Monday, August 30, 2010

This is a recording...

"We are experiencing higher than usual call volume...please remain on the line and your call will be answered in sequence". I hate that recording. What they actually mean is, "Please stay on the line indefinitely and we will talk to you whenever we feel like it. " Or possibly, "we couldn't be bothered hiring enough people to deal with your petty problems, so when the individual we did hire, returns from the washroom, he/she might speak with you."

I'm not certain what marketing genius came up with that suggestion for a recorded message but it's getting tiresome. Do they actually think they're fooling anyone? Are we to believe that a company is doing so well and that the employees are so overworked that nobody can get to the phone? Perhaps, if we'd heard it only once or twice. Unfortunately, everyone is using the same lame "higher than usual volume" excuse. Not only that, I've heard that line during all hours of the day and part way into the night. I haven't spoken to a real person during the first 15 minutes of any service type call in the last decade. Sure, I was clever enough to figure out that pressing all those numbers for English or French, for this department or that department for this help or that help can for the most part be overridden by pressing "O" for operator. After all, do any of those options ever provide you with the actual choice you need? Where's the "I just have a quick question and don't want to wait half an hour" option? I think that pressing 1 for this and 2 for that is just a ploy to keep people busy while the one person at the other end of the line is dealing with the "higher than usual call volume".

Today, I contacted one of my favourite companies to inquire about a free preview sports channel advertised during every baseball game. This channel was supposedly available for the rest of the year. After awaiting my "higher than usual call volume" turn and being threatened by "this call may be recorded" I spoke to a gentleman who had some difficulty understanding me. Must have been my heavy Canadian accent! At any rate, after speaking to him for at least ten minutes and trying to explain that I wanted the free preview, he said, " Mrs. Adam, please to hold the line for two minutes so I ask someone." Another 5 minutes later, he returned with the response that I may order the free preview for $8 a month. Huh? "Well, the free service is only available to new customers." I interpret that to mean that "old" customers are no longer needed.

"I do not repeat NOT want to pay $8 for a free preview, so please forget it." I responded.

"Thank you madame. Is there anything else I can help you with today?" he asked.

Drat, I wish I had amassed more questions to save going through all this again, but alas, I had none. "No, thank you, goodbye."

Oh... and in case anyone wonders where my blogs have been of late. I have been experiencing higher than usual activity volume. Please be patient and blogs will appear in sequence.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Don't Eat It If It Starts With "P"

Why is it that cookbooks and diet books are always on the best seller lists? Since 68% of the North American population is overweight this may be a rhetorical question. Nonetheless, I have noted over the years that fad diets of every sort and books about these diets have always been big sellers. Some diets come and go, and some just linger for the next generation to get excited over as if they've discovered something new. There are testimonials and interviews galore, doctors touting their validity and then quickly as they came, gone! My all time favourite was the cabbage soup diet. This diet contained plenty of nutrition and fibre and could theoretically have worked very well had I been able to gag down more than one day's worth of the soup.

I am hereby announcing the launch of my newly created diet. It's going to be called the "Don't Eat Anything That Starts With The Letter 'P' Diet". I feel much like any creator of a new diet, that I am highly qualified to write a book. Not only do I have a combined degree in Sociology and Psychology, innumerable post grad courses, and certification in fengshui, but I have many years of diet experience. Furthermore, I know that the human body contains 122 or is it 144 bones? We, have 32 or fewer teeth depending on where on the continent we live, and the skin is our largest organ. I have eaten frogs' legs and know that they don't actually taste anything like chicken, therefore I consider myself quite the food expert.

I am hoping that my idea will be published as soon as I figure out a way of turning the following information into an entire book. Lots of pictures might just do the trick. Perhaps I could list the items in alphabetical order, with comments about and photos of each morsel in its natural habitat. My newly created diet promises to transform your body in a matter of decades or you can give me your money back. It is not complicated. Simply, do not consume any of the following items: pancakes, pasta, pop, pizza, pate, pepperoni, pez candies, potatoes, pigtails, pirrhana, pig knuckles or pork hocks, perogies, pomegranates, porridge, possum, popcorn, potstickers, pub fare, puffed rice, pigeons or partridges in pear trees.

Watch for my follow up fashion book to be entitled "Don't Go Out In Public Wearing Anything Starting With the Letter 'P' ."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shopping or Fishing? It's All About Jeans

Many men do not understand the female version of shopping. Shopping is an art. Shopping is not always about walking into a store, grabbing what you want and dashing back out of the store in record time. Shopping does not necessarily involve purchasing anything. It is instead a relaxing activity which requires strolling, browsing, picking up, touching, smelling, and feeling, trying on, spending time with friends and recognizing bargains. Shopping takes time and skill and shopping is fun. I have in fact, gone on cross border shopping excursions with my friends and we have not purchased a thing. It's all about the experience. One of my greatest pleasures comes from knowing where to find something interesting or unusual for a gift or where to suggest a friend or family member go to find a specific item. Although I don't want to sound sexist, and I know there must be some women who do not enjoy this activity, I still believe that shopping in this way is predominately a female pastime.

Women, specifically me, don't understand the current male version of fishing. I used to love fishing. Fishing was one thing that got me out of bed at sunrise. It allowed me breathe the fresh air while someone else baited my hook. I would cast, pull out a fish, then repeat the process. This activity was performed quickly. Simply amass a few fish and go home. Just as men walk into a store knowing what they want, purchase it and leave, I fished, caught and was done. The fish were cleaned. The fish were cooked and eaten.

More recently, I have observed that fishing has a different look. Fishing consists of purchasing a dozen worms, going out on a boat, catching fish and tossing them back. Catch and release? Pointless I would think, but then, I'm female. Why do this? Why capture, mangle and toss back those slippery little critters? Could it be that men find it relaxing? Could it be that it provides a challenge or some kind of camaraderie? Could it be that they like the experience? Could it be that it gives them some degree of joy, not only knowing where the fish are, but being able to catch the best ones and be able to tell friends and family about "the one that got away"?

Next time men complain about females and their "shopping" we should help them understand the concept by telling them to think of it as female fishing. We like to go out, relax, spend time with friends, get a bit of exercise, know where the sales are and brag about our bargains to friends. Simple.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Princess, The Pea and Prince Charming

My husband is a prince. He is. He bought me the bed in which I am currently not sleeping. It's 3 a.m. The hour is irrelevant however, since I know for a fact that it is a more respectable time of morning, noon or night elsewhere in the world.

Tomorrow, is our third anniversary. Soon after we were married, I started whining about our bed. It was lumpy and bumpy and saggy in all the wrong places, much like my body. I ached in the mornings and despite my youth and vitality, my muscles remained sore for a large portion of the day. I complained. I'd let out the occasional moan. For dramatic effect, I made certain that my bones cracked and that I rubbed my neck and shoulders frequently while in his presence. The dog would often follow me around, dragging her tail as if to punctuate my discomfort.

"You're just like the princess and the pea" hubby would comment.

"Yep", I would answer.

He put a board underneath the mattress. It didn't help. Oddly, the bed still bent in places where I didn't. We went out and "test drove" some new mattresses. I determined that the foam ones were my favourite. I looked like someone on one of those t.v. commercials as I lay in the showroom sighing, sprawling and almost asleep enveloped in memory foam. This was surely one of NASA's best ever discoveries. All the pressure points were relieved. Unfortunately, the cost of the mattress rivalled that of a small spaceship and so we moved on.

"I have a surprise for you", hubby said one day as he came home from shopping. Through the door came a wall of white, covered by a giant plastic bag, with a pair of masculine hands dragging it. It was a topper made of, none other than memory foam. Next best thing to a whole mattress at a fraction of the cost.

"Yayyyyyyyy", I was thrilled. We immediately tore the sheets and duvet off the bed and reassembled it with our new viscoelastic plus polyurethane slab. Making the bed became a bit more challenging, but hey, it would be worth it!

Shortly after the "installation" of our new mattress pillow-top wannabe, the discomfort and the aches came back. I would wake up during the night laying on what appeared to be a curious lump or crack. In the morning, I'd investigate to see what had happened only to discover that the smaller mattress had now developed a mind of its own and shifted dramaticallly from atop the larger frame. Oh dear!

I lived with this for quite some time, pulling and yanking the pad back into place as best I could when making the bed. I tried not to complain. I tried...I really did.

One day, while we were driving, we happened to venture into a furniture store. Coincidentally, hubby headed for the mattresses. "Let's pick one", he announced, "but I have to be able to live with it too". We plopped our bodies onto a series of beds and we both seemed to linger on one particular choice. It wasn't foam, but it was acceptable....not too hard, not too soft, not bulgy, not too pricey. Sold!

The mattress was delivered a week later and we said goodbye to the older, more painful model at long last. Once it was assembled, I became aware of a unique feature of our new bed which I clearly hadn't noticed in the store. I realized that it required "deep pocket" sheets and that this was a particularly high mattress. Although I'm only slightly shorter than I used to be, the top of it was almost at my waist. Hmmm...

My athleticism has been tested numerable times over the last few years. I am often able to take a jumping leap to make it onto the bed. When I'm particularly tired, I approach it from the side and make my over the edge by flopping onto my stomach and crawling or pulling myself the rest of the way. Sometimes, only one leg and part of my body actually make it onto the bed, however, I am so appreciative of my new mattress, that I try to keep the grunting and groaning caused by this minor inconvenience to a minimum.

As I age, I will probably require either a step stool, ladder or one of those senior elevators mounted alongside the frame to help me with my ascent into bed. Meanwhile I think I'll go back to sleep now, drift off and dream about castles, ponies and princes.