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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Home Office Issues

I've had issues with my home office since I moved to Georgia. Actually, it might have started in Minnesota. I bought a desk when I moved into my new house up there that I hated from the first week I started using it. Everything else, though, was okay. And then I moved.

Sadly, I never actually put everything away in my office once I moved. Oh, I kept meaning to do it, but weeks slipped into months and then into years. And because the office was already a disaster, I just dumped more crap in there--mail, catalogs, magazines, receipts, etc. This made the problem grow bigger and bigger. I usually had a messy office in Minneapolis, but it never looked as bad as it did in Atlanta.

And then I moved. I meant to clean out the office before the day everything go hauled to the new house, but I didn't for a couple of reasons.

Now I have a new office in a new house with the same old issue--too much crap that needs to be sorted through and either scanned or thrown away. I did do one thing, though, that I feel good about. I donated the desk that I hated more and more every day! Yea! That necessitated a hunt for a new desk, one I could live with for a long time to come. This wasn't easy.

I started with Overstock and Wayfair and then went to Pottery Barn's website and continued in that vein for a while until I realized that every single desk I was seeing online so far was going to give me the same issues that I had with the desk that I donated. It was time to think outside the box.

The good news is that I did find a desk system that I think will work for me at the Container Store. The bad news is it's Elfa which costs the freaking moon. OMG! I wanted to do the supply closet and the desk, but the closet was almost as much as the desk and I was like, uh, yeah, no. I couldn't justify the expense. I'm actually having a hard time with the price of the desk, too, but I've decided that it's smarter to buy something that can work for me and not buy something cheap that 1) doesn't work well and 2) I dislike from day 1.

Because of the cost, I was waiting for the big Elfa sale which I heard happened after Christmas each year. This year it popped up in my email about four days before Christmas. I jumped on this and ordered my desk. Now I just have to wait. I'll post pictures once I have it installed.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Sand Vampires

One thing that happened at the conference, and continued to haunt me for a while afterward, happened on the beach.

I arrived at the conference early, and on the first day, I headed toward the beach. I was wearing tennis shoes, but I decided to walk on the sand anyway only to discover that my shoes had tiny holes and sand filled them. Especially the left shoe.

That had me turning around and heading back to the concrete. I took off the shoes, shook them out, and put them back on. I spent the rest of the day sitting at a table on the patio, looking at the ocean while I made notes on one of my story ideas. It was windy as heck. Actually, it was terribly windy the entire week of the conference, which made it miserable to spend time outside.

I didn't think anything more about the sand in my shoes until a few days later when right above my socks, I had a strip of red on my skin. It didn't feel like bites, so I thought sunburn, but I couldn't figure out how I'd gotten sunburned when I'd been inside at the conference for two days by then.

Every day I had that red strip over my sock on the left side and I began to suspect something was biting me. I hadn't felt anything, but that's what it had to be. I just didn't know--yet--where the bites were originating.

I began to suspect my shoes around the same time I left Florida. I switched to a different pair of shoes while I was moving and all my other shoes were packed--except for the tennis shoes I'd worn on the beach in Florida. The red strip began to fade and I was certain my shoes were to blame. Before my dryer was unhooked at my old house, I threw my shoes inside and set it hot. I let it run for an hour.

The new tennis shoes I was wearing, though, rubbed my foot wrong and after a couple of days, my feet hurt. Sure that the heat had killed all the sand vampires in the first pair of shoes, I switched back the night we moved into the new house. We ran and picked up dinner late, then fell into bed.

The next morning, the strip of red was bigger and brighter than it had been and now I had a few bites on my right leg too, right above my ankle socks. Grrr.

Now there was no doubt the shoes were to blame. It had to have been something in the sand at the beach. I did online searches, but nothing I turned up sounded exactly right for my situation. I talked to people I worked with who were from Florida and they didn't know what it could be either.

I was tempted to just throw those tennis shoes out, but I couldn't. You see, these were my favorite shoes in the whole world  (Skechers GoMeb Strada 2) and they don't make them anymore. This pair filled with sand vampires was literally the last one in my size I could find anywhere on the internet. There was nothing wrong with them except for the bloodsucking fiends inside them.

But, I thought, they're Florida sand vampires. What kills bugs faster than anything else? Cold! Minnesota doesn't have the wealth and size of bugs that Florida or Georgia have because the frigid cold for months on end kills them off. Taking my shoes to Minnesota wasn't an option, but I have an extra upright freezer--that's Minnesota cold. I put my tennis shoes inside. I'm not sure when I'll take them out.

Yes, they're still inside from mid-October. I just don't want to get bitten again and I don't know of those things are dead yet or not. I'm thinking about taking them out and spraying the shoes with rubbing alcohol. I'll post an update if something interesting happens on the shoe front.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Conference Timing

At the start of this run of posts about moving and jury duty, I mentioned that October had been a super busy month. It started with a writers conference.

At the start of the year when I made my reservations for the conference, I had no plans to move. When I bought my airplane ticket, we were looking at homes, but hadn't found anything and what were the odds that we'd be moving at the same time as the conference? I bought a non-refundable ticket.

As it turned out, the odds of moving at the same time as the conference were 100%.


My writing buddy was supposed to attend with me, but she had to cancel because of deadlines for her next book. I understood because I'd cancelled out of a conference for the same reason while I was working on IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR. It would be fine. I'd meet new people and make some more writing friends.

Sadly, that's not what happened. I've never been to a conference that felt so cliquish before in my life. I didn't make any friends and no one really wanted to talk to me. It wasn't until the last night of the conference that that changed, but by then... Anyway, I think I spent more time talking to hotel employees than I did to other writers. The hotel people were friendly and welcoming and seemed to enjoy our conversations.

There were a lot of good workshops at the conference, though, and that made up for the cliques. I came back fired up to get some writing done, but immediately had to start in on the move. I came home on a Monday and we started moving stuff to the new house that evening. From there on out, it was non-stop move, move, move. And you've heard a lot of stories about that for the past couple of months, so I'll leave it there.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Holes In My Walls

I'll try to make this my last story about my move to a new house.

When I looked at this house, it was immaculate. That was one of the big reasons we decided to buy it--everything was pristine. It also saved me from the anxiety of building, which I really didn't want to do if I could avoid it. The woman lived alone and was hyper-organized. My OCD self said, ooh, another OCD neat and clean person. This is great.

We put an offer in on the house. All the inspections passed with flying colors.

And then came the walk through. Her stuff was in boxes everywhere, so it was hard to see everything, but the house didn't look as pristine as it had the day we'd looked at it. I noticed some cobwebs. Maybe she's just been too busy to clean, I thought.

We go upstairs on the walk through. There's dog poop on the carpet. Our Realtor says that the woman probably didn't know it was there and that she'd be mortified and probably get the carpets cleaned before we moved in. And I thought the same thing at that point because I still believed this woman shared my OCD about things being clean.

And then we got possession of the house and I was appalled. She took her TV holders from the walls and left the holes! That's right, my new house has multiple holes in TWO WALLS because she took her TV racks or whatever they're called. My Realtor was appalled. The seller was also a Realtor and she should have known (said my Realtor) that anything attached to the walls must stay. I was going to write that the seller took everything that wasn't nailed down, but that's not exactly true. She took stuff that was nailed down, too (The TV holders). She even took the shower rods!

The cobwebs remained. There were some really thick ones near the bathroom window in the master bath, in the corners of the master bedroom, and in the hallway to the master bedroom. There were lighter spider webs adorning most of the light fixtures in the house.

One other thing, she was supposed to pay me rent for the two extra days she stayed in the house. She did not leave a check or contact my Realtor to pay that money. The cost to repair to two walls she left holes in? Exactly matches what she owes me for the two days of rent. I'm still pissed off about this.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

The Saga Continues

This is sort of another moving post. I promised I had a lot to say about this and I wasn't lying. :-) I say sort of another moving post because while I believe it's directly related to the move, I can't prove it. Circumstantial evidence is strong, though.

On Wednesday, I used my credit card to pay the packers for loading our stuff into boxes. It was called in over the phone to the office. The move itself was paid for by check because the office was closed by the time the move was finished, but that ended up being a good thing because that following Monday, I received a phone call from my credit card company (Luckily, I left my phone working at my former house and luckily I happened to be at that house when the call came). They'd noticed several suspicious charges and wanted to know if I'd used my card at a department store.

Not just no, but hell no.

I get transferred to a representative. In India. He cancels my credit card, issues a new one, and says I will be emailed with what I need to do about the other 6 fraudulent charges on my card.

No email comes, and since he was difficult to understand, I thought perhaps he meant US Mail, but when Saturday came and went without a letter, I went back to my old house and used the phone. Yes, while all this is going on, I still have no phone or internet in my new home.

This time I get a woman in India who doesn't understand what I'm telling her until the fourth time I explained to her that my credit card number had been stolen. Then she tells me the first guy I talked to had done everything wrong aside from cancelling my old credit card, but that she couldn't help me. I needed to talk to the security department and they don't work on the weekends. I need to call back on Monday. She gives me their direct number.

I call the security department on Monday from my day job. The woman I speak with is in India. She doesn't understand what I'm telling her until the second time I explain that my credit card number was stolen. She works in the security department and this is her job! She didn't seem to take the situation very seriously or care very much.

I read off the six fraudulent charges with amounts and she says they'll come off my account. I'm not left with a very confident feeling about her handling of this problem.

A week later, only three of the charges have come off my account. I Google to find out how to talk to a representative in the United States. I find a number on their website for the security department that's different from the one I already had. I call that and I do get a US person.

Things went much more smoothly this time. She discovered that the woman in India only recorded five of the fraudulent charges even though I told her multiple times that there were six.

But after this phone call, everything was resolved. This experience did not leave me with the warm fuzzies for the credit card company in question. If they're going to outsource, they should train their people better. This was an ordeal that came at a super bad time and it was made more difficult by the lack of phone and internet.

My chief suspect in the theft of my credit card number? The moving company. The charges began the day after I gave them my number to pay for the packing and all the charges were in Georgia. Like I said, I can't prove anything, but it's pretty coincidental to believe it was someone else.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

No Cable For You

I'm trying something new here. I've recorded what I wrote in this blog. Mostly. It's not exact. If you like it, head over to my Facebook page and let me know. If you don't like this, let me know that as well. If it doesn't work, I'm sorry and I don't know how to make it work. This is a test. :-)

Four and a half years ago when I moved into my former house, I waited too long to call Comcast and ended up not having television, internet or phone for two weeks. This time I was determined that I would call them early and arrange everything so that I didn't have a gap. My appointment was made for the afternoon of the day we moved.

Then came the phone call.

Two days before the move, the department that was sending the technician called to confirm. They had the wrong address. I corrected him. He said I'd have to call to a representative and that he'd have the one who made the appointment call me.

Hours later, she finally did. Comcast doesn't service my new address, she said. I said yes, you do. I can see the Comcast box in a yard three houses away. She put in a ticket and said she'd call me the next day.

No call, so I called them. While the packers were working.

I talked to a super nice guy, who said he needed to put in a different ticket than the one the lady put in the day before. He said he'd call me back the next day. I received no call, and since that was moving day and chaos reigned, I didn't call them on that Thursday.

Friday, I use my cell phone and call. The woman I talked to said I wasn't in Comcast's area, I was in Spectrum's area. I'm like, but I can see the Comcast box three houses away and she said that it works that way sometimes. At this point, I'm just like whatever, let me call Spectrum because I need internet and telephone and yes, television.

Spectrum said, "You're not in our area, you're in Comcast's area."

I call Comcast back. This guy I talk with actually checks the tickets that were put in on Tuesday and Wednesday. The report: I am in Comcast's area, but I'm more than 150 feet away from some box or module or something and therefore I can't have Comcast.

And so I ended up having to get DirecTV. The earliest appointment I could get for installation? Two weeks away. Yes, once again I moved and spent the next two weeks with no internet, television, or phone despite the fact that I did my level best to avoid this situation. But wait, it gets better.

One month after the move, two weeks after I'm installed with DirecTV and committed for two years, my dad notices they're digging holes out in the yard and in the yards of some neighbors. He goes out to ask them what's going on. The work is being done on behalf of Comcast--they're finally wiring phase two of the subdivision for cable.

I like to believe that I'm directly responsible for this, however, it won't benefit me until 2019 when I can go back to Comcast. And yes, at this point, I most definitely plan to go back to cable. While the picture on the TV is clearer with dish, that's about the only thing that I like better.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Christmas Scent

I'm trying something new here and will be testing this several more times in the future. This is my audio blog attempt. If you like it, head over to my Facebook page and let me know. If you don't like this, let me know that as well. If it doesn't work, I'm sorry and I don't know how to make it work. This is a test. :-)