Archive for October, 2009

Sppppoooooky!

Friday, October 30th, 2009

In honor of Halloween, I bring you scary sights from the house of vibe:

My Roots. AHHHH!
MY ROOTS! AHHHH!

What are they, like, 3″ long? THE HELL? Apparently, since I refuse to buy hair dye of the drug-store variety (for fear of dying more than my hair or ending up with a wack color) and since I’m hoarding my money to pay off debt and whatnot, I have to discuss these roots with nearly EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. I meet. Seriously. If I go out somewhere, someone inevitably asks me if I’ve purposely lightened that streak in the front, makes a comment about Rogue or the Bride of Frankenstein, or WORSE! Flat out tells me I “need to fix that”. I KNOW, OK? I KNOW!

spooooky jack o’ lanterns
spooooky jack o’ lanterns

The boys drew, we cut. Everyone keeps their digits and eyeballs this way. Elias’ (the one on the right) is actually double-sided! Very creepy and cute! Which leaves the scariest for last:

ROACH!
HOLY F’IN SHIT WHAT HTE HELL IS THAT?!!?!?

Picture this: You’re naked. Wet. Soapy. You are happily standing in the shower with your eyes closed, lathering your hair. Then, as one is prone to do sometimes while in the shower, you open your eyes and look down. There, on the ground, IN THE SHOWER, is a HUGE, MOTHER-F’IN COCKROACH!

Adam thinks that there is nothing that will freak me out. He is wrong. See Exhibit A (above).

Now, since (if you are sane) I have likely given you nightmares for a week, I shall leave you with this non-scary image:

Ahhhh…preeetttty.
Sunset view from our apartment.

{{sigh}}

Feel better? :)

Happy Halloween!!!!

PS- 5!! posts for the month of October! In semi-regular intervals! I don’t want to jinx myself, but it appears the blog might have a pulse again!

“Dear B&H…”

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Part I of this story can be found here.

Thank you for contacting the Customer Service Department at B&H Photo Video and Pro Audio.

I am sorry that this item came damaged for a 2nd time and if you would like to keep this item, I can offer you $10 off of this order.

Please let us know if there is anything else we can assist you with.

Thank you, we appreciate your business.

Mendy D
B&H Photo Video and Pro Audio
The Professional’s Source.

$10? Really? Apparently, my time and the hassles they have caused me are not worth much.

Mendy,

Thank you for your reply. However, I am surprised that you think this is a fair ammends considering the patience and loyalty I have displayed and the amount of inconvenience you have caused me. I know you would not like to lose a customer just as much as I would not like to spread negative word of mouth about your company. Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks,
Lara

Hello Lara, my name is Mendy D:

Thank you for contacting the Customer Service Department at B&H Photo Video and Pro Audio.

I am sorry that you do not find this offer satisfactory and if you would like we can take this one back as refund. I am sorry that this item came damaged and not what you expected 2 times.

Please let us know if there is anything else we can assist you with.

Thank you, we appreciate your business.

Mendy D
B&H Photo Video and Pro Audio
The Professional’s Source.

Ok, GREAT, so I have to repackage this thing and send it back now? Not to mention that I haven’t yet gotten a refund for the FIRST one I sent back.

Frankly, sending it back for a refund is unacceptable as well. I already have $43 tied up waiting on a refund for the FIRST stand I had to send back. I am not interested in holding up another $43 in a refund. If I have to send this back for a refund, you will certainly lose my business in the future.

Thanks,
Lara

Hello Lara, my name is Mendy D:

Thank you for contacting the Customer Service Department at B&H Photo Video and Pro Audio. I made you an offer if you would like to keep it, which is over a %20 discount on the item, this is a fair offer and it you would like it, please let me know.

Please let us know if there is anything else we can assist you with.

Thank you, we appreciate your business.

Mendy D
B&H Photo Video and Pro Audio
The Professional’s Source.

You can dress it up as 20%, but it’s still a lousy $10 and doesn’t begin to make up for your gross incompetence, B&H.

Giving me the choice to either keep a damaged mic stand for a measly $10 discount or be inconvenienced by having to spent time repacking the item for a return is hardly the actions of a company that actually cares about their customers. This is not the first time I’ve had to send this item back, but the second. In addition, the first time, you sent me a stand that was obviously damaged before it left your warehouse. This is the kind of service you should be bending over backwards to make up for.

What I actually consider fair compensation for my loyalty, time, and inconvenience would be for you to refund my money without having me return the stand. That would actually be the right thing to do. However, I would accept a 50% refund.

Thank you in advance,
Lara

Hello Lara, my name is Mendy D:

Thank you for contacting the Customer Service Department at B&H Photo Video and Pro Audio.

I understand your disappointment with this item and I am sorry that this has been such a hassle for you. Unfortunately this item is a very low priced item and for $10 it is almost %25 off of the item, however I will be willing to up the offer to $15, however this is the final offer, of a discount and if you do not want this, then I will go ahead and make an RMA for the return.

Please let us know if there is anything else we can assist you with.

Thank you, we appreciate your business.

Mendy D
B&H Photo Video and Pro Audio
The Professional’s Source.

Frankly, at this point, it’s not the offer they’re making, but the attitude. This person clearly doesn’t give a shit they’ve fucked up. I’m getting form-letter, insincere apologies that are completely transparent. It would stick it to them further to take their offer than to send it back. They would lose more money if I kept it, but frankly, I don’t want the shit stand anymore. I would rather send it back and give my current and future patronage to someone who actually gives an f about more than their bottom line. Someone who cares about accountability and service. The $40 they ate today could have been hundreds they made in the future, but apparently, they don’t have that kind of big-picture vision.

Mendy,

I would like you to issue me an RMA for this item. I would like to return it for a FULL refund, including the amount I paid to have it shipped to me. Please also send a pre-paid UPS shipping label for the return. There is no reason I should be forced to pay for shipping in either direction for an damaged item I cannot keep.*

Thank you,
Lara

Am I way off-base here?

*RMA sent. Full refund promised. Customer still lost. Thank you for a nearly month-long hassle, B&H Photo Video and Pro Audio.

Death in the Afternoon.

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

So I think it might be official. I have *killed* this blog.

What was once a lively and thriving knit blog has become a vast, empty cavern through which my lonely voice just echos(echosechosechos).

All good, I deserve it. I’ll just have to keep posting and eventually, the people will come back, right? (If you write it, they will cooooome!)

There is little to report on the knitting front. No progress has been made on the stockings. However, as I have been informed by the Christmas Countdown app on my friend Lisa’s iPhone, Christmas is still something like 67 days away, so it’s all good.

What is NOT all good is my recently online shopping experiences.

I am trying to launch a voice-over career. So far, I have invested MAD $$ into it, but have made no money back. This is mainly because there’s a lot more work I have to do on the front-end so I can position myself to make money, including the purchasing of certain audio equipment. SO, I decided to get off my lazy bum, take a step in the right direction and place an order for the things I need. YAY! PROGRESS!

Wanting to support local business, I headed over to the website of a local pro audio/video company. I’ve heard good things about them, their prices are good and, as I mentioned, they’re local. However, when I went to place my order on October 2nd, I learned that online ordering was suspended for the weekend for the Jewish holiday of Succos. No problem. The website said to return that Sunday at 8pm.

Monday the 5th, I went back to the website to place my order. Good news! Online ordering had resumed! BAD NEWS! Online SHIPPING was suspended till the 12th, again due to the Jewish holiday of Succos. I could PLACE the order, but it would not be fulfilled until the 12th. Argh.

Still, ok. I could wait a week. No big deal. Still a good company, still good prices, still local. I decided to wait.

Monday the 12th, I went to the website AGAIN. This time, I was able to place my order no problem. According to my confirmation, I’d have my shipment by Wednesday. YAY!

When I got the package though, this is what I found inside:


Damaged goods
A GAPING HOLE IN THE BOX!

As a result of that hole, the mic stand inside was totally scuffed! What gets me the most about this is that the mic stand clearly didn’t get damaged in transit. The SHIPPING BOX was in good condition. Someone took the mangled box off the shelf and shipped it off to me this way! With no thought, whatsoever! Like, SERIOUSLY?!

So I wrote to them. I gave them my order number, my reference number and the name of the product. I told them the product was damaged. They wrote back saying they didn’t know what product I was referring to and that they needed photos.

Lemme recap that part.

I sent them the order number.

I sent them the reference number.

I sent them the NAME. OF. THE. PRODUCT.

And they wrote back, “We did not understand which item you were talking about. Please email me some pictures and advise me what you would like to do. You can of coarse[sic] reorder and send this one back.”

{{sigh}}

Fine. Ok. So I took pictures. I sent them. They wrote back and said that I could place an order for a new one. Meanwhile, they would send me a pre-paid UPS shipping label and I could send the other one back for a return. Honestly, this was not ideal to me. Why? I spent $43 on this mic stand. What they were telling me I had to do was to spend ANOTHER $43 on ANOTHER mic stand. Meanwhile, I had to ship the other one back and wait up to 2 weeks for a return to be processed before I ccould get my initial $43 back. Um, HI! Hello! I might actually NEED that $43!!! Why do I have to shell out another $43 because they made a mistake?

BUT OK! FINE! I packaged it up, I sent it back, I placed the new order.

Two days later, I got a new mic stand and GUESS WHAT?

Yep.

Seriously.

Damaged.


Scratched stand
Sca-RATCHED.

Is it unusable? No. I could use it. Is it right that I should have to pay full-price for a brand-new item that is not in brand-new condition? NO. It’s the f’in principle here, peeps.

So now it’s the 23rd and I have been trying to obtain this mic stand from these people for the last 21 days – a mic stand I could have had by the 6th at the latest had I just ordered it from Guitar Center or Sam Ash. Hell, I could have DRIVEN to Sam Ash and had it WEEKS ago. Maybe even for less.

I wrote them a loooooooooong letter detailing my entire saga and ending in the following:

I am anxious to hear how you are going to rectify this situation in a way that is going to retain my loyalty as a customer.

Because it’s. like. that.

Having me return it for a refund ain’t gonna cut it, F. Y. I.*

I’ll keep you posted ;)

*Adam frequently mentions that he hopes he never gets on my bad side. FOR GOOD REASON.

Wicked.

Friday, October 16th, 2009

So this quasi step-mother thing…

Kinda hard!

I mean, one minute, you’re this free-wheelin’ single girl, and the next? You’re living with three boys (one larger than the other two), packing lunches in transformers lunch bags, walking kids to school and doing laundry for four! You find yourself saying things like, “Did you flush the toilet and wash your hands? WITH SOAP?!?!” and, “I’ll give you to the count of three to get back in that bed! 1… 2… 2 and a haaaalf…”

{{sigh}}

Some days, like this morning, really kinda suck. I was cranky, Elias was cranky, and even though Emile was in a good mood, he seemed to want to take 5x longer to do everything than he normally does. So I got stressed and short-tempered. “Emile! Eat your waffle! We have to get to school!” “Elias! I don’t care if the other kids get sent to school with candy! I’m not packing junk food in your lunch bag!” Add to that that it’s 40 degrees and raining today? Best. Time. Ever.

Then though, there are other times. Times when everyone is having fun. Times when the kids say stuff out of the blue that make your heart turn to goo. Times when someone makes a funny face that makes everyone laugh. Times when you remember you’re kinda lucky to be you; that you lucked out in getting to join this little goofball clan of yours. Good times :)

Adam has turned the boys into little crafty bakers. Over the weekend, we made Monster Cupcakes*. You just take some regular, ordinary cupcakes, add a little bit of green food coloring and some fun candy and PRESTO! MONSTERS!

Monster Cupcakes
Mine is the purple one. I maybe got a little too into it.

Counter-clockwise from my cupcake is Elias’, then Emile’s, then Adam’s. Promptly after this picture was taken, all the boys devoured their cupcakes and were done with the whole thing. Me? I decorated 4 more. Because I’m crafty like that. If you ever need a candy-decorated cupcake, I’m apparently your girl.

In other food-craft news, last night, we made Apple Teeth*. What *are* apple teeth, you ask? Why, a cunning combination apple slices, peanut butter and mini marshmallows!!

Apple Teeth
AHHHHH!

They’re mighty tasty too! However, in making them, I made a horrifying discovery! While I am not what one might call a calorie-counter**, I learned that 4 mini-marshmallows = 100 calories. 4. FOUR. *MINI*. MARSHMALLOWS. That means ONE of those tooth creations = about 200 calories!*** I ate TWO! Yikes :-\ It’s not a big deal really, except that if I’m going to consume 400 calories in the span of 10 minutes, I can think of far tastier treats that anything involving stupid mini marshmallows.

A.N.Y.W.A.Y.

Knitting – I’m moving merrily (HA!) along on Christmas Stocking #1. It’s not going nearly as fast as other people had said it would, but I think I can attribute that to two things:

1 – I haven’t actually been working on it much. The thing won’t knit itself, now will it?
2 – I’m new to fair isle and stuuuuupid slow at it. HOWEVER! Not doing too badly for a girl who’s never done it before!

SEE?

Snowman Progress 2
Look! A Little Snowman with little Snowman Arms!

Of course, I’m knitting way too tight in some places and my floats are too loose in others, but I think it’s starting to balance out a bit. Take a look at the inside:

Snowman Progress  2 Inside
I take it as a good sign that you can make out the snowman pattern from the back!

We’ll see. Right now, since I’m knitting so tightly, it’s hard to push the stitches around the wee 16″ circular needle. If I can just figure out how to knit a little looser, I think this thing will start zipping along. Any tips or tricks to this Fair Isle thing? DO Share! In the meantime, I’ll keep plugging away at it.

xoxo

* crafty eats courtesy of Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine.

** I’ve been using the best iPhone app ever to track what I eat so I can see how I’m doing nutritionally. The only problem is, it tracks the calories too, which, on some days, is kind of horrifying to see! Adam told me to delete the app when I refused a glass of wine because I was already waaaaaay over the recommended caloric intake for the day (damned tasteless marshmallows). I’m inclined to agree. I don’t need to be obsessing over these things. Still though, BEST. APP. EVER!

***Apparently, I like to unnecessarily freak out the people who read this blog. The best. app. ever. confused me. I scanned my marshmallows and it brought up different listings and I inadvertently selected Jet-Puffed Marshmallows, not Jet-puffed MINI Marshmallows. SO! AS IT TURNS OUT, 4 *REGULAR* sized Marshmallows = 100 calories. The BIG ones. Not the mini ones :) You’d have to eat about 72 mini marshmallows to get that many calories. My bad. AGAIN. Sorry. :-\ Freakout over :)