Saturday, May 29, 2010

An Open Letter to DIRECT TV


Thank you for FINALLY sending a tech to repair the satellite dish that has been down for a week. The surprise situation and subsequent telephone calls to your customer service department made my wedding anniversary quite memorable. Thank you for setting an appointment for us to have your product repaired "between 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m." a full week in advance. Despite paying for your product's premium package, we were more than happy to add the "new" service plan as well. How silly of us to think it would be covered by the "premium" package.

My family enjoys your product tremendously and was quite disappointed that we had to wait for an entire week for a visit from your technician. Just one more day without network television, I am quite certain few in this household would have survived. On the plus side, it has been determined that the VCR does indeed still work, and that the stand that I took several months ago, rescuing the VHS tapes from the charity box, was well worth the effort. It has also brought the family closer, as everyone came together about Thursday, to create a "movies we must buy on DVD" list.

Despite having an appointment today for "8:00 a.m. until 12:00p.m." your technicians arrived at ten minutes to 1:00 p.m. During their ten minute visit, the smoke from one's cigarette infiltrated my home, and further irritated my slowly healing upper respiratory infection. Not to worry, he did put it out ...on my porch, where it remains as I write.

I was impressed by how prepared they were to service the dish unit, on record as being on our roof, when they came to inquire if we had a ladder. We did not, but thankfully, one miraculously appeared from the back of their truck.

They worked quickly, and soon, all our recievers were working. We were able to see what the problem was, unfortunately not until long after they were gone. They were kind enough to leave the damaged parts and coaxial peices the middle of our front yard.

We thank you for recognizing that we were extremely upest by this series of events. It was very kind of you to deduct the week that we were without your product, as well as the $50 service charge for the tardiness of the technicians.

We thank you for your time and patience.
Your Silly Customers

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Keep On the Sunny Side

These are our cats, Zipper and J.B., as they enjoy the sun in our living room floor. Every morning, as this little triangular shaped sunny spot makes its way across the floor, the cats lounge and enjoy it's warmth.

It first appears, next to the hearth, about 7:45 a.m. and the cats begin their lounging ritual.
Over the next three hours, it makes it's way across the room, toward the front door, shrinking in the process. As it moves, the cats make the subtle adjustments necessary, to stay within the spot. Despite it's size, they always manage to share it. And as the spot finally disappears, the cats have managed to stay within it's warmth and light.
It wasn't until today, as I am here recouperating from an upper respiratory infection, that I realized what a poignant metaphor this is for life.

We should seek out the "sunny spots" in life. We should bask in the warm glow of positive energy and share that positive glow with those around us. We should cling to the warmth and light, from beginning to end.

It's not always easy, it's not always convenient, but we should do what it takes to keep on the sunny side.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Happy Anniversary! 11 Years and Counting!

Yesterday was my 11th wedding anniversary. At times I think, "'s been 11 years already!" and at others it's more like "'s only been 11 years."

My anniversary went far better than Mother's Day, where the intended gift was the same, dinner and a movie.
On Mother's Day, the giver had a problem with my choice of movie. I had wanted to see Jennifer Lopez's "The Back Up Plan." What better way to spend Mother's Day than by seeing a movie about a woman, wanting to be a mother? The gift giver (i.e. the man with the money) wanted to see the new "Nightmare on Elm Street." and was doing his best to steer me in that direction. Every theater he checked, the movie list suspiciously began with "Nightmare." When I would pick my movie of choice, he'd suggest another theater! I finally had to tell him that I was in no way interested in seeing "Nightmare" and since it was MY DAY, I should get to choose a movie that I WANTED TO SEE! Fortunately for him, I awoke with a blinding headache that took most of the day to shake, so my Mother's Day gift wound up being a day to myself, while he and the children went off to the movies to see whatever the hell they wanted to see.
But I digress...
The movie plans for our anniversary were much more agreeable: "Robin Hood" staring Russell Crowe, and Cate Blanchette, preceded by dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings next to the theater. I like Buffalo Wild Wings because the food is simple: chicken wings smothered in one of a hundred spicy sauces. I know what I want when I go ( naked tenders in Carribean Jerk sauce or popcorn shrimp with Asian Zing) and it's usally quick and painless (i.e. affordable).
The day was beautiful and sunny, though I only went out for coffee. It was blazing hot (finally)as Spring in Alabama tends to be. Though I'm not certain why, there were no games at the Miracle League park, so I had the day to read, surf the internet, and do laundry. Yes, I did laundry on my anniversary. I have 2 teenagers who like to change clothes four times a day; laundry is a constant. I do laundry 364 days of the year. The only day I do not do laundry is New Year's Day, thanks to some quirky superstition my mother has, as handed down by her mother. (Like greens and black-eyed peas, I don't question it, I just follow it.)
A thunderstorm and short power-outage on Thursday, left our DIRECT TV dvr box in the living room doing some squirelly things. Certain channels would pixelate (where you see a bunch of little boxes instead of the clear picture) or cut out all together. The other recievers in the house, though older models, seemed just fine. The cutting in and out became too much for my darling hubby,who called DIRECT TV to report the problem. After several minutes of annoying, automated triage, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the person who answered spoke intelligible English, which is not normally the case anymore. He tried a few things on his end. He asked us to try a few things on our end.
Then the phone died.
I've tried to convince the children the phones don't charge themselves, nor can they crawl back to base when they are feeling low. The next time one of them complains they are hungry, I'm going to respond, "Now you know how the phone feels."
After redailing DIRECT TV from one of our cell phones and going thru automated triage, yet again, we were connected with another English speaking gentleman, who proceeded to go through the same trouble shooting as the fella before him. After several minutes without success, he concluded that we needed a service technician to come out, for either $49.95 one time service fee or an additional $5.95 a month. (I'm sorry, is that not covered by the $70 a month we pay now?!). The next available service appointment is Thursday from 8:00 until 12:00 or Saturday from 8:00 until 12:00. What?! Because we really don't want to blow a vacation day waiting on the DIRECT TV guy, we opted for Saturday.
At this point he is angry. He throws things and slams things and lets more than a few choice words color his diatribe about how much he despises DIRECT TV, but it is the best available in our area so we are essentially stuck. I am trying to remain calm and attempt to calm him down as well. As a CSR, I have been on the receiving end of many an angry phone call regarding things I have very little control over. When you do all you can do, well, that's all you can do. Yelling and throwing things may make you feel better, but they get nothing accomplished.
Just then, our son comes to tell us that his reciever, that had been working just fine up to this point, was now out. I rushed back to our bedroom , where our reciever was out as well. Okay, so now, we have no tv, anywhere.
Livid, my husband called DIRECT TV again. His blood was boiling as he went through automatic triage hell a third, agonizing time. Really, there should be a straight, "speak to a live someone" option to avoid going through all those inane questions!
When the customer service rep told him that there was nothing more he could do, but sensing that my darling hubby was "upset" (ya think?) he offered to deduct this week from our bill. (Ah, how sweet is that?) As the reality set in that I will be missing the season finales of not one but two, favorite reality shows, The Celebrity Apprentice and The Biggest Loser, now I am "upset" as well.
Trying hard not to let this little set-back spoil our anniversary, we make preparations to leave for our night out. Kit-Kat was off to spend time with her little boyfriend (he has the coolest mom!)and Tigger was going to spend time with Mac.
Though we left a little late, we still made it to Buffalo Wild Wings with plenty of time to eat before the movie. The food was great!
Getting the movie theater with plenty of time to spare, we were able to take our time, find a nice comfortable viewing area, and settle in for the movie. Everything is going great...when the smelly people arrived.
A couple came in and sat directly in front of us. It was very hard to tell what it actually was, but it was probably the worst cologne I've ever smelled! It smelled like a combination of lavender and gym socks. I can't take heavy perfumes and after fighting an allergy/sinus situation for close to a month, I had to move.
We moved back a row, only to have another malordorous couple come in and sit in the seats we'd just vacated! This one was the unmistakable fragrance of jasmine, orchids and sewer pipe. Why is it that the most potent colognes smell so bad? And what's more, what kind of brain damage do people have that they don't smell too?!
I am nearly choking at this point, with no where else to retreat. We are able to move a few seats over, but that did little to gain me any fresh air. Needless to say, I spent the next three hours coughing and wheezing.
The movie was okay. I could have waited for it to come out on dvd. It was kinda like "Gladiator" meets "Elizabeth"
We were home by 10:00pm. Because we couldn't watch tv, we started watching dvd's.
First up, my husband's favorite..."Gladiator."
Well, it was his anniversary too.
Friday, April 30. 2010
I almost forgot to mention a big milestone in the life of someone very special to me.
Happy 21st Birthday Julz!