clear and distinct voice,  proudly announced, “I’d like to introduce, my youngest child, the fruit of my loins, Joshua!”

From that point forward, all decorum got pitched. The deal got closed and I got a new set of golf clubs.

 

And the Oscar goes to……..

 

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Memory by association and other tricks to screw up your head

I couldn’t remember the name of an Elton John song that played continuously throughout my entire tenure at my first job in State College, PA. It must’ve been the only song management allowed, liked or would afford. I asked a lifelong friend of mine to assist in helping me to recall this ditty that had my gutchies in such a bunch, so many decades ago.

I told her my mind keeps going to “Alligator Rap:”. She immediately yelled, “Crocodile Rock“. She obviously is aware of my twisted brain wiring,

A common memory trick is to remember important stuff by associating it with a conjoint word or a word starting with the same first letter. Corporate ice-breakers are famous for starting a meeting with introductions such as, Julie/the Jew, Buffy/Big Boobs, Candy/Cake, Pete/Polish, Seymour/See More, Hank/Hawk, on and on. Every friend of my youngest son, has a name beginning with a “J” – Jason, Jacqueline, Jeremy, Jessica, JacobMemory by association, Jasmine, etc. Hell, no normal person could differentiate that troupe. I called them, “the “J People”. This son’s name is “Joe”. It all seemed appropriate in my head.

Working outside sales also presented the mitzvah of remembering a manifold of names and titles of clients. The use of association to the vertical or market sector sometimes worked but would get jumbled like the “Alligator Rap” did. A CEO, physically small in stature (my purse weighed more than he did) owned a ginormous collection agency. He drove a pick-up truck so huge it exceeded the size of the elementary school building, I attended. It even had a cattle guard on the front. You could fit a scout troop in this thing. His first name was Dick. You figure out how I remembered his name.

These tricks are not always foolproof. While walking around Kennywood Park, in the ‘Burgh,  with my sister, a couple walked up to me with the excitement of a teenager seeing a Beatle in person, and literally engulfed me with enthusiastic accolades of joy. They knew my sister, the names of my children and knew the fact that I had moved to Texas a very long time ago. These people even knew my grandmother! To save face, this is a dangerous tactic, I went along with it. After mysteriously galloping down memory lane with these folks, we escaped to Noah’s Ark. I turned to my sister and asked, “Who the hell were those people?” She said, “Are you shitting me?” I told her, “I never saw those people before in my whole life.” She said, “They were longtime neighbors of yours.” So help me, I don’t have any recollection of knowing them. Usually, you have a brain fart and a week later you slap your forehead or wake up in the middle of the night and say to yourself, “How could I not have recognized them.” The truth of this situation – I still don’t remember those people. Obviously, I made a positive impression on them or they remember my ex-husband sliding sideways down the snow filled driveway and landing in Roy Rogers parking lot after doing a few 180’s.

 

A negative association experience can also stick with you for a lifetime. Due to a broken sprinkler head, my office in a high rise office building, flooded. My boss called building management and asked for wet vacs to be brought in the help dry the mess up. A few minutes later, an extremely handsome man was standing in front of me with a horrified expression on his face. He asked who called for “Wet Backs” to be brought in here. At the time, I didn’t know or had never heard the expression, “Wet Back”. To this day, every time a wet vac is mentioned, this situation pops into my brain. By the way, I didn’t know it at the time – I would end up marrying the extremely handsome man with the horrified expression seeking clarification for the request made.

 

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Crazy over keys

If someone tells you they have lost their keys, you express sympathy, empathy all that nice stuff you’re supposed to say. I’ve done it and so have you. Then it happens to YOU.

I lost a set of keys two days ago. Those son of a bitches disappeared literally into thin air. There isn’t an object in this house that has escaped being tipped upside down, turned inside out and examined more closely than a gynecological appointment. I can recite the sizes and labels in every jacket in my closet even knowing I did not wear them the last time the keys were in my fist. My handbag has been emptied out so many times – it is almost worn out.

I had them to drive the SUV into the driveway and get into the house. They are here somewhere. This hasn’t happened to me since I was 14 years old when I was on crutches and lost a new handbag with my new house key (probably the 45th one my mother had made for me). Now, I feel the frustration she exhumed. She used to say she supplied everyone in Pleasant Hills, PA with a key to our home because her children could not hold onto them longer than five minutes! It was a lesson not forgotten until now.

Where are you?Tell me one human being with any sense who would look forward to groping dirty laundry, ripping stuff out of the refrigerator, sifting through trash with beer bottles and coffee grinds and taking precious tools out of the tool box searching for a set of keys that weigh at least a pound. I’ve seen the bottom of dresser drawers, file cabinets and the silverware drawer. I can tell you where they are not located. You get so frickin nuts – you check the same places three and four times. My cousin even checked the yard!

The SUV had to go to the dealership this morning to fix something that was $460.81 fixed last Wednesday. It was locked tighter than a skinflint’s butt. Okay, I can’t remember if I locked it or the security system automatically locked it. Being crazy over keys makes your brain scrambled. Does it really matter when you can’t open a door – how they got locked? Really?

Then, I had to do a search and rescue of the “other” set of vehicle keys. I found keys to the 1994 Camaro Z28, one of the son’s Chevy Pick-ups and contestant number 3 opened the SUV. Praise be to God that I didn’t have to call AAA or a locksmith and explain what an airhead I am. Then I had to find a key to lock up the Ponderosa. Life is going to be a grab ass until those damn things show up.

It is truly not the worst thing that has happened to me. It won’t be the last time I lose something of importance. The next time someone else tells me their keys turned into fairy dust – I’m sending flowers and a card.

 

 

New habits living alone

My new stage of life has created new habits, procedures and practices. Living alone, after raising a family and being married, for what my heart thought would be forever, has created a lifestyle I was unprepared for. Everyday brings a new adventure.

For well over 22 years, I never woke myself up or had to make coffee. I am totally unfamiliar with how to set the alarm clock. The alarm on my phone is not loud enough, even planted on a docking station. Stumbling over the dog and canine toys on the floor in the morning to make coffee is still a foreign practice. I not only have to make the coffee – it isn’t delivered to me in bed anymore. I’m still shocked when I wake up. The dog has learned to dodge me, especially if I can’t find my glasses.

Getting the trash out to the enormous vessel on wheels is a monumental task. Then, the small bag of trash in the ginormous vessel on wheels needs navigated to the street on a designated day and time. I feel a little guilty from all those years of nagging the kids to get the trash out to the curb. My sons were famous in Covington Woods  for chasing down the garbage truck, dressed in whatever they’d been sleeping in.

Meeting decent dietary requirements is still rocking between “I know better” and “who gives a rat’s ass”. There have been a lot of wasted trips to the grocery store. It seems to be a difficult endeavor to purchase food. Real food – not cookies and bottled water. I wander around the store with no list or menu and leave with 3 bottles of wine. The emotional excuses are stupid but still understandable. I don’t buy in quantities anymore and all portions are too large. I can’t eat a whole pie – even though the challenge is enticing. I don’t want to eat the same thing everyday for a week. My cooking skills are not the best. Frozen dinners are awful. See where I’m going with this – It would be best to move the smoke alarm out to the garage and keep on trying.

I’ve owned ten vehicles in my life. I just changed the registration sticker in one of them for the first time. It sounds like a silly accomplishment but I didn’t know if I’d be able to get the old one off and get the new one on without screwing it up. Per square inch, it is an expensive sticker!

I had never used the riding lawn mower in the garage. Since finding the manual was overwhelming, I went to the internet for spiritual guidance. It gave me the direction needed for all mechanics except the one problem of driving over a ridge or hole in the yard. It took me a few times of bouncing off the seat to realize that is what makes the damn thing stop running.

Simple home repairs are manageable if I wasn’t afraid of breaking the faucet off of the outside of the house. It irks me to have to call the plumber to replace a rubber washer in a faucet because I couldn’t wrench the damn thing apart. I was able to use the fancy, battery operated wine bottle opener when I had a broken arm. Someone needs to invent something like that for faucet repair.

Social anxiety is a weird, new experience. In the past year, I attended a couple of funerals alone. This was an excruciating, lifetime first for me. It didn’t help that the driver side door handle broke on my SUV. There is nothing more horrifying than being crotch up in the windshield, dragging my ass across the center console, getting into the driver’s seat in front of a funeral home. I know Aunt Altie was laughing from heaven xx

A social event at a friend’s home, produced an instance that struck me sideways. Someone asked me out. It was a shudder moment that left my mind racing for a way to handle the situation. I am naive in that I don’t realize one’s intentions. I just thought he was being kind. Another broken heart left in the flying dust of the highway.

The DeWalt drill is now my new friend. My Realtor® signs had always been put together for me. Today, I drilled holes in a post, found the right size screws, washers and bolts. It took 3 HOURS but I think I know how to do it now! The drill scared the bejesus out of me when the drill bit flew out of it. No injuries to report.

 

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Garage sale observations

Each region of the USA has a garage sale aptitude. Previous experience did not seem to make a bit of difference with the rhythm and dance of each community from Florida to Pennsylvania and different locations in Texas. We all know Texas is like it’s own country. What happens in Brownsville is foreign to Fort Worth.

Advertising plays a huge part in the prospective customer’s expectations. An estate sale will conjure up the customer seeking the Antique Road Show treasure they can retire with. We did make sure there were no $100.00 bills stuffed into book pages or rolled into a pair of socks. A yard sale banks on a casual customer and those flying the nest with tighter budgets or the presumption you are willing to all but give away the merchandise. The famous garage sale fires up the trepidation that there may be further entrance into the home or higher end assets must be protected from the elements. Multiple times we had offers to purchase the home or property. I don’t feel the inquiries were sincere. It was more or less the human need for further information. Not all sales are out of desperation, foreclosure or a move out.Garage sale observations

Pennsylvania sale attendees seem to be aggressive prior to opening day. They knock on the front door and ask if they can see the forthcoming riches. It doesn’t concern them that it is dawn and you’re in your robe with bed head and lion breath. It doesn’t faze them to bang on the doorbell after dark when man and beast is already butt up on the couch. They are non-apologetic and even act a little ticked that you won’t let them traipse through your home.If I didn’t know any better, they camp down at the stop sign until “Sale is On”. I even had a woman ask me what I was going to do with the valuable jewelry and glass! I informed her there wasn’t any valuable jewelry or glass. She said, “Honey, we know all the relatives strip everything bare before the garage sale!” I informed her that it was my junk. I’m very much alive at age 27 and I didn’t have any of that stuff!

The Quaker State buyers snatch and grab. They don’t even examine the items. It is as though they are on a game show and the clock is ticking. A favorite and common comment – after accumulating all of the highest priced items, is to offer you $8.00 for the entire mountain of merchandise. Itemization may total $482.50 and they are ready with the shocked and disgusted garage sale face. The attitude is they are there to do you a favor and you are an ingrate. I favored the patron feigning  to be deaf and waiving the $8.00 at me because they were stroking out because you are telling them, “no” to their cheap ass offer.

Florida had the most polite and gracious group imaginable! During multiple garage sales, they would line up in a formation similar to the Metro bus riders in downtown Houston. It was fascinating. Hail and tropical storms did not hither this assembly. It reminded me of the affluent bunch politely scouring the shoe sale at Nieman Marcus in Dallas. Their hearts are beating wildly but you can not appear to be uncouth. To our knowledge there was neither theft or breakage at the Florida sales. Offers were reasonable. No one asked me to deliver a furniture item to their 36th floor condo, 84 miles down the coast. I still shake my head at the man who purchased the pile of debris that was swept into a pile in the middle of the garage floor at the closing of a sale. What on earth was he going to do with wood chips and a very small piece of chain?

Oh, Texas, my Texas! Garage sales in a Houston subdivision are civil and non-eventful. It was the quintessential block party. You may have lived next door to the engineer from Exxon and his Junior League wife for 4 years and didn’t know them. Stick a Weber grill in the driveway with a table full of your kid’s Transformer underpants and it’s old home week. You would’ve thought we were joined at the hip. I wouldn’t have know these people if I ran into them at the corner dry cleaners. It was a discovery of we golf at the same club and share the same arm pit specialist. They pay what is posted and notice that the satchel you pack their new belongings into is from Ann Taylor. You pick and choose who to give your prized shopping bags to.Some of these egos can’t tolerate a Walmart plastic bag. A bag from Barneys will actually yield an additional sale because they think you’re a regular shopper at a place that has extremely overpriced pants.

Garage sales in the paradise of Paris, Texas let you know you are a real person among good people, except for the family dropping “F” bombs on each other. During my short tenure at country living, in the bible belt, this behavior was, as my grandmother would say, “rather unbecoming”! “Yeah, baby”, every character type, cowboy, farmer, Hispanic, MeeMaws, ranchers, city folk, single parents, widows and widowers marched through at a consistent stream. This group didn’t do “the line-up”. A large number of them stopped by the house the day before the sale to observe the setup! In fact, the first customer didn’t appear until a half hour after opening. Country folk like to visit. I had 7 gentleman tell me they lived alone and some even told me how big their house was – 4 bedroom, 3 baths! Instead of Match.com, I guess they see who is available at garage sales! I did try to introduce a few to each other but I don’t know if there were any hook ups! Over a 2 day period, almost everything got sold, even an old bicycle seat.

True and experienced garage sale buyers, eager to be the first customer, fancy themselves on presenting a $100.00 bill for an item priced at $.25. They know it will wipe out your cash fund, if you have that much in your cash fund. They are banking on you to say, “just take it”.

Garage sales are social events and a way of clearing out the closets and out buildings. My favorite part is watching the eager and ecstatic people so pleased with their new treasures.

 

 

 

Fascinated by home seller presentations

When my siblings and I were teenagers and ready to sell our first cars, Dad taught us a clean car sells fast. I’m not talking about running it through the $1.98 car wash. Cotton swab, white glove inspection clean to be specific. The engines were steam cleaned. The inside of the bumpers were spotless, graduation tassels removed and all Exxon tiger tails retired. There was enough Rain Dance and Armor All used to buff a Carnival Cruise Liner. The vehicles always sold fast and for the asking price.

The same can be said about listing a home for sale. I am presently searching for a home along the Texas gulf coast. The houses I’ve viewed have kept me awake and freaked out at night. A prospective buyer does not want to see cabinet doors hanging from bent hinges or your foundation garments hanging from a door knob. At least hang the pretty bras out – not the dingy ones. If you don’t own a vacuum cleaner, it would be wise to borrow, rent or steal one. Improvement would be evident if some of the carpets were swept with a broom.

Depersonalizing the home is as integral to cleanliness. Walls of family photos are important to the owners but not to potential buyers. I am haunted by a professional photograph of an older woman with a crown, like Queen Elizabeth’s, on her head. She may be some type of royalty but the home was no castle. I would rather see the hideous red velvet wallpaper than a wall full of hundreds of family photos. Yes, the dog is cute and the babies are adorable but I want to see what type of dynamite it is going to take to remodel the room.

Knickknacks, tchotchkes, trinkets, miniatures, collections and doodads all need to be put in a box and removed from the home. Statues, glass collections, paper weights, CD/DVDs, magazines, newspapers minimize the size of a room. I was afraid to turn around, with my handbag on my shoulder, for fear of knocking something off of a side table. By the way, there were multitudes of small tables in a few homes.  There were enough ducks, geese, eagles and cardinals displayed to represent the Audubon Society. Dead wildlife suspended above every doorway, fireplace and portal are, especially in the wild west, trophies of achievement to a specific fan club. Your prospective buyer may be a member of PETA. A neutral environment will enable a buyer to picture themselves living in your house. A Disney theme with Mickey, Goofy and “It’s a small world” piped in throughout the casa will not cut it.

As a home buyer, when I exit your home, I should have zero knowledge of your:

  • College affiliation
  • Religion
  • Pet preference – unless you have a built in wall aquarium or a farm/ranch property
  • Political views
  • Hoarding
  • Collection passion – e.g.: antique dolls, weapons, porn anything, dead plants, etc.
  • Smoking

“Know your selling audience” is an understatement. Your private abode will become a public forum when your home is listed. Remember, photos tell all. Understand your communities tolerance for stripper poles, trophies from the Swingers Club, bondage equipment, etc. If applicable, it would be best to put all of your toys away!

Less really is best. Fewer pieces of furniture and a minimum number of items displayed allow the seller/home owner to maintain a super clean environment with ease. It is an arduous task to ready a home, you and your family are currently living in, for a real estate viewing.

You probably don’t live in a model home. Model homes are staged environments. There isn’t anyone dropping butter bread on the carpet or leaving wet towels on the floors. Trash is virtually non-existent. Mold will not grow on a shower curtain or glass door if the home is uninhabited. Real folks live in resale homes. Develop a routine when the house is posted to the MLS.

Instead of frying fish and cabbage, keep the food smells to an infinitesimal amount. Cereal and salad usually have no smell. If you need more than two hours notice to take Barkinowski and Miss Kitty Lion for an outing and remove all pet hair in the process, pet accommodation can be included with Agent Remarks for the listing. My dog was sent on sabbatical to a relative’s home to sell our residence. Our home had multiple contracts within seven days. Alleviate any circumstance for a potential buyer to say, “no”.

Bribe the kids. Cajole your spouse/partner/roommate/other half/better half/significant other/soul mate/lover into being on your team. Be detail oriented. Mow and edge the lawn.

Curb appeal is as important as interior presentation when selling your home.

Curb appeal is as important as interior presentation when selling your home.

Pick up tripping hazards. Dust the ceiling fans and chandeliers – including the light bulbs. Keep laundry to an extreme minimum. There is no joy in dirty sock smells.  If you can pluck your eyebrows while peering intently into the kitchen sink faucet – you are on the right track.

(Please don’t steal a vacuum. This article was written with a hint of humor by an active Realtor®. Examples and experiences are real.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Realtors want you to call them

Never think you are interrupting a Realtor when you call with a question. Believe it or not, they are waiting by the telephone like a crazed teenage girl waiting for some over-sexed teenage boy to call them. This is a true fact. A Realtor depends on each and every telephone call to make their living. Too bad, if your call comes in when the Ellen show is on or they’re waiting in the Escalade, in line in front of the elementary school. (Why they drive one block from their home to wait in a line of cars and SUV’s, an hour in advance, to drive their child home is beyond my comprehension. Do they know how to walk down there and walk back?)

No question is mundane. Even if you are just being nebby and want to know information on a neighbor’s listing, a Realtor always has time to speak with you. Each and every conversation leads to a networking opportunity and a means of marketing. If a Realtor does not return your call, almost immediately – Call another Realtor. Real estate agents conducting their business in a professional manner will have a high interest in speaking to anyone interested in listing or buying a property. If you are just “thinking” about listing your property, call an agent for a comparative market analysis. Most agents will create this report for you at no cost. If an agent wants to charge you for the initial CMA, call another agent!

Call a Realtor to ask them what needs arranged in your home for a quick sale. Ask a Realtor how fast homes are selling in an area you’re thinking of purchasing in. A Realtor can calculate the monthly payment for financing your future residence. A real estate agent will know the interior and exterior paint colors in your area which dominate most sales. Call a real estate agent and ask! No real estate professional ever starved to death because they answered their phone during lunch or dinner. We actually understand that not every customer works 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday! Calls are expected before and beyond “standard business hours”.

A Realtor worth their paycheck will be forthright and up front when telling you to pack up the nick-knacks and paint the fluorescent orange den a neutral color. Factual information will be provided to assist you when making an offer on a future home. A real estate expert representing you will be working for you. Don’t apologize for calling them. They are waiting, with baited breath, for you to call them!

A casual conversation with a Realtor allows insight into new avenues when you will be ready to move. Rapid changes in the real estate vertical have created different tools, creative outlooks and economic turns which may be very different than the last real estate transaction you may have participated in. The world is spinning faster. Changes within the industry are constant.

The value gained by calling a real estate professional can make a difference in thousands of dollars in your pocket. Take advantage of their expertise.

 

Building a fire

My resume does not include fire building as a high priority or emphasized line item. It is a good thing and bad thing, to know it takes some effort to create fire in a fireplace or wood burning stove.

If I didn’t want something to burn, it would catch in a second. Intentionally creating fire is an art to behold when needed. I have learned the equipment list and supplies are as important as the task.

Keep all junk newspaper items received from the United States Postal Service. If you have a newspaper subscription, keep them handy. You are going to use them. This is integral to getting an inferno blaring. Unless you are handy with a hatchet, chain saw, DeWalt saw, or are willing to walk your legs through the woods to pick up kindling that won’t infiltrate your chimney with scum – talk nice to your cousin-in-law who is kind enough to share his kindling with you.Those long handled butane lighters are important for spark so as not to burn your hands, arms, sleeves, eye lashes and hair. Those incidental necessities will catch fire immediately. It is a good idea to have a working fire extinguisher nearby. Knowing where it is and being able to see it could be a life saving measure.

A rack to stack tons of wood on will keep it off the ground outside. You still need easy access when it is snowing, pouring down rain or the outside temps are freezing. The backyard neighbors have seen it all when I engage in obtaining a new wood supply for inside by going outside in my leopard slippers, exotic night wear, knee length red and blue striped sweater, rust color ski jacket and wrapped in the blanket with the coffee latte’ motif on it. Try carrying a fourth of an oak tree while the wind is whipping your butt and the chill factor is filling your orifices.

Different size logs will determine the internal temperature of the inside the house environment! One skinny log, half a ton of kindling and the Sunday Houston Chronicle will maintain a temperature of approximately 62 degrees for a short period of time. That is, if the fire catches on. A split medium log, a skinny log and a weekday newspaper will get the ponderosa up to 70 degrees. A bunch of piping hot coals, left over from the initial fire starting attempts, a split medium log and 2 fat logs may get the temp up to a toasty 80 degrees. If you intend to keep warm throughout the night, as my friend Frances refers to it, a huge “night” log is necessary. Depending on the size of your stove or fireplace, you still may be getting your cold tired ass out of bed around 4:00 am to throw more logs on the fire. Important Note: make sure the log fits into the wood burning stove BEFORE shoving it into the fire storm. You certainly don’t want a burning log hanging outside of the stove door!Building a fire 01-2014 a

Designate tons of time to this activity unless you have a house boy named Sven to assist in taking care of your every comfort. Building a fire will lead to contentment and a coziness few electric heating units are able to replicate. Practice and patience will accomplish the task.

What is Customer Service?

As stated in a previous blog entry, we received a billing statement from our satellite dish provider, for years, that were incorrect. There were duplicate fees, charges for services we did not have or request and rental fees for equipment we owned. Every month, I called them. Every month, a credit was issued. If you break the contract, there is a fee. If you switch to the “other” satellite provider, from personal experience, their billing service was worse. It took a year to cancel the service long after the anniversary date of the completed contract.

We moved recently. A request to forward the mail was submitted online with the USPS. It went well for a week or two. Now, we are receiving publications and magazines belonging to our Sugar Land, Texas subdivision neighbors. There is a mile difference between Ragus Lake Drive and Bramblebury Drive. The house numbers are not similar.  The last names on the publications do not start with the same initials. In other words, the person or persons at the Sugar Land Post Office, are just slapping the forwarding stickers onto my ex-neighbors mail and sending it to Powderly, TX. It makes me wonder if we are receiving all of our mail or is the Publishers Clearing House check going to the Jezikowski family? If you’re out there and receiving my mail, please make sure a remittance is sent to any of my creditors!

Customer service can actually be a psychiatric session for the frustrated. The name of the game in the money-making corporate universe is, “Get them off the phone as quickly as possible.” Time is money. Money is time. No one wants to hear about the box containing two left shoes. Your perception of what is truly Chartreuse, is never exactly the color of the car in the photo. Important, is a mundane term when there is a discrepancy with a nuptial accoutrement. You certainly don’t want any screw-ups repeated at your current wedding!

Telephone calls to customer service add to your delight if you are greeted with an audio-response service. Press one, scream your social security number, repeat your social security number, choose from the next menu, keep pounding on the zero, repeat everything you just input, wait to be switched to the appropriate person, listen to some screaming bitch sing opera, be told you are the 9th person waiting because everyone in front of you in-line is more important, listen to the cross-sell, up-sell, commercials, be told your problem can be solved on their website (this particularly pissed me off when I was calling the internet provider which was always down), and then be told your call will be disconnected, now – click.

It is shocking when a customer service representative is kind to you. We prepare ourselves for the worse. Benevolence can actually unravel our game plan. Just when you think no one can solve your problem, an understanding and intelligent person with a clue – puts all the puzzle pieces back together right where they belong. You almost sound like a fool, repeating “thank you, thank you, and thank you”. You act like they have saved you from a burning vehicle on the freeway at rush hour when in fact they are mailing you a copy of last month’s statement.

Customer service is not a babysitting service when you are viewing model homes at a homebuilder. The beauty consultant at the Niemen’s counter usually can not explain the Fair Credit Reporting Act when you have a revolving credit card question. It doesn’t matter if you have called 13 times to no avail. When truly frustrated, I like to preface my inquiries with, “I know you didn’t wake up this morning with the intent of creating this pestiferous situation comedy for me.” This allows the recipient of my challenge to put the mental ammunition to rest and actually listen. When life is treating you bad and in a really foul mood – needing to release tension, unload, full of road rage, ticked with the partner – call the IRS for a fun call.