Monthly Archives: June 2014

Money often costs too much. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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So money is one of those things that NICE people don’t talk about publicly, it’s  déclassé, vulgar, base, which of course means I am going to do it.

I always kind of thought that by the time I was almost 40 I would have the whole money thing figured out. I have a good job that pays well enough. We don’t have any kids, rarely travel, still don’t own a yacht or a hover board. The maid I have been dying to hire is on the back burner but all my bills are paid. I should be financially set but I am still living pay cheque to pay cheque, hand to mouth and I have NO IDEA where the money is going.  I have no savings and I am in debt on my line of credit, I haven’t seen the + side of my over draft in months and Visa card up to my eye balls. It SUCKS!

So when unexpected expenses pop up they totally throw me. This week each dog took a $200+ visit to the vet, thank god Gil paid for one of them. Now Miss P Garcia needs a pricey dental surgery and I am trying to chicken scratch together $1400.  If this were the first, second or third time that one of the furry butts needed expensive medical intervention I would be fine to leave the heavy lifting to Gil but the truth is he has done the lions share for a long time and I wanted to take care of this. I guess that is part of being in a true partnership. So I put on my big girl panties and I called the bank. Could I please get either a small loan or an increase to my PLC, just enough to cover the surgery?  I will give the guy some credit, he didn’t out and out laugh at me. After reviewing and crunching all my numbers they decided that what I needed was to consolidate. One loan to pay her baby girl’s operation and to pay off all my debt but the PLC will close and my credit card limit cut back.  The thing is I know that they are right, clearly they are right. Maybe this is help I need to dig myself out of this BUT it’s so humiliating. I just really thought I had a better handle on it. Gil could tell something was the matter so he took me to grab a burger, knowing of course that food equals love in my universe, which is how I found myself sitting in A&W sobbing in embarrassment as I confessed to my husband the I was a total financial failure. To HIS credit he also didn’t laugh at me. He just took my hand and told me that hardly anyone has it together when it comes to money, some people are just better at faking it. He assured me that he was neither angry nor disappointed and he just hoped that I was able to find the positive in the situation, which I will after I am done licking my wounds.

Doctor Meggy

 

WARNING!!! This girl talks about money in public! 

 

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A GIRL HAS TO DO WHAT A GIRL HAS TO DO!

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I think that the great Tom Petty said it best…

Well I know what’s right, I got just one life

in a world that keeps on pushin’ me around

but I’ll stand my ground, and I won’t back down

 

I like to think that my LENGTHY time in customer service I have become a better, more understanding, less demanding customer myself. That being said I have standards of customer care and service and I don’t like to compromise my standards. I have expectations and when those exceptions are met or exceeded I am the first one to give out praise, write a letter to a supervisors or fill out a survey. On the other hand when things fall short of my expectations I have learned to voice my displeasure.  I don’t want something for nothing, I know everything comes with a price and rules but I will not allow myself to be bullied or complacent.

When it comes to internet/telco/tv services there aren’t that many games in town so as consumers we put up with a lot. This week however at $275 phone-internet bill drove me right over the edge. My bundle is $88 a month, plus taxes, long distance, and incidentals, so why in gods name was my bill closer to $300?  Because I went past my usage cap, a cap that only exisits for certain customers, customers who pay extra like I do for faster high speed downloading.  The cap is totally arbitrary and useless; I know because someone who works for the company told me so. So today I called the company to see who to resolve this situation. I know that we spend a LOT of time online. There are three mostly grown up people living under this roof, countless internet access devices, heaps of Netflix. With my impending surgery I know there is going to be a lot more to come. And it’s not like I want something for nothing. I am more than willing to pay for service but it has to be good service and it can’t bleed me dry. Gil and I have been customers with this company for more than a decade I called with hope that kind of loyalty still means something. Apparently it doesn’t.  I would like to say that in past I have had pretty decent customer service from this company so I anticipated calling, pleading my case, playing a little bit of hard ball and eventually coming to a mutually beneficial conclusion. What I got was some guy who, if I were guessing, was working his last shift and didn’t give a rats ass about this company. I plead my case, I explained my frustrations and he pretty much gave me a phone shrug. When out right asked him what if anything could be done to prevent this from happening in future he told me he would remove the cap if I signed up for cable tv service. I explained to him we don’t have a TV that is why we use so much internet and he told me signing up for cable was the only way he would remove it. Of all the cheek!  When I broke out the big gun and said that if there was nothing that could be done I would be talking to their competition he said “Well you go ahead and do that!”.  What do you say at that point? I had played the big card and he was calling my bluff.  So I did the only thing I could, I politely ended the call and dialed the other guys. 

The other guys of course are happier than a pig in poop and more than will to capitulate to my every desire. They have one more notch on their belt today thanks to the total apathy of the company who I have been happily paying for the last 10 years.  I am sad that it came down to this in the end but if you make a big threat like that you have to be prepared to see it through or you will be walked all over. It a universal truth in business and in relationships and I am done being walked over.  I hope this new set up turns out for the best, I hope I am not shooting myself in the foot but I am proud for standing up as a consumer. Maybe if more people do the same companies will stop trying to the same stunts!

Why I Love Watching the World Cup – Thoughts From a BandWagon Jumper

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So I spent a large part of my day watching FIFA World Cup Soccer, or Football as the cool kids say. I am not a “soccer person” per se. Okay, I am not a soccer person period. I don’t have a team, I barely know the rules and I think the last time I played myself I was wearing a training bra. But once every few years I get totally jazzed for the World Cup. It’s not so unusual, it happens all the time, I mean have you ever spent an afternoon cheering for divers or ski jumpers during the Olympics? Are you a diver or ski jumper?

But what is it about World Cup soccer that does it for me?

1. The dudes. Oh dear GOD. I am sorry for objectifying these men but damn soccer players are so damn sexy!! I pick my team by looking at pictures of the team roster. That’s it, nice and simple. The team with the hottest players get my vote. Shallow? Yes. Fun? Absolutely!

2. I learn a lot. When I am watching I spend time looking up all kinds of information about the countries that are playing. The rules of soccer.  The history of the World Cup and the bio’s of the players. My spongy little brain is stuffed with brand new, exciting factoids.

3. It’s FUN! It’s nice to get swept up in something, to be a part of an event.

4. I really love watching how the soccer players interact with each other. It’s not a very brutish sport, at least not at this level. I see opposing team members helping each other up off the pitch, pat each other on the back mid game. Team mates are open and affectionate with each other. Sometimes you get a few pushing matches but it’s rare. It just seems more gentlemanly.

5. The sheer athleticism. These guys play for 90 gut busting minutes, pure cardio. They don’t have a bunch of breaks, most of them don’t get any rest on the bench and half time is a pittance. They guys have some serious game!

6. Have I mentioned just how sexy these guys are?!!

 

So I am going to enjoy the heck out of the next three weeks of world cup madness. I am going to try to watch every game Uruguay plays ’cause they won this years hotness pool. I am going to watch and cheer and ask tones of questions. I am going to jump up and down on my bandwagon until the shocks give out. Some people may look down on me for being a fair weather fan, that doesn’t bother me, I am happy to sit back with my cold beer and ogle the hot soccer players, I don’t need any better reason than they ones I’ve already given.

 

I mean REALLY!!! Will you look at these men?!

I mean REALLY!!! Will you look at these men?!

Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat. ~Fran Lebowitz

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day 13

 

Dudes. I have to be honest with you. I am just not a vegetarian.  The first few days weren’t so bad but as I got into summer weekend BBQ season … I am sorry but I just can’t  say no!! I like meat and with a burning case of moral outrage to spurn me on… I just can’t do it.  Maybe it is because I want to really enjoy summer before I have my operation and recovery but I just want to stuff as much summer into the next 5 weeks. Right now that means that my 12 in 12 this month is just not going to fly.  I don’t know what else I am going to do and I am not giving up for the whole year but… yeah, I am going to be BBQing burgers for dinner tomorrow night, and I am gointo to put bacon on them. Peace out homies!

Out of 6 billion humans, the troublemakers are just a handful. Dalai Lama

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The horror about what happened this week in Moncton isn’t how unimaginable this act of terror was, it’s how utterly IMAGINABLE it is.

Moncton isn’t some storied mid western American town that we couldn’t pick out on a map. It’s not an urban jungle, rife with crime and violence (which we seem to think is part and parcel with urban development, another rant for another day).

Moncton is Crystal Palace and Magnetic Hill.

Moncton is RIGHT there.

Moncton is the hospital where my father in law had his life saving surgery and we were still close enough to drive from the hospital to work that morning.

Moncton is where Gil and I met with caterers to talk about our wedding.

We know the streets and and sights and smells of Moncton.

Moncton is our neighbour!

This violence, this abhorrent act, it was not a sad head shake and a “What’s wrong down there in the States.”  This was people we know and love locked in bathrooms, cowering in basements. This was “if it could happen there is could happen anywhere, it could happen here”.

My heart breaks and aches and pounds high in my throat thinking of that community held hostage, those hours spent in fear and anguish.  My love and prayers and tears go out to those who lost their loved ones and those who lost their sense of safety.

My eyes sting with tears for fallen and wounded officers who died for nothing and for everything. They died doing their job, their sworn duty. My eyes sting because I know each day Greg and Trena and soon Eric too will put on the uniform and go out into the world to make it better, to make it safer and I cannot abide that someone could ever consider hurting them for doing something so noble.

My soul is wounded by this act of bloodshed. Tonight my doors are locked and the porch light is on; but my heart, it is full of love, for the people of Moncton, for anyone who has been touched by violence or tragedy, for all my community and human family. Because holding on to that love, that is how we keep our humanity and I am not letting anyone take that from me.

Apparently You Are Supposed To READ Food Labels!? Who Knew!

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So the first two days of June have been a big success. To be fair I put a lot of effort into planning this weeks meals, every meal is planned and the groceries already shopped. I would have been a great Boy Scout… Be Prepared!

Tonight on the way home I realized I needed to pick up a pie crust to my quiche. I make a MEAN quiche but I can’t for the life of me get pie crust down so I am content to cheat with a TenderCrust. I was in a hurry to get home so I flew into the store and grabbed the box I always do and just as I was turning away from the freezer a different box caught my eye, it said “All Vegetable Shortening”.

All Vegetable Shortening Deep Dish Pie Shells 9 inch 2pk

Sure enough the box I was going to buy had Lard listed a the second ingredient. It never would have occurred to me to check the label of a pie crust, NEVER.

So when I got home I started to do some research on products that have animal in them, what there super secret sneaky names are and then I made a list (oh yeah baby!)

It turns out my yogurt also has gelatin in it. Next time ’round I will try and find one without but for now I paid the money for what I have an I am not going to waste it. So it turns out that that grocery shopping is not as straight forward as steering clear of the butcher shop. This isn’t really a surprise but I am going to have to decide where my line in the sand is and then start reading before I buy.

June 6/12 – Bye Bye Bacon, See You Soon Chicken!

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When I was hatching my plans to do 12 in 12 the very first thing on my list was to go vegetarian for a month. Don’t get me wrong, I love meat and I don’t think that I could ever switch forever but vegetarianism is certainly something I have always been interested in. I have certainly had my share of exposure over the years, many of my close friends are or have been vegetarian.

So here is how it will break down for the next month.

1.I will be following a ovo-lacto vegetarian diet. Which means I will still be eating eggs and dairy but abstaining from eating any animal flesh with the exception of on meal a week which will include fish. I know this is not consider “true vegetarianism” in some circles but I refused to be pigeon holed by other peoples ideals.

2. I will try and educate myself in veggie issues. I have no moral stance about meat or meat eating but I will do some reading on the subject and share the process with you. I promise not to preach at all.

3. I will live like a vegetarian, which means learning to read labels to find hidden animal products and see what challenges vegetarians face eating out.

4. My husband is free to eat whatever he wants, I never force him to participate in my crazy ideas but I am only making one meal at dinner so if he wants meat he has to fend for himself.

5. I will eat try and eat as well rounded meals as I can. I know lots of vegetarians who eat crappy diets. PB&J for a month won’t cut it. I need meals that make me feel satisfied and healthy.

 

Ohai Veggies! Let's be friends!!!

Ohai Veggies! Let’s be friends!!!