The year is coming to an end and I need to get a few things off my chest. There are also a lot of good things to rave about from 2013. I’ll start with the rants so I can end 2013 on a positive note.
Top five rants, in no particular order:
1. Customer service, or the lack thereof.
This has been an issue for some time now, but more recently the spin is to blame the problem on the customer. When something goes wrong, I am always being told what I did to cause the problem or how I can avoid problems like it in the future. What? Example: I ordered tablecloths from Amazon for Christmas, paid for expedited delivery, got a shipping confirmation, and that is when it ended. The tablecloths didn’t arrive.
I called Amazon, which in itself is no easy feat. You can’t call Amazon, they have to call you in response to your online request to talk to someone! What?
When the call from Amazon came, the woman proceeded to tell me what I did wrong in ordering the tablecloths. First she said they were out of stock, and I shouldn’t have ordered an “out of stock item” and expect it to get to me in time for Christmas. I tried to explain that, when I ordered, there were 19 tablecloths in stock. “Nope,” she said, they were out of stock when I ordered. I can see they are out of stock now, but they were in stock when I ordered. She cautioned me that if I need an item quickly, I should make sure it is in stock before ordering. That way I can be sure that it will get to me on time. What? Then I asked her if they were “out of stock” how were able to charge my credit card and ship the items! When the box arrived would it be empty I wondered. Would there be just a note inside stating “Sorry, you ordered an item that is out of stock. Your bad?” UPS tracking showed the item had been picked up from Amazon but that was it.
I requested an immediate refund of the money to my credit card. Oops, again, my bad. It would take 3 to 5 business days. The “customer service” agent explained that I made the mistake of shopping for Christmas tablecloths at a very busy time of the year, CHRISTMAS! I would have to wait for my refund.
Later that night while watching the news, I learned of the big UPS/Fed-Ex holiday shipping debacle. So, my problem had nothing to do with “mistakes” I made. Here sits the unopened box with two tablecloths inside. Or so I assume. It is too heavy to just contain a note telling me what I did wrong. It arrived two days after Christmas. If you want it back Amazon, print out a shipping label and have it picked up. Your bad!
2.) Trade school television commercials.
I spend a lot of time watching television. I have to pace myself because of my physical disabilities so I have a lot of down time between daily tasks. Daytime television is geared towards people the advertisers feel should be out working, not watching television. Nearly every commercial is for a trade or technical school. Fine, not a problem. I completely understand. Really. What drives me nuts are the commercials with graduates as spokespersons. Why on earth do they not edit these commercials or reshoot after correcting the grammar? Some of these testimonials don’t even make sense. Examples:
Akilah for Heald College: What the heck does the phrase “with the ease of your peers” mean? Did she mean with the help of your peers? Does she mean with the camaraderie of your peers? What does it mean?
The lovely young girl promoting the pharmacy technician program speaks in incomplete sentences, but she appears to say that her (older male) pharmacy tech instructor is “really hands on.” Couldn’t his have been edited?
The one that puts me over the edge though is the commercial in which nursing students are shown being taught to do CPR with the patient in bed, without a backboard. You can clearly see the mannequin sinking into the mattress with the compressions. As a nurse, this one concerned me the most. I actually called the school and sent an email expressing my concerns. Why would they have a commercial showing them teaching students how to improperly perform CPR? Apparently they don’t think it is a problem. The commercial is still running.
3.) Stale bread.
One would think that living in California with a foodie on every corner would make buying a fresh loaf of bread a snap. Au Contraire my friends. The only bread available in the grocery store is old and stale. I commented to my grocer about this and was given the “inside scoop” on buying fresh bread. The secret I was told, is to shop Thursdays, when the fresh bread is delivered. Armed with this tidbit of grocery store insider trading, I started shopping on Thursdays. I dreamt of pillowy soft white bread slathered with peanut butter and jelly. Dream on. The bread on Thursday was quite possibly the stalest bread I have ever bought. My thinking is that fresh bread may come in the store on Thursdays, but by the time it gets to the shelf it is perfect for use as a crouton, or a birdhouse.
On the subject of food, don’t even get me started on produce. I think California ships its under-ripe produce to Chile in exchange for their under-ripe produce. Yuck. Thank goodness for the Farmer’s Market where we can get fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables a few months out of the year.
4.) Distracted drivers and my mailbox.
Our mailbox has been hit five times in three months. Three of the five times it was flat on the ground, with the cement ripped out. The other two times it was hit, but not flattened. One guy left a note. He told us he was reaching for his phone to take a call and ran off the road, knocking the mailbox to the ground and the side mirror off his truck. Another guy stopped and came to our door. He is a contractor working in the area and was distracted by a cell phone call too. The others just kept going, leaving their paint on our mailbox.
I was so worried about getting sued by some fool on a cellphone, that I asked for and received a letter from the post office stating that our mailbox is located appropriately off the road. Put down the phone people and d.r.i.v.e!
5.) Clueless neighbors.
Why does someone buy a tract house across the road from 144 agricultural ranch properties and then complain when a rooster crows? If you don’t want to hear the sound of farm animals, stay in the city limits. By the way, turn your music down, my roosters are going deaf!
Top five raves, in no particular order:
This year my parents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
We had a wonderful party with almost the entire family in attendance.
2.) The bunk house.
This old farmhouse will be 120 years old next month. It originally started out in 1894 as the bunk house for a wealthy rancher with twelve children. The main house burned to the ground, leaving just the bunkhouse.
We have lived here for a full year, much of it without heat or A/C but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I dreamt for much of my life about living in an old farmhouse, so this truly is a dream come true. I love every quirky, squeaky inch of it. We’ll be posting more about the history of the house.
3.) First Snow
I finally got the snow I have been hoping for since our move to the foothills. It was magical!
Next month will mark the end of the first year since adopting our sweet dog Tucker. He has brought more joy and laughter into our lives than we could have imagined. Like our house, he is quirky. As a formerly neglected and abused dog, he came with some baggage. We have worked through most of it and what remains adds to the charm of the little guy. I often wonder, “Did we rescue Tucker, or did Tucker rescue us?”
5.) My readers.
The last year has seen quite a growth in this blog. The recipes and food posts are still the most popular, but there has been a steady growth in those following the ranch adventures as well. That means the world to me. I appreciate everyone who stops by for a visit, and especially enjoy your comments.
Along with growing the blog, I am hoping for some babies on the ranch in the coming year. The emus are paired up and hopefully will give us the joy of watching the boys raise babies. Yes, emu males sit on the eggs, hatch, and raise the babies for the first year! I would also like to see baby goats, but this is difficult since we only have girl goats. I have an idea in my head about how to make this happen. More to come later.
Baby chicks are always around, but the emphasis now is on improving and expanding my Isbar flock and working on my secret project. I have also added many chickens strictly for laying in hopes of opening an eating egg business in the spring. I hope to have Isbar, Cream Legbar, Icelandic and Olive Egger hatching eggs as well.
Jack and Diane will be our only equine. They are a joy to have around but two donkeys is my limit. If you haven’t had a 750 pound donkey rest his head on your shoulder or a 350 pound mini sit in your lap, you haven’t lived. The people mentioned in Rant #5 probably enjoy the braying too! 🙂
So that’s it. The things that made me crazy and the things that brought me joy, all summed up in one post. Michael and I are looking forward to 2014 and we hope you’ll come along for the ride. Well, Michael actually just hopes I quit modifying the chicken coops, but that’s not gonna happen.
Feel free to shout out your rants and raves in the comments! Happy New Year!