Saturday, August 23, 2008

Juno slammed me!

For a long time, I used Juno for my ISP. Great service, cheap price, decent speed, even the spam filter worked pretty good. I was happy. Except... I wanted to go wireless so I could roam around the house and Juno couldn't offer me wireless service.

I arranged wireless service got it up and working right and called Juno to cancel. The lady on the phone was very nice and told me my Juno account would be active as a "backup" for about 45 days as a FREE service. I didn't really think much more about it until the other day when I was looking at my credit card statement and saw a $4.95 charge from Juno.

I looked back through the past few months and those dirty buggers have been charging me every month! So I called them for an explanation. The first guy can only verify that it is for backup service. He can't do anything to change it... so I get transferred to a slightly abrasive and argumentative guy who just can't understand why I wouldn't want their backup service. Could be a language problem, from the accents I'm guessing their call center is in India... (Argh!! I hate companies who offshore these jobs!)

I keep telling him I don't want it, didn't ask for it, don't use it. Finally, he puts me on hold and a few minutes later comes back to tell me he's canceled the service. And then I ask him "what about the unauthorized charges?" Which, by the way, he admits he can't find any record of me asking for the service or authorizing charges beyond April 15. More time on hold and he comes back saying he can refund $9.90 (2 months worth). And I ask him, what about the other two months charges of $5.44 and $4.95? He rattles off some email address where I can make my complaint.

The dollars are not important at this point, I'm just pissed about the principle so I tell him, "Wait a minute. I'm the party that's injured here, I've told you - their customer service representative - about it and now I have to put out more effort to get your company's mistakes corrected? That's not right." He argues with me for a few minutes about that is their policy, but I keep telling him "no, it's not right and I'm not satisfied with the response." Finally, I go back on hold. After awhile he comes back and says he's refunding the entire amount... a whopping $20.29. I can expect to see it post to my credit card in 1 or 2 billing cycles. Why do they get so long to fix this?

Why do companies feel like they have to use such dishonest tactics? Is the dollar really that almighty and important that you have to sell your soul for it? Not to me. I know what happens when you climb in bed with the devil!!

You know, until this happened, I'd have gone back to Juno in a heartbeat. Now I won't. Ever. Under any circumstance. And if you use their service, I urge you to drop them like a pile of crap, too!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Is Occasional Angst Normal?

Have you ever felt like things are just not quite right in your world even when life is going pretty well? Very much is good and right and even I have to admit that I'm usually quite satisfied. Just sometimes I catch myself kind of in a daydream state wondering if this is all there is in store for me. Sometimes I lose focus on what I'm doing at the moment and sometimes I feel, I don't know how to describe it, homesick.

That happened at work today... that kind of disjointed, unfocused feeling that I ought to be somewhere else. I tried to counter it with a 5 minute walk around the plaza. It felt good to be outside in the sunshine and look at the flowers. The colors seemed especially vibrant today, too, with blooms in shades of purple and pink and orange and burgandy and all the shades of green. It was a riot for the eyes. A very cheerful riot. I felt better afterward but still somewhat angst ridden.

I've been thinking lately that maybe I'm not being completely authentic to who I am in this job. Maybe, maybe not. I've gone through periods of the same feeling with basically every job. And I don't mean I've changed my values or personality to fit into the job environment but that the act of working outside the home feels somehow untrue to myself. When I was a little girl and people would ask that inevitable question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" My thought, not always verbalized, was "wife and mom." Not a popular answer for a child of the '70s... but that's who I am. Who I've always been. That's what I really want from life. What would make me feel complete and authentic. And I bet I'd be darned good at it, too!

But unfortunately, life happens while you are making other plans. And it is what it is. And for me, it doesn't include what I want most. Business success and all the trappings that go with it seem like hollow little trinkets but that's what I've got to amuse myself with. And just wishing isn't going to change it. Not sure what to do to change the course of my life. But I would sure like to.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Our Own Private Redwall

Yesterday the long awaited 'Paint the Castle' day arrived.

As usual, I tried to cram too much into the day. But it was very fun! Alan brought his kids, Loren, Jonathan and Bryan to help. Kerri came. And Orrin. And John and Jerilee came and got started on my sad looking patio furniture. I spent more time checking on the different groups and bringing out treats and drinks than actually painting. But hey, it's a good tradeoff... get the neighbors to come do the work and I feed them.

At the end of the evening, we barbequed Cambodian Chicken and had corn on the cob, green salad and a big Texas Cake (currently my favorite!) and had dinner with the 3 missionaries currently serving in our stake. One of them is brand new, Elder Cammie, and came from Thailand. He told me I had the spices right on the chicken. And for their spiritual message, he told us his conversion story. Wow!!

His family is Buddhist and traditionally the children in the family get no say in their future. The parents decide their occupation, spouse, religion, etc. He first came in contact with the Church wanting to learn to speak English and later became interested in the teachings. Het met with missionaries there for several months and gained a testimony. But his parents refused and told him if he choose to get baptised that they would disown him. He was very sad but followed their instructions, finished his schooling and got a job. Still the desire to join the Church persisted and he approached his parents again. They finally agreed, with a big caveat... First he had to become a Buddhist monk. He did but said he felt hollow and sad the whole time. When he'd completed that requirement, he walked away from the monestary and was baptised. Then he felt the desire to serve a mission and was finally called to serve in Salt Lake City.

Just before noon, Kerri came to make the cake. She has been asking to learn how to cook and her mom won't teach her. I don't know why... So anyway, I kind of had a chocolate dipped kitchen but her first cake was a roaring success! We ate every last crumb.

A short time later the painters showed up and got started. Jon had so much paint on him, he looked like a dummy for a disaster drill! But he was so thrilled. He told me over and over that it was the "best day ever!"

Like I said it's not quite done yet. There's some edging and fussy stuff to finish up. I think I'll work on that evenings this week. And then, because Loren and Jon always call it Redwall Castle and make up games with the characters from those stories, we are going to put some Redwall features on the castle. There is a 12 point compass I agreed to paint onto the front wall. And Loren and Kerri want to help make a flag that looks like the crest on Mathias' shield which I think we can accomplish with a little time and fabric. And since a big part of the Redwall charm lies in solving riddles, I'm going to letter a few riddles around different parts of the castle walls. Here's a before picture. I'll post completed pics in the next couple of weeks.

I discovered looking for some information on a few days ago that the yellow slide is visible in the satellite image of my house. How wild is that?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

NOAC 2008

Well... last night was the night. Our annual Night Out Against Crime BBQ. And it was really a lot of fun!! Other than attendance and that I forgot to bring the camera out and take pictures, everything came off pretty much as planned.

There were about 12 neighborhood kids (ages 2-13) who participated in sidewalk chart art, horseshoes, frisbee, playing on the Castle and... everyone's favorite the water balloon fight. One of the sidewalk chalk drawings had a little heart in one corner that said "Kathy Rocks." How cool is that? I liked all the soaking wet hugs, too!

Along with the kids, we hosted about 30 adults. Everyone had a good time socializing and meeting some of the neighbors they didn't know or don't see very often. I think everyone met at least one neighbor they didn't know before. Which is, at least partly, the point of these shindigs.

We also got incredible support from the Salt Lake City Police Department!! I had called asking if we might get a patrol officer to stop by and socialize for a few minutes and give a "tour" of the technology they have in the cars now. What we got: the Chief of Police, 5-6 patrol officers, 2 motorcycle officers, a SWAT officer, a gang officer, reps from Youth Services, Victim Advocates, Mobile Neighborhood Watch, Parking Services and a couple of detectives. I'm not sure my neighborhood has ever had so many police in one spot at the same time before!

SLCPD talked to most of the adults for a few minutes and I think we found the right resources to solve a problem with a little converted garage apartment thing in the alley where someone has run drugs and that was supposed to be closed to habitation many years ago. That it was inhabited and causing problems again sure seemed to get the detectives' attention, anyway. One of the cops took several of the kids out back to play cops and robbers. Can you imagine being a 9 year old boy and playing cops and robbers with a real cop? You could see they were having lots of fun and getting more positive attention than usual which was great. Jonathan looked he was about to burst from excitement a couple of times...

The two motorcycle officers gathered all of the kids (and adults who tagged along) out by their bikes. They talked for a few minutes about the technical stuff like engine size and how fast it goes. Then they had a couple of stories about catching a bad guy that had the kids really intrigued. Then they invited several of them to come see how the lights and sirens work. My young friend Loren was really excited to push one button and see the blue lights and another for the red. Then the officer told her to push a different one... and it was the siren. She wasn't expecting the loud noise and was so startled she jumped back about 5 feet to hide behind dad. Before her feet even hit the ground, she realized what it was and came down with a huge ear-to-ear grin. It was so good to see her let loose and be that carefree and happy!! Life too often weighs heavy on that little girl.

I declare NOAC 2008 a success!