Tag Archives: Snafus

Only Child on why so angry – sometimes

This scary miserable little person is making another appearance this week because the snafus coming from others continue to happen, leaving me to deal with the aftermath.  People ask me why I am so angry? This is why and I’m going on the record that I am not angry all the time, but would like less cause to be angry so I’m angry just a minuscule part of my time.

Since last week the following has happened – so far. If some sound weird, they are all true. As a former journalist, I still try to stick to the truth, although the telling is “as I see it” as a late Toronto radio personality used to say.

Here we go:

1. My current phone and Internet bill which I get mailed (yes, regular mail) to me, didn’t arrive. Fortunately I also have online access to my bills so could check it so I can pay it. But I still decided to phone Bell Canada to find out what was going on. They did send it out. So, it could be Canada Post messing up. I’ve had mail addressed properly to me go elsewhere, including to someone also in Toronto with the same address except the extension (road, street) is different than mine. I also get his mail occasionally. If the postal carrier dropped it in the wrong mail box in my neighbourhood, unless the person knows me they might just have dumped it back in the mail.  From experience, I know that can take weeks for it to be re-delivered to the correct address. The Bell customer service rep checked to make sure there was no funny business going on with my account – he couldn’t find any. When I asked if there was any discounts offered for seniors, he went into a long explanation about a new way to get Internet which I’m not interested in at this point. So I told him. So far I was polite but when he started pitching this service again, I gritted my teeth and said I just told you I don’t want it and thanked him for checking on the other and the conversation was ended.

But he never said he would get my bill resent, although future bills will also still be sent by regular mail – as long as Bell and/or Canada Post don’t screw up.

And if you think I’m being a Luddite here, I have good reason. A few years ago I changed my method of receipt for my heating bill and the Gas company screwed it up – mixing it up with that guy at the similar address and closing my account. Somebody got you know what from me, but it was fixed. And I returned to bills by regular mail.

2. This is the one that really upsets. me because it hits at my book Beyond Faith and book sales. Beyond Faith is available in print and e-copy to order online at the usual suspects – Amazon, Barnes and Nobel – but in Canada also through Chapters Indigo – the big bookstore chain here. The book can be ordered online at their sitet and usually the print version can be ordered through the bricks and mortar stores – from the actual stores. Well, there is a note under available online that says “unavailable in stores” which is not the package my publisher has with the distributor, Ingram. I found this out  (I had thought it meant there were no copies in the stores yet) on Saturday when I visited one of the book chains small Coles stores. The manager was very enthusiastic about getting copies of both Beyond Blood and Beyond Faith and having me do a book signing in the store one Saturday afternoon. While I was there, she went into the system to order the books – no problem with Beyond Blood, but she couldn’t order Beyond Faith. She said to contact my publisher and when it was fixed she would be happy to order in copies and have me do a book signing session.

I emailed my publisher as soon as I got home, explaining the situation and also that small independent bookstores have ordered the book in at my request and it is in the store (I checked in person). He got on it right away – said it was probably a glitch when Ingram, the distributor put it into Indigo-Chapters online. The publisher got on it right away, emailing Ingraham and re-iterating the contract contents he has with them and asked them to fix it. He ccd me.

That was three days ago. I checked BF on Indigo-chapters website. Still saying not available in stores. It better get fixed this week because April 18 I’m supposed to be part of a Crime Writers’ Canada presentation at one of the mid-town bigger Indigo bookstores and they need to order in copies of Beyond Faith for that.

And I still haven’t received my corrected CARP membership card as mentioned in last week’s post.  The old one expired February 28 and it’s March and I can’t get my benefits. I decided to go above customer ?service? – yes there are names for all the board, including Director of Communicaitons, but no email address.

With this widespread seemingly endless list of sanfus, i can’t help wondering if someone out there or up there (word beginning with “G”) has something to do with it. Call me crazy, but i don’t think it’s in the water, as the saying goes.

No wonder I get angry sometimes. I think I have the right to feel this way. At least it get me going to get it fixed.

What is the most recent snafu you have had to deal with? Or are you lucky and get little or none?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Beyond Faith book cover

 

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Filed under Beyond Faith, Books, Life demands, Only child, Utiiities

Only Child on people’s stupidity wasting my time

Your customer service rep today

Lately I’ve been getting up feeling that there isn’t too much to look forward to for the day – or I have one or more nagging problem to face. Even today, on an untypical winter’s day. Sun is shining and it going to be warm – 54 F on the old scale.

I’m feeling better now and I think it is because I’ve been busy tackling my time and getting back on track with starting my workday on time. I also re-recorded my voice mail message – much shorter and to the point – starting with if this call is personal, please call… and I state when – not during my business hours. I also mention when I will take calls for writing and editing. And I finish with “Or leave a brief message. Thank you.” Emphasis on the “brief”.  I don’t want your life story as some do. Now, with long messages, I will delete them once the life story finishes, that is.

I also thought a brief summary of some of the ridiculous problems I’ve been dealing with the past month – at least 90 per cent caused by “outside”, i.e. I didn’t cause them; they were caused by big business, government, other people, etc. But I’m stuck with fixing the problem. So, here is a short summary of the most ridiculous. People can be so stupid. WARNING: I name some names.

1. I belong to CARP – the Canadian Association for Retired Persons (a misnomer as members can be anywhere over 45 and many of us are not retired). But they are good with advocating for our rights as older people, especially to  government, plus you get deals with things like insurance and pharmacies and they publish the Zoomer magazine. But apparently their in-house administration needs some fixing. My membership runs out the end of February according to my membership card. For the first time I did not receive a renewal notice (I’ve been a member for more years than I can remember) so I phoned earlier this month. My “new” card arrived a week ago – dated February 2018. What’s wrong with this picture? i phoned and complained and asked for a correct new card to be sent to arrive by the end of the month, send it priority post if necessary and that because they screwed up I deserve that – this latter after they said it takes two to three week to send it out. Well, they didn’t listen -priority post would have gotten it here before now, which is one week later.

2. Empire Life Insurance Company which has had my life insurance policy for years and increases the payments every year, but never tells me ahead of time or how much. Just sends me “threatening” letters six months or so before the fiscal year is  up or after, stating that my policy will  be cancelled if I don’t pay X$ right now. I have repeatedly phoned them on this, stating I have no problem paying any quarterly increase that starts with each new fiscal year – but they have to let me know what the quarterly increase is. This year I did the math on the amount they say I owed until August 1 (fiscal year end/start) and it works out to the two quarterly payments I still owe when I am billed for each quarterly. I was just going to pay the current quarterly when the annual nasty letter arrived. This time I think I got someone who has some idea what she is doing and she said she would put a note in my file that I requested receiving notice of the actual quarterly increase a month before the fiscal year end/beginning and to just mail in the actual quarterly payment due now and the next one in May. Which I did for the quarterly then due. And I have complained about Empire Life to the Insurance Bureau of Canada and they said they don’t cover life insurance – just car and property insurance companies. I have also looked into getting life insurance elsewhere but have been warned to be careful here. Maybe I’ll go to CARP again on it and see what they have to say. Oh! When I get my new correct membership card.

3. I wasted last Thursday morning on the phone with Dell Canada trying to extend the service warranty on my leased desktop PC for another year. I might have been asking for them to deliver the sun and the moon. Except for instructing me how to do a check on the hardware in the computer to make sure it was all working (it was 100 per cent), the customer service rep in the finance department I got didn’t know what to do (she kept putting me on hold to check with her supervisor) and I had to repeat several times what I wanted and how I was going to pay for it. She finally gave me a quote and transferred me to someone else to take my payment info. Then back to her and after waiting some time she told me that there was a problem processing it but it wasn’t my card – it was Dell but she worded it like the problem was connected to me paying with a card. After being put on hold for more time, I hung up and tried to call back (to get somebody else) at the number she gave me. I got the usual Dell runaround from operator to operator to wrong country to wrong department until I landed back at the original place – but with la different rep who knew what she was doing. She got me a quote and it turns out the first rep had quoted higher because she had included a laser printer. Huh? I don’t have a Dell printer and that was never discussed with rep No. 1. This rep No. 1 had emailed me a “how am I doing?” email – twice – while we were still talking and there was a link to her supervisor. So I emailed him to complain. Got a quick reply and he wins the prize for stupidest person on the earth. He said the first rep. did it right, there was a “tool” causing the processing my order problem (Tool? We weren’t gardening or doing house repairs here? Did he mean software?). His grammar and spelling were atrocious for a supervisor. And he didn’t even apologize. But I may have gotten my just desserts in all of this, though – when I filled in the survey form that came in yesterday.

The list goes on. But that’s enough. People can be so inconsiderate and stupid.

So, I’m looking out the window at the sun shining and hoping I can go for a walk at lunchtime.

What is one stupid problem caused by someone else you had to deal with? And how did you deal with it?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Something to look forward to in a few months

 

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Filed under Complaining tactics, Consumer action, Insurance, Only child, Problems, Seniors, Snafus, Zoomers

Only Child says beware the silver lining

How I may have to view my garden - standing up on the patio

How I may have to view my garden and eating outside – standing up on the patio

Silver linings are used as something to look for in times of trouble. For me, it seems to be a weird, perhaps perverse variation. When a silver lining event happens, always an underlying troubling event or events (to put it nicely) connected to it happens. And 95 per cent of the time the bad event comes from out there. So no control at my end.

Here are a couple of recent examples.

You probably gathered from recent postings that I am in dire financial straits – this month especially because all my regular bills are showing up to be paid. But if I can stick to my strict budget, June is supposed to be much better because – drum roll for silver lining events – I have three writing, editing and/or teaching writing gigs coming up. The first one is for a client I already have. He informed me last week we could meet to get going on what he wants me to do (writing and editing) the week of May 24. A few months ago he paid me a retainer (long gone on paying bills), so I can’t exactly ask for more money until I work through this retainer.

Starting June 6 I am contracted to teach a four-session (every Monday afternoon) Memoir Writing gig at the North York Central Library branch in Toronto.

And this Friday I meet with a potential editing client for a possible manuscript evaluation gig – but it won’t start for two weeks until after she returns from holidays.

So, while June looks good (I also don’t have to pay a property tax bill in June), May is turning into the month from wherever.

The opposite to the silver lining under all this good fortune is something I never expected to happen. I had done my homework and saved enough money over the previous months to get some necessary tree pruning done. Job done very well and so I paid. Way after  the guys left (and I had another set-back that sidetracked me here. Coming to that shortly). ‘Without my permission and without even telling me, they had moved my patio table a metre and a half or so on the patio. This was supposedly so they could get the ladder up against the wall to go up to do some trimming of the walnut trees from the neighbour’s which were hanging over my roof. It was not necessary for them to move the patio table – the fellow who cleans my eavestrough doesn’t and he gets the ladder in there behind the patio table and to the right of it. The arborists could have done the latter. They also did not put the patio table back to where it belonged. I don’t usually allow it to be moved because it has a hole in the top to match up with the hole in the cement so I can put in the umbrella. I even waited to do this because I knew the umbrella would be in their way.

So what’s the thanks I get? When moving the patio table, nails on both ends joining the seats to the rest of the picnic table, came out. I phoned and called them on it and got “well, it was okay when we moved it.” I don’t think so. As soon as I lifted the table to try to move it back, I could tell something was loose.  The fellow said they would swing by and check on it (and hopefully hammer the nails back in and move the table back to where it belongs) either late Sunday or late yesterday or possibly today.

No show Sunday or yesterday. So, I left a vm message this morning and while I was polite, this time I mentioned why I don’t usually let the table be moved and could they please clarify if they were coming after 4.30 p.m. today or in the alternative, same time Thursday.

I cannot afford to pay a handyman to fix these arborists’ screw-ups. They did a good job with the trees (and I told them that) and were courteous enough to check with me after they did part of the job (before they were in the backyard) to see if it was to my satisfaction. I already paid them with a cheque and am contemplating putting a hold on it at the bank until they fix the patio table damage. But they do deserve to be paid for the tree trimming. Too bad you can’t hold part of the cheque amount back.

The other big silver lining is last Thursday at the ophthalmologist’s, after the eye exam, I got really good results, better than either of us expected. My good eye – the right one was seeing letters smaller and better. Even the left eye was too. But the best news was the double content prescription eye drops are not only stopping the pressure behind my left eye, but the pressure has gone down from 33 to 18 (whatever the measurement is for that). And the drops aren’t supposed to lower the pressure, just keep it at bay.

The shit in this silver lining? Saturday, besides gardening and having the arborists here, I was doing some laundry. What I didn’t hang out went in the clothes dryer. When transferring towels from washer to dryer I felt something fall from my glasses into the towels.. I figured it was the frame handle (again, it was glued on temporarily last month) from the sunglasses. Being in and out of the house a lot I sometimes keep the sunglasses on.

Uh, uh. It was my regular prescription glasses, the more important ones. One of the lenses had popped out. This had never happened to me before. I managed to get it in most of the way, but it still required a fast trip right then (I did eat lunch first) to the opticians. They popped it in, no charge, but while there I decided to order the new pair of sunglasses before the frame handle fell off again. I had enough left over from what I had saved for the tree trimming, so I picked out the glasses; the optician measured for them, and put the order in. The warranty for the original sunglasses  was only a year so is gone. I paid cash.

Then I went home and found the patio table situation when I went out back to do some garden clearing.

There are many more crappy incidents in the silver lining, but these are the two biggest ones – all unexpected. Before all this I had already cancelled me going to two events that require a fee and also postponed another event until next month.

What do I do now? Stop eating, or at least buying food, the middle of the month?

So, when people thinkI bring this stuff on and/or I create it – not true. Most of the shit coming my way; most of the things going wrong, I don’t cause them. And no I’m not going into the God stuff here, I’m saying that a lot of it is other people’s mistakes.

Is it something in the air or the water that makes people so stupid? Or are they just naturally careless?

Sheesh!

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes (and yells a lot lately)

 

 

 

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Filed under Arborists, finances, Good and Bad Luck, Home and Garden, Life demands, Only child, Problems, Silver Lining, Snafus

Only Child on trust

Only Child and her son Martin -  one of the few people she can trust

Only Child and her son Martin – one of the few people she can trust

Who do you trust? Do you trust anyone? Why and why not?

Over the years I have learned that trust is worse than fleeting. I used to be this naïve person who had trust, even if it was in the form of praying for things to be all right.

Not anymore. I can count on my fingers the people I can trust. As for organizations (religious, utilities, and otherwise – hell no). It used to be I could get up in the morning and feel safe, feel that it would be a good day.

Not anymore. Always I have a hassle and/or problem hanging over from a previous day. And more are always lurking unexpectedly around the corner. This unending list includes the weather, utility problems, house repairs (impending, some done but not done properly – read Nigel Applewaite and the bad job he did four years ago on waterproofing the outside of my house – he didn’t dig deep enough and I shouldn’t have trusted him), health issues, family, computers, finances, etc. – not necessarily in order of importance.

The bottom line is I have learned from my experiences to be wary of who and what I trust. I try not to take anything for granted because you can bet once I do I get screwed somehow, somewhere.

What is the answer?

For me, it is trusting myself, doing and going it alone as much as I can, keeping in mind I can reach out to the under 10 people I can trust.

And oh yeah, dishing out repercussions to the culprits who mess up my life – but picking and choosing which ones and letting others go.

Not letting go will be one of the latest – Bell Canada’s screw-up for the static on my phone. They emailed me about doing a survey on their service about this – the technician hasn’t shown up yet. To add insult to injury the email did not contain a link to the actual survey. But it did contain the name of the customer service VP. She’s getting s*** once a technician has actually been here.

More anon, like maybe next week’s post on Bell Canada – the ding-a-ling company.

 

Tomorrow is Canada Day July 1. Enjoy it – despite yet more rain and possible thunderstorms.

And for my American followers, Happy July 4 coming up this Saturday.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Anxiety, finances, Health, Life demands, Only child, Problems, Rain, Snafus, Stress, Trust, Weather, Worrying

Only Child deals with multiple snafus

Only Child down from running in circles

Only Child rests after running in circles

I’ve been running in circles today. Not only too much to do, but too many snafus to deal with at the same time. The worst part may be they are caused by others. Bad enough dealing with your own mistakes. And that’s why I’m late with this blog post. At least I made the day in posting.

Not going into a big long rundown of them all – but just for a taste here’s the really stupid one. There ought to be a string of jokes about bad banking deeds. Or maybe there is. The latest one to happen is on Friday I withdrew $30 from the bank – my bank, but not my branch. The teller gave me $30 cash but took it off my account twice. Sorting it out isn’t simple. When I caught it early Friday evening online back home, the bank branch was closed, so I had to call the main bank line for all branches. Nothing could be done because that branch is closed weekends but I got the Customer Services supervisor’s name and phone number plus the person from the main bank line said she was sending the info to that person now.

Yeah right. Not according to the Customer Service Super when I called her Monday morning. The latter might just be covering her ass because she hadn’t checked yet. So, once more I launched into my spiel and she said she would investigate and get back to me no later than Wednesday morning.

Today it was telephone tag. Her first call to me went into voice mail because I was outside dealing with a more serious snafu. “Snafu” may be a misnomer as this was some of the damage caused by God’s winter weather. Mike, my handyman and I were outside looking at and talking about the downspout and rain barrel damage and what he needs to do and cost. “One snafu at a time,” I said to Mike when I heard the phone inside ring.

Outcome (after several telephone tags with me stating when I was going out and not being listened to) was an apology from the bank’s customer service manager and the money has been credited to my account. Of course when I asked how the double posting could happen I got the loop answer. Maybe it was only $30 but going into May I have multi-bills to pay – all the utilities (some aren’t monthly) AND property taxes. At least Mike is understanding – I think he kept his work cost down and he agreed to let me come to the hardware store(s) with him so I can pay for the supplies with a credit card. The latter won’t need paying until June when the two extra utilities and property taxes don’t have bills.

The scary thing here is the cost for this property repair will probably be within ten or twenty dollars of the two utility bills and property taxes combined.

But the damage outside can’t wait until June. I hope all the stuff that needs repairs inside can wait until June.

I know. I need to go sit outside in my garden to relax. Wait a minute. Out front is the damaged juniper thanks to God’s extreme weather the past two winters. Out back is the rain barrel etc. stuff.

But Mike is coming Monday morning to fix the damage in the back – if it doesn’t rain then. I won’t be holding my breath.

I’m still going to sit outside and do some gardening. Maybe not this evening. Because this evening…

Nancy Bullis is interviewing me on Howl about my new mystery novel Beyond Blood at 10 p.m. this evening (April 28) on the University of Toronto radio station CIUT 89.5 FM. Don’t know if it is live-streamed online but you can check their website at http://www.ciut.fm/listen-now/

Howl is right. That’s what I feel like doing over all the snafus.

And I’ve only covered the surface of them.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Bank service, Banking, Beyond Blood, Garden Destruction, God, Life demands, Money, Problems, Snafus

Only Child on more government/consumer issues

Only Child gearing up to tackle government depts and companies that screw up her life

Only Child gearing up to tackle government depts and companies that screw up her life

Last Saturday morning was grey, rainy and windy. A perfect premonition for snafus. If that didn’t warn me then my bus being nearly 10 minutes late should have.

It didn’t. And although I put it out there (God, universe – take your pick) to have things work out for getting my Photo ID card – they didn’t. So much for any smidgeon of trust.

No trouble finding the new Service Ontario outlet – a short bus ride from my home. Somewhat long line-up inside but it seemed to move quickly enough – until I got to one of the four wickets.

When I phoned the day before I was told for a photo ID card I needed a birth certificate, my Ontario Health Insurance card and my divorce papers (the latter bridgingthe name change gap as well as giving certified dates of marriage and divorce.)

The latter two were no problem. The unfriendly government employee behind the counter said my original birth certificate wasn’t valid – I needed one issued by the City of Toronto and this one looked like a church one – was it?

“I wouldn’t know; I was a baby then,” I replied.

Then I pointed out that the title said “Birth Certificate” and the part where the issuer was the City of Toronto in the County of York (back in the grey ages) and that it was signed by a Toronto City registrar. She wouldn’t buy it so faxed a copy to her superior in the downtown office. This “superior  idiot” agreed with her. She said that it was issued by a hospital. Now there was no indication of a hospital issuing it and if that were true, it should be valid. Even as late as 1978 when my son was born, his original certificate came from the hospital (but has all the city – Newmarket here – info on it.). In the 1980s I used my original paper birth certificate to obtain the laminated one the Ontario Government were creating and this ***hole Service Ontario employee stated that the laminated ones were valid.

Why has the original paper birth certificate worked for proof of birth elsewhere?

Why has the Ontario government been considering chucking issuing new laminated birth certificates? What will they accept then? Invisible birth certificates?

The photo ID is supposed to be for those of us who don’t have a driver’s licence and costs much less. Is what happened to me a variation of being discriminated against because I don’t drive?

I have a laminated birth certificate. Yesterday I took it (and other ID cards) out of my safety deposit box. They were all in there for safety purposes – the police tell us to do this instead of carrying them around with us or leaving them lying around in our homes in case of b and e’s and/or muggings.

But with government stupidity it looks like you have to constantly carry them around. You never know when you might need them.

I talked to a few people at the CARP Zoomer show (for adults 45 plus) Sunday and was told to complain to the Ontario Ombudsman and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. Will do – once I get my damn ID card and get all the other becoming senior issues and procedures done.

For the record, at this point here are my lists – gratitude/good companies/government depts. And my *hit list of the baddies. Note: some get on both lists – short explanation in brackets afterwards.

Only Child’s Gratitude Good Companies/Government Depts.

  1. Service Canada – phone and in person, in particular one branch at Gerrard and Pape in Toronto – others praise their helpfulness, friendliness. What government service should be like.
  2. Dell Canada (in part – for being able to lease laptops for years at a continually reduced monthly rate)
  3. Sears Canada (in part – Optical Department, Home Services – particularly window blinds – and watch repair)
  4. State Farm (they handle my house and business insurance and did a good job switching the former to monthly payments)
  5. Kristin Green and Associates (manage my website and domain and I have two email accounts connected to this) – despite their switchover to a new server, after my email request for help, Kristin phoned me back and walked me through any changes to my accounts that I couldn’t do. And explained it all in a friendly helpful manner.
  6. Scotiabank – for usually being helpful – and they accepted my original paper birth certificate for eliminating some costs for seniors

Only Child’s *hit list

  1. Service Ontario – see beginning of blog post.
  2. CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency) – for lack of  knowledge of recent changes to paying taxes with CPP payments – cost me a lot of time and phone running around and delay paying the extra which I was required to pay (but was first told it wasn’t necessary)
  3. Empire Life Insurance Company for never informing me about the setup for my life insurance premium – it’s part investment –  and that there is a built-in what’s it that if you don’t add in extra to cover  increase in premiums you get a letter stating that if you don’t pay the extra by a certain day, your policy is canceled. The kicker? You have to phone them at the end of each fiscal year that you want to increase your premium or they don’t on your bill. I’m looking into other companies’ life insurance premiums where a medical isn’t required and will take this company to the Insurance Bureau of Canada and Ontario Ombudsman for unethical stupid practices. Today I put my foot down and said if they didn’t send me a bill for the real amount owing for the next quarter I’m paying the faulty lower one they just sent – technically and legally I can do that.
  4. Sears Canada (because the idiot new CEO is planning on closing the flagship store in downtown Toronto in the Eaton Centre. That’s my store for optical, etc. Now I’ll have to go further into Toronto outskirts – if they have Sears Optical there for any warranty-covered follow-ups to new eyeglasses which I would get before the anticipated February 2014 closing. Also I like their clothes better than Hudson Bay)
  5.  Direct Energy for trying to tell me my heating protection plan with them was not valid.
  6. Enbridge Canada for closing my account because they thought I moved and some guy named Peter moved in. They mixed up our streets – same name except mine is a Crescent and Peter’s is a Circle. This was two years ago and was fixed after I phoned several times.
  7. All utility companies for raising the rates and putting many of us deeper into the poor house – no matter what we do to save energy.
  8. The Canadian federal and Ontario provincial government for their service-cutting (mostly the feds) and its results and the province’s errors with hydro and gas and making the taxpayer pay (there is a debt repayment amount in our bi-monthly hydro bills).
  9. Dell Canada for screwing up my original new laptop lease order – they didn’t put in the order and wouldn’t admit they made a mistake. But they ordered it again and it is now here.

The list can go on and on, but I think you get the picture.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Consumerism, Income Taxes, Problems, Seniors

Only Child says snafus change priorities

Only Child with her parents in happier times at her grandfather's farm

Only Child with her parents in happier times at her grandfather’s farm

The house repairs, snafus, flakey help, etc. continue. But there is a silver lining in here.

Remember I ended my last post with talk about miracles?

I think I got my miracle and I am grateful.

Two friends recommended someone else to deal with my air conditioner problem. After two phone calls to one person which gave me endless phone ringing and no voice mail, I went on to number two recommendation. He answered and was available the next day. And (drum roll here), I turned on the A/C; he checked out the old air conditioner, looked inside the front of it, fiddled with the thermostat there and some buttons outside and voila – we got air (and not just the fan). I ran around closing windows and doors and we left it on for awhile while he went to the next problem. The house got cooler. The former handyman last fall had pronounced the compressor dead in this A/C and said it was cheaper to get a new one. I’m glad I had the A/C covered outside for over winter. Toes crossed that this A/C continues to work the rest of spring, summer and early fall – when I use it. I’m frugal and picky here.

The next problem is turning into another nightmare – the leaky tap in the main floor bathroom. The leak was from the bottom of the tap onto the sink back, not the spout. When he took the tap apart he found a couple of things not working so we went up to Home Depot to get new parts and a few other necessary items such as stain paint for the picnic table and the veranda railing. One part from Home Depot, despite being the same size, wouldn’t work for my taps. The handyman had a couple of used taps in his van and just needed a replacement part for the one, which he got. He installed it and it works.

But that’s not the end of the story. This tap leaks from below (not the drain) when turned on. He is coming back later today when he can get his van started. Thanks to the rain (not his fault; he doesn’t cause the weather conditions),he’s having van problems. I suspect the tap leak might be some caulking needed where it joins. When the four-year old tap (the one removed) was put in, the plumber had to come back to caulk.

Rain is forecast for all but Friday in the Toronto area – not good painting-outside weather.

And the fellow who is doing my heavy yard work? He was here last Wednesday and dug up part of my backyard garden – lots of deep weeds and grass that had grown back in. Instead of listening to my instructions to put just a bit in each bin because I have to carry them to the curb on yard waste collection day, he overfilled to above the top of two bins – there were three empty bins he had to work with but he left two stuck together and when he’d filled them, he couldn’t separate them. It started to rain (not his fault) but he said he would come by in a day or two to finish the digging and put the weeds dug up into bags. Meantime he covered the two overflowing bins with a tarp (so they wouldn’t get all soggy and heavy from the rain) and I put a couple of cement slabs on top to hold the tarp in place.

It is now six days later and he hasn’t showed up. Last evening I sorted out his mess, lifting the heavy slogs up and shaking what soil I could from them into the garden and putting some into three bags (not full so I can carry them to the curb tomorrow evening). I moved the bags and some of the bins into the driveway by the side of the house front and covered them with tarp and the cement slabs.

Now, I’m wondering if when you get a miracle, you get other stuff taken away or screwed up? Sort of like to keep life in balance?

And speaking of life balance, I’ve taken another look at priorities and realize that not all my priorities are my choice. Having to deal with everything on my own is a big fault factor here. I’ve had to bow out of something that I wanted to do (that was in my priority choice) because of all the other stuff I’ve had to deal with and still am (in my blog post last week).

But there is something else that gives me satisfaction. I’m firing the former handyman I had for many years and also the fellow who was doing heavy yard work. When the latter finally shows his sorry ass up at my front door I will tell him off – “Never darken my doorstep again,” is my message to him.

My mother was so lucky to have my dad as long as she did – even though he was sick with cancer, and ulcer and a heart condition for part of the time. He was loyal and he was a damn good house painter. Then there was his friend Ken, the opera singing plumber (and despite hitting the high notes, he was reliable).

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Aloneness, Family and Friends, Gardening, Help and Support, Helping Others, Home and Garden, Life demands, Mom and Dad, Only child, Problems, Sharon A. Crawford