November 2018

A little advice?

My blog is public, my girl’s is not.  Consequently I’ll get far more traffic than she ever will, but it ends up usually that I’m the one that reads her posts more than anyone else will for the most part.  However, there’s an issue she’s been dealing with for several months and I’m getting a bit concerned about what all is transpiring.

She has expressed it better than I, so I’ll just post this link.  If you can take the time to read, and perhaps offer some insight, or suggestion, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Breathing a sigh of relief (so far…)

Americans by and large have too much stuff.  That’s probably why 30 years ago the whole storage bin craze started.  Paying someone a monthly fee to store whatever you couldn’t have in your house, which was probably also bursting at the seams with stuff.  When I moved to this area in 1993, the running joke was that the town I now live in had too many dollar stores and hardware stores.  Today, while there is still a plethora of both, far and away they’re outnumbered by storage companies.  Within the town limits there are at least five and I’m probably overlooking a couple.

When I sold my parent’s house, the majority of the things in the house were either stored or sold through an auctioneer.  My parents were pack rats.  Of the worst ilk.  I’ve written before about the lengths we went through to empty out the mass of stuff they had accumulated over 30 plus years.  But in the intervening time, I’ve been storing the remaining contents of that house, adding in items from the other houses that my wife and I have lived in over the last 25 years.  I’ve mentioned before that I’ve moved the storage items several times as well.  3 different times to 3 different storage companies.  The last one has been a little of a headache, since they’re not easily contactable in case of a problem.  They even one time accidentally cut off the lock to my storage bin, replaced it with one of their own and I didn’t find out about it, until I went to get something, and couldn’t get in.  Once I contacted them (finally) I was informed that they’d made a mistake months ago and didn’t bother to let me know!  I was paying them storage fees and wasn’t even aware that my lock was gone.  I guess I should be grateful they didn’t just leave it open to anyone.

Getting back to the reason for this post.  I was going through my checkbook a couple of weeks ago and realized I hadn’t paid the storage fee for my space since August.  Oops.  Uh oh.  The funny thing (well not really ha ha funny) is that they’ve never contacted me to let me know I was late with my payments.  Definitely something that you don’t want to be too late on, because in the contract, they can sell your stuff and clean out the space, and leave you with bupkus.  And that’s NOT A GOOD THING!  Ahem.  So, I wrote out 2 checks, and sent then on their way, along with an apologetic note for forgetting to keep my account current.  I also asked for an accounting of my balance to be certain I’m in the black, not still in the red.

The checks cleared my bank today.  But I haven’t heard from the management person about the other.  So I guess I’m going to have to start calling again, trying to get ahold of a real person.  This might take a while.  Too, I should go down to my storage space and make sure my things are still there.  Because if I’m paying money and my things are NOT there….then there’s going to be a problem.  A BIG ONE.

So, I have something to do in the next few days.  Like I don’t have anything else to do…like get ready for the Christmas season.

A matter of hue

I tend to engage with the customers at my workplace.  It’s something that I’ve always done, since if you carry on a conversation, it’s not so much like they’re just there to shop, they might find that they have a ‘friend’ in the business and if they feel more comfortable, then perhaps their shopping experience will be a little less impersonal.  And they might end spending more, which sometimes can be considered a good thing.  Even so, there are times when customers, having become familiar, tell me things that surprise me sometimes and on occasion make me do a double take, or just completely bowl me over.

Case in point, this past week one of my older customers was telling me about what she did (and didn’t do) for Thanksgiving.  Apparently she and her son have become estranged over the several months leading up to the holiday, so much so that she wasn’t invited to their house for the meal.  Having been spurned, she was informed by one of her girlfriends that a couple of the local churches were serving a holiday dinner.  The first church that she went to, apparently had served the dinner either the day before, or the weekend before, so there wasn’t anyone there when she arrived.

Upon going to the other church, she apparently was quite surprised by the fact that the vast majority of people there were “colored” (her word, not mine).  That fact seemed to unnerve her so she left and didn’t partake.  I try not to judge, I don’t know everyone’s upbringing or their politics or personal preferences, but I have to admit that I was rather taken aback with the way she was describing her obvious confusion and distaste over what she had found.  I did ask her what she did for Thanksgiving dinner, and she quite nonchalantly said that she ‘went without’.  I really wanted to ask her why she had such a problem taking a meal with her neighbors, but I could see that asking something of that nature would more than likely have done more harm than good.

I’m not colorblind, I have friends that are African-American.  I went to high school with black kids, college and have worked with many over the years.  When I was in college in my senior year, I even had a black roommate.  He was from Brooklyn and a little rough around the edges, but we managed to get along.

Suffice it to say, it was just a little unnerving to hear someone in their 80s have that sort of reaction to people not of her own race.  As far as we’ve come as a people, as a species, we seem to be continually reminded that we still have a long way to go.

The new ride

My wife and I lease our vehicles.  Well, actually she does the actual leasing, I just drive the vehicle for the next 3 years for the most part.  (And schedule whatever maintenance, it requires)  Probably about 95% of the time when it comes right down to it.  We’ve been doing this since 2000, mainly because before that, we both had our own individual vehicles and basically drove them into the ground.  So when it came time to get a new one, we decided to get one jointly (sort of) and had to decide which way to go.

Buy or lease?  We opted to lease, since if you purchase a vehicle outright, sure you’re going to pay the loan on the vehicle, but you’re also going to pay for repairs, keep full insurance coverage for at least the first 5-7 years, and then pay for more repairs as the vehicle ages.  If you lease…you get a new vehicle every 3-4 years, providing you don’t drive it as much.  If you have a job whereby you put 50,000 miles on it every year, then leasing is less of a likelihood, because leases have upper limits on how many miles you can drive during the course of the contract.  Exceed this and you have to pay probably .08 to .15 per mile after that.  And that can add up.  A lot.

Since we both lived within a mile of our respective workplaces, I worked 3rd shift and she worked 1st, I could ostensibly work most of my shift, then come home on a break and take her to work.  Go back to work myself and then finish out my shift later in the morning.  It worked out really well for us, and we ended up with some really nice vehicles in the process.  Starting in 2000, we’ve leased a Ford Ranger (short-box), 2 Subaru Foresters, a Jeep Compass (first year they were out), a GMC Terrain and the current Ford Edge.  Next year our lease is up and we have to decide what vehicle we’re going to opt for this time.

What we used to do was, we alternated choices.  I’d pick, then she would and so on.  Starting with the Terrain, my wife decided she didn’t want to pick anymore.  She would leave the choice up to me, we’d go over the specs, test drive a few and decide which one we both liked best.  I’d spend a few months going over the possibilities, we’d visit a few dealerships and compare what they looked like (whether they’d fit in our small garage) and if they rode well, and drove well, then when the old lease was up, we’d generally go to the same dealership that we’ve been working with for the last 20 years and say hello to the new ride.

As you can tell from the list, we’re not necessarily faithful to any one particular make/model.  For the most part, we stay away from sedans or trucks, though the Ranger did come in handy when we were moving from the lake to the ‘city’ back in 2001.  We did discover that a short-box without a cap and a standard two seat cabin was a bit of a pain for traveling, since we couldn’t easily store anything in the truck while we were away on vacation.  We ended up starting to lease SUVs at that point, since it was like having a station wagon from the 1970s.

I’ve been doing some research and tentatively have it narrowed down to 6 possibles.  In no particular order they are:

  • Subaru Ascent
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Hyundai SantaFe
  • Dodge Durango
  • Nissan Murano
  • Chevy Traverse

Granted I’ve been looking at the 2018 models, since most, if not all of the manufacturers aren’t showing the 2019 models as of yet.  Come the new year, there might be additions or subtractions to the list, but at least I have a starting point.  It will be interesting doing the research as well as testing out the possibles.  Come June 2019, we’ll have a new vehicle!

Honestly, did you think I was going to forget?

I had an eye appointment today, my first since 2016. I used to go every year, but then my insurance changed at my workplace and they only covered a new pair of glasses every 2 years. I’ve been going to the same place for my glasses for the last 10 years, so they have all my prior prescriptions on file. Even so, now that many things are being automated and upgraded for web-based filing and reminders, what was once a simple system of reminders has now become overly complex. Or so it seems.

It used to be when you made an appointment, you were given a card so that you could go home, copy the appointment on your own calendar at home. The day would come for the appointment, you’d go, that’d be the end of it. Maybe 10 years ago, people seemed to need further coddling and reminders, so doctors’ offices would call you a few days before your appointment to remind you of it, OR they would contract with an automated system that would do the same thing. You’d have the option of confirming the time of the appointment that you’d make (months ago) over the phone, then on the day you’d go, and that would be the end of it.

Nowadays, it seems that people require even more coddling. For my appointment with the eye doctor, I received no less than FIFTEEN reminders stretched over the last 3 days. Email reminders, text reminders, three phone calls from their automated system to both my home phone AND my cellphone. Each day since Wednesday I’ve received both text reminders and emails letting me know that I have an upcoming appointment. Really? Really? No one needs this much of a reminder of an appointment. And I can’t believe this is isolated. I’m sure thousands of people are getting bombarded the same way I am. We’re not imbeciles, please stop treating us as if we are.

Btw, my eyes haven’t changed all that much according to the ophthalmologist. I’m getting new glasses just the same, though I did ask if I could just get the lenses, since the frames tend to be the big outlay. They recommended against it (naturally) since the frames I have now are a discontinued model (again, naturally) and wouldn’t be fixable if they were to break. Unlike my wife, when it comes to new frames, it’s always a several weeks’ breaking in period, because I have to get used to how the frames feel behind my ears. And that unfortunately takes a while. So again, I’m up for several weeks of adjustments and refits, which (luckily) they don’t charge for.

Which is neither here nor there in the above rant. Just updating those that care. Those that don’t…the suggestion box is over yonder.