Customer Support: An Existential Crisis

Customer Support: An Existential Crisis

I spent an hour with customer support this morning and still couldn’t get the problem solved. They had to call back. Customer support is Dante’s first circle of hell—the one where the virtuous pagans sit in limbo. Granted, the support workers are usually okay.  Like most of us, they spin their chairs, microwave lunch, and try not to jump from the office window like Monty Python characters.  Regardless, here are the things about support that make it hard not to leap out after them.

  • When you’re speaking with them for forty minutes, and then they tell you you’ll have to make an appointment for another time. Ever see the movie Groundhog Day…?
  • When they interrupt the hold music with a message telling you that you can leave a message. At first, it sounds like a live person.  Also, it’s a trap. If you hang up (for any reason), they will never ever get back to you.
  • Automated recordings. They sound like Siri, only more annoying.
  • When they’re imposters, and they actually caused your computer virus in the first place. (This really happened to me once. Never call out!)
  • “I’m not able to say how long it will take to complete this.”

Remember, your call is very important to them and will be answered in the order in which it was received. As in Monty Python, the window’s on the left.

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80 Degree Weather: It’s not so Bad After All

80 Degree Weather: It’s not so Bad After All

We’ve been having hot weather—the kind that makes sweat run down your neck and into your boobs. Everyone’s in shorts and people have tans, which for us Washingtonians is quite a feat. Normally, we’re so pale we look like vampires. People complain about the temperature a lot, but I enjoy it. Here are six good things about the heat.

  • It’s a conversation starter. My small talk this week went:

“God, it’s hot out.”

“Yeah, it’s really hot.”

“I’m going to have the fan on tonight.”

I thought speaking about the weather was cliché until I started doing it way too often.

  • It kills the lawn, so I don’t have to mow it.
  • It makes swimming bearable. Normally, the water is cold enough to give me goosebumps. Now, I have to dive in to stop myself melting.
  • The sky’s blue. Last winter was a miserable gray slog that lasted nine months.
  • I get to use the fan (see number one). It’s peaceful to fall asleep to. When I turn it on, I can forget the things I need to do the next morning.
  • I can wear cute sundresses and shirts. Foam green tank-top that shows off my shoulder muscles—definitely yes.

One thing to remember: When you get sunburned, use aloe. It will stop you gasping every time you put on your bra.

 

How I Got That Scar on My Big Toe

How I Got That Scar on My Big Toe

I lacerated my foot on an oyster this weekend. I have a big white spot around the cut and a jagged red line where it hasn’t closed. My flip flop got so much blood on it that it started attracting flies. That’s what I got for forgetting my water shoes.

I went to Spanish conversation hour tonight and figured out some new phrases “I cut my foot on the beach, and it hurts me” is “Yo cortí me pie en la playa, y me duele” or “Ow Ow Ow” for short. “Evil oysters is “Ostras malvadas.”

Here’s what to do if you cut your foot.

  • Don’t hop on one leg to the rag cupboard like I did (a band aid didn’t cut it). Hobble back and clean up the blood trail later.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is your friend. Antibiotic ointment is also your friend. Advil is your very best friend—take at least three.
  • Water is your enemy. You are going to have to do a lot of awkward sprawling in the bathtub, so your dressing doesn’t get wet.
  • Change your dressing once a day.
  • Keep your foot elevated like your mother told you.
  • Put ice on it. Ice not only eases swelling, it stops bleeding. I learned this from a short story where the heroine’s romantic interest gets his throat sliced. They tried, but ice couldn’t fix that one.
  • Do not wear flip flops on a beach full of oysters. They are sharp, well hidden, and easy to trip over.

They will get you.

 

The Scottish Games: Wallets out, Claymores Up!

The Scottish Games: Wallets out, Claymores Up!

I spent last Saturday at the Scottish games up in Enumclaw, WA. I had a root beer float, looked at Celtic jewelry, and came home sunburned. It was great. Here are five reasons why Scotland and the Scottish games are fun.

  • They have good sweets. If you want toffee, shortbread, fudge, or salted caramel fudge, this is the place for you. I’d stay away from the Irn-Bru though. It’s bubble gum flavored soda and probably tastes as bad as it sounds. I don’t know. I’ve had the sense not to try it.
  • Their sports are more interesting than you’d think. I watched a group of big, Hagrid looking men fork a bale of hay thirty feet in the air. The crowd held its breath every time they came close.
  • They’re badass. If you want a spiked mace, broadsword, or dagger made into a hairclip, this is where to get it.
  • They’re also nerdy. If you want a replica of Sting from The Lord of the Rings, you can find that here too.
  • They have adorable displays of dogs herding ducks. You wouldn’t think 10 ducks could fit into one pet carrier, but you’d be wrong. They really wanted to get away from that border collie.

I recommend getting there early and leaving before five o’clock. You wouldn’t think everyone could fit onto the two lane country road heading out of town, and you’d be right.

 

Road Work: Be Prepared to Stop

Road Work: Be Prepared to Stop

Last week, I spent an hour going through construction on Mount Rainier. The return trip (with no construction) took a minute. I had no phone reception, and all I had to read was the park newsletter saying, “This work continues the third year of a multi-year road construction project.” My reward for this slog was a gorgeous hike to a clear blue-green lake, but still…

  • Road work never ends. A “multi-year construction project” won’t finish until 2050, if you’re lucky.
  • They block three lanes when they only need one. It’s so tempting to slide into an empty stretch, rev the engine, and go for it.
  • Construction’s a road hazard. One time a chunk of rock from a site came whizzing through our smallest rear window and broke it. Good thing it wasn’t the windshield.
  • They only let a few cars through at once. And the car they stop at is only a couple ahead of you. Grr…
  • The second you get out of the car is the second the line starts to move. I had to pee while I was waiting in the Mt. Rainier construction, so I went to, ahem, visit the bushes. I had to streak out again like a jack rabbit. We weren’t moving forward though, only to another lane. Go figure.

The moral of the story is: If you suffer through road work, reward yourself with a wildflower filled hike at the end. And if you need to jump in a lake (or dunk a construction worker), that’s fine too.

Adulthood: Picking up Your Own Mice

Adulthood: Picking up Your Own Mice

Being an adult can be a bummer, you have to go to work, pay bills, and clean the house. When the cat brings in a dead mouse, you can’t call your parents to come remove it. You have to wrap your hand in a paper towel, hold it by its skinny tail, and carry it to the garbage. FYI this should be the outside garbage.

Since I’ve graduated college, I’ve had deal with things my parents used to take care of. Here is a list of basics that new adults like me should do.

  • Go to the doctor’s office. I went last June. Before that, I hadn’t been for a couple of years. I promised my Dad I’d do it in November, and then put it off for another six months.
  • Likewise, visit the dentist. On my last trip, I found out I needed a night guard. Insurance won’t pay for it so I’m out $450 bucks, but it’s better than being out a set of teeth.
  • Look at your bank statement. You don’t have to scrutinize it down to the cent, but you should check that all the expenses are for places you’ve actually been.
  • Bring your car in for regular maintenance. And don’t, I repeat, don’t drive with the check engine light on.
  • Make time for your passion. It’s why I’m writing this instead of lounging on the back deck.

Finally, act like a kid sometimes. Put a fake rat on your Mom’s pillow. Run around outside. Pretend to push your sister off a cable car (maybe not that last one). Because being a kid is fun!

 

Cats: Our Small Furry Overlords

Cats: Our Small Furry Overlords

Last weekend, I went to California to see my sister and her kitten Ryan, who now runs the household. Seriously, she treats our hands like they’re chew toys, my sister has scratches up past her elbows, and we still come back for more. It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that no one in our family can say no to seven pounds of adorableness.

I’m the worst one. My family already thinks the humane society will have to come take away all the cats I will eventually acquire. What? You can’t get a new cat every time you see a cute one? Here are six annoying things cats do that actually melt my heart.

  • Try crawling down my throat in the winter. It’s like they think it’s warmer there.
  • Take up half my bed and complain when I move. Okay, I can hold this position eight hours. Really, it’s no problem.
  • Bat my face. Yes, the best place for your dirty paw is right over my lips.
  • Meow constantly. As cats get older, they get more vocal. They have complaints about the service.
  • Scratch at the door/window, demanding to be let in. If they’re let in once, it’s over. When I was in fourth grade, my cat would meow at my window at four in the morning. To get her to stop, I opened the kitchen door for her. Then she came back the next night.
  • Move around and rub against you when you’re trying to take a picture of them for your blog. A photo of your tail wasn’t quite what I had in mind. Ahem.

If you see me with a million cats, the number for the humane society is 360-866-8986.