Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I've been down for the past day or so with some kind of bizarre virus. It feels somewhat like Rip Van Winkle tinged with former football lineman feels at age 50 with a side order of post nasal drip to complete the ensemble. Yeah, I feel just awesome (not). On the bright side, I've slept so much that I am trying just to stay awake now so I won't wake up at 3:00 a.m. and be stuck watching episodes of "Family Matters." Been there, done that, would prefer to retain my sanity. What's left of it, anyway.

I know...stop whining.

On a happier note, I'm pleased that today is the last day of what has proven to be a dreadfully stressful month. Oh, it has had its high points (Rush, my niece's shower, vacation days, gardenias) and its low points (heinous customer service at just about every place I went, $2,300 in car repair bills (three cars), heat that was inescapable (except for my office which was positively arctic the entire month), and the retirement of my patience.)

The retirement of my patience was an awesome thing to behold. Awesome in a "shock and awe" way - just to be clear - as opposed to a "yay!" kind of way. Because had my patience not been unavailable, I might not have found it necessary to have "discussions" with representatives from Kirkland's, Alabama Power, Capital One, Comcast, Auburn University Montgomery and the apartment complex that my daughter vacated a month ago just to name a few. The score (from this group anyway) is officially: Money sucking (or just sucking...period) entities - 4, the jury's still out because they are trying not to suck - 2, Karen - 0.

Julia Sugarbaker, I am not. She was tactful and ladylike but got her point across by only chewing someone a new one when that someone had been given every opportunity not to be a bonehead. After running up on Julia, folks figured out that they might want to change their ways like...immediately...or risk being told in no uncertain terms exactly what she thought of them. And although I have had moments of Julia-ness, I am more often than not like her redneck third cousin or something.

Which takes on a completely different air...if you know what I mean.

I launched into a ten minute "discussion" today with the apartment complex about the lack of wisdom in failing to return our deposits in a timely manner...for the third time. An apartment complex can advertise, promote, and have giveaways galore, but if you mess with a group of Mamas and their money, you may as well be setting fire to your advertising budget. That's what I explained to a pass-the-buck-by-blaming-it-on-corporate type named Lisa this afternoon in a very nice way without yelling loud enough for them to hear me in the lobby. I mentioned that it was against the law to continue to hold our deposits, and that I sincerely hoped that I received it pronto because I spent it like a month ago and the Visa bill is calling my name. And when it starts calling, it wants to charge you something heinous like 17.99% interest if you fail to answer. I told her that if I didn't receive it by Thursday, I'd be back on my broom.

She seemed to sincerely hope that I'd receive it by Thursday. I'll give her that.

Speaking of Visa, I honestly do not wish to call Capital One again and yell at those Philistines about jacking up my interest rate when I haven't been late like EVER. I've already had that privilege once this month when I happened to actually read the interest rate section of the bill. Using the Vikings in their ads was probably not as big a stretch as one might imagine. Don't believe me? Call their customer lack-of-service department. You'll want to grab weaponry and go to swinging it. I promise. I know I did.

Another "discussion" this month was about cable pricing for my college student that starts at a ridiculous introductory rate of $87.51 a month (basic cable and internet) that creeps upwards after six months when the "promotional rate" wears off. Great. Just great. Not that the person I was talking to cared about my opinion, but I think I'll be calling Comcast every few weeks just to whine about the fact that they are ignorant. Just for sport.

The Kirkland's "discussion" was actually a full-blown fit that ended up being a twenty minute conversation with the District Manager about a serious lack of basic customer service in their local store. Granted, the manager was about a gazillion months pregnant and two of the whiniest women I've ever witnessed had just worn her out over a price adjustment, but whatever. I put some things behind the counter that some creature of efficiency found necessary to put back on the floor before I could sashay up there to pay for them. Nothing annoys me more than trying to remember what it was that I just thought I had to have but absolutely cannot.

Oh, the district manager seemed to understand my rant, but there has been zero noticeable change in the performance of the employees in that store. Yes, I continued to patronize the store...because Lord knows I must have those items that are so incredibly cheap that they might not survive the drive home before they shatter. (Been there, returned that.) But to save myself from another run-in with the expectant mother, I took Big Dave in with me so that I'd behave...or I'd at least have a witness.

I don't know what the big deal with me and corporate entities is this month. I'm not really difficult to please, actually. Just give me a coupon and something decent to buy, and I'm fairly rational. However, if you want to see truly irrational...just give me a coupon and something I want to buy, and then try to give me an excuse as to why you won't honor the coupon.

I won't even attempt to describe that particular horror. Just ask my kids. They'll be in therapy over it someday.

Well, I am looking ahead to better days. I am hoping that August was an abberation. Guess I'll find out tomorrow when I order something from L.L. Bean. And who knows? Maybe that deposit check will miraculously find itself in my mailbox tomorrow afternoon. After all, I have to mail in that Visa bill. Here's hoping...

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