Monday, June 28, 2010

Natty is...

Working away and spending some time with her hair before it gets lobbed off.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Are you listening Aliant?

If you've ever lived in the Maritime Provinces you probably already know that Aliant sucks. I won't bother to sugar coat it, they are incompetent as all get out. Call them NBTel, Aliant or Bell Aliant; it doesn't matter, they still suck. In fact, a google search for "Aliant sucks" comes back with 95,400 results while a search for "Bell Aliant" comes back with 223,000. Those are obviously not numbers to be proud of.

So, why do I personally believe know that Aliant is a poor excuse for a communications company? Do you have all day? No, neither do I. I'll just go with the latest and greatest. Dave and I moved about a month ago and as soon as we set our moving day we called Aliant to have our phone (billed to us) and our internet (billed to my employer) switched over to the new place. We anticipated possible issues with having the business internet connection moved but when we called we were assured that there were no problems at all and it was all set up and it would be X amount of dollars. That was easy! Fast forward to moving day and Dave is sitting at the new place waiting for them to show up. When they arrive they have a work order in hand to set up the phone, but no internet. He gets on his cell phone with Aliant to see if he can straighten things out while the employee was at our place but of course he was on hold too long for this to happen. When he finally did get through he was told that there was never a work order for the internet, it wouldn't be X amount of dollars, it would be $Z and that they couldn't do it until several days later. He was on hold for quite awhile and had to be put through to the business department but eventually he yelled his way into having it hooked up the next day. Aside from the service person repeatedly calling me Nicole, things were hooked up the next day without a hitch.

When the time passed that we would normally receive our phone bill I assumed that maybe because we had moved, so too had our billing period. A little more time passes and I began to question if we'd get one. And then I tracked the bill down online on Friday afternoon and the first thing I did was check the address. Yes, of course they are still sending our bill to our old address, you know, the one we don't live at anymore. Yes, the bill has hook-up fees for moving our services to a new address. Silly Aliant, you know we moved; you were among the first we called to let know and you were the FIRST to come visit us! Aside from that embarrassment, they were now billing us for the internet, late fees for the bill we did not pay because they did not send it to us and some questionable service fees. A $35.00 equipment charge? What equipment? Dave called to begin the process of straightening things out (because obviously it could never take just one phone call) and he managed to get the address changed (he had to give it to them again as they had no record of it whatsoever) and learned that we will have to have someone authorized to make changes on my workplace account call and have the internet switched back over to their bill (where it belongs and always was before). Dave said he would wait until next week while he was on vacation and at home (and able to yell) to finish straightening things out and since I was on my way into the office, I said I would get that part done. When I went into work I did as such and my nice co-worker who was to make the call said she'd do it after break. I left and later got an email from her saying that she did call but the person that she talked to said that I would have to be sitting beside her when she made the call to verify that I indeed want the internet billed to their account (as it was and always has been). Wait a minute, didn't we JUST DO THAT? So Monday or Tuesday I will drive across the river and stand beside my co-worker while she calls the worst phone company in the world to tell them that we want our billing back to exactly how it has been for the last nearly two years.

As I said, If you've ever lived in the Maritime Provinces you've surely experienced first hand just how terrible Aliant really is. And people are obviously talking about it, so my question is: what are they doing about it? If you know me even a little, you probably know that any time I'm considerably pleased or displeased about a product or service, I'll write a letter. Generally they are online feedback forms or emails but I've also been known to write my fair share of handwritten letters (and no, I don't mean hand-typed). Since Dave began working for a social media monitoring and engagement company I've had the pleasure of learning a bit about how the software works and how companies can (and do) use it to monitor what people are saying about them, and more importantly to do something about it. In the time since I've learned how Radian6 and other listening software companies work, it has made me consider new avenues of making myself heard as a consumer and wonder if there are times that my voice is being heard without my realizing it. And for the clients taking advantage of these softwares, it is a huge step in finding out what people are saying about your brand and using that information accordingly. The big catch is that the corporation actually has to take advantage of these tools in order for this all to work. And they have to care to know what their customers think. And they have to do something about all of it. And for a company like Aliant, my guess is that it may be awhile. Because after all, if you aren't listening, you'll never hear a thing. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday Saturday....

The other day when David and I were roaming through the mall, killing time until our movie we saw a sign that was showing what it is supposed to look like after its 13 million dollar face lift (we're not impressed so far). Anyway, they had photoshopped celebrities into the scene. Apparently, if you invest 13 million dollars into the Regent Mall, Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake will come to shop. At least that's the plan.... Sadly, the picture is not on their website. I sure hope they renovate their logo.......

Horsing around today was fun. Gail is having me do so many different things and as a result I am learning a lot very quickly. Nothing like diving in head first! One of the most interesting experiences was when we were (free) longeing the two younger ones and I had never done it before and Toby was a little wound up and ended up going a little wild at one point. It ended fine though. I'm looking forward to trying it again now that I have the first time under my belt. It was a weird sensation though. I've watched Gail and Dawn longe the horses before but watching and doing are two completely different things. I am standing in the center of the circular pen and he is running in circles on the perimeter, with me keeping my eye on him the whole time, spinning the circle with him and giving commands as I go with my arms (you use a whip but just as an extension of your arm). Anyway, as you spin as the horse circles, everything in the background starts to blur and it really feels like it's just you and the horse. It was a very strange sensation. We did a bunch more groundwork with them and then took them for a walk across the road and down a long dead-end road that leads to a field where we let them graze for a bit and then headed back. It was a really nice morning. I think tomorrow I am going to hit the Appaloosa Horse Show at the exhibition grounds. Should be interesting....

In other news, I have been wearing my rubber boots when I go out riding, and the cheapies I've been sporting aren't going to cut it for long. They fit when I put them on but end up starting to squeeze my feet after a bit, my feet sweat more than is probably natural and after the long walk we went on today, I had blisters forming. Suffice it to say that they need to be replaced. Now, I don't support the movement towards people wearing expensive Wellies for fashion but I was curious as to just how superior they are to the ordinary cheapies. When I was in Montreal these Hunter ones caught my eye. And I'm still rather smitten with them. And I want them. And I see nothing wrong with having an expensive pair of Wellies if you use them for the purpose they were intended. :)

And I'm off to do all those things I vowed I would do today and haven't....

This and That: The Headache Edition.

So when I posted about those roofers earlier, it was annoying, but mostly laughable. But then they were there ALL DAY and they got noisier and more annoying throughout and then around noontime the honking of a truck horn started, and continued for the next hour and a half. And then I called the cops. Okay, no I didn't. But I was tempted and am considering this their get out of jail free card. I'm calling next time. End. Of. Story. Thankfully, I had to go into the office late in the afternoon and I noticed as I did how tense I was in the neck and shoulders. I guess being irked for most of the day by the neighbours caused me to tense up without realizing it. Before I left I thought to check in on the case of the missing phone bill and behold more tension and annoyance (I won't get into the details as Aliant's incompetencies deserve their own post entirely).

I headed over town and went to work and ran a few errands. Home for about two seconds before I headed to meet my Mom and Dad and Aunt for a going away dinner for my Aunt that is moving to Manitoba to live nearer her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren. So while sending her off shouldn't necessarily be a happy occasion, it shouldn't be an entirely awkward one either. I will just say that my parents insisting on paying for her meal for some reason got her in a huff and she ended up getting mad and ended up taking off for the car before anyone else and she was all angry or something and then when I went to say bye to her she was being all snarky and sarcastic with me. It was rather upsetting really. I am going to chalk it up to stress and nerve medication. But the very very naughty side of me is also thinking that she managed to turn a farewell meal into a good riddance dinner. Apparently she gave my parents the silent treatment the rest of the way home. Dad said, "18 more hours". At this point I would also like to add that my parents are the only relatives she has in this city that she speaks to and they take her to get groceries, they bring her to their house for all holiday and birthday celebrations, they have recently put their kitchen renovation on hold to haul car load after car load of her belongings around, and for the last few days she has been staying with them so she could have her apartment emptied and ready to go. Anyway, not the nicest note to end on but what can you do.

After that debacle, I headed over to pick up an antique (or old at least) oak wooden office chair that I bought from some lady on the cheap. I'm going to sand and paint it and make or buy a cushion for it. See, I told you I'm already working on my office makeover. I popped in the house long enough to turn around and walk back out and headed out to pick up a couple new sets of blinds for the bedroom. I would like to gather up all of the cheap roller blinds in the world and torch them. Anxiety. The ones in our bedroom are crap and will never go down when you want them to and will never go up when you want them to. And when they finally give in, they give in with such gusto that they fly wildly out of their brackets and through the air. Next time they fly it will be into a dark corner of the basement.

I ended my day trying to figure out how to adjust my new old chair and ended up with black stuff all over my hands and the kitchen floor. It's okay, it needs a mopping anyway. Anyhow, just when I thought it was stuck 6 inches off of the ground, I unstuck it. Happy Ending. It's a good thing though that all the screws appear to be tight on it because I took out some screwdrivers and none of the tips seemed to fit which makes me think that maybe they weren't a standarized size, at least by today's standards. Most of the heads were those star ones (no, not phillips but the uncommon 6-pointed star (star of David) ones). And, embarrassed that I completed two of four carpentry blocks and don't know the name of them, I've looked it up and it appears they are called Torx. I feel better actually because I've never heard that in my life so I didn't just forget. And I've learned something new. And maybe so have you.

Tomorrow I will be doing ground work with the two younger horses in the morning. And then I'll be coming home to sand and put the last coat of poly on the headboard I built. If all goes as planned that sucker should be bolted to the bed frame on Sunday. I also want to work on the bedroom curtains I'm sewing, put up the new blinds I just bought, prime the office chair and maybe even accomplish some gardening. I'd like to also take some photographs of flowers in our yard for a little project I want to do.

This post was rather random but it has served its purpose: decompress, de-stress and then go to sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Natty is...

...listening to a bunch of loud and obnoxious roofers next door getting ready to go out on a job and smelling as the sweet smell of their pre-roofing reefer wafts its way into my window.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Making things pretty...

Home improvements. I have more ideas than I have time, money or energy. Nevertheless, things are slowly but surely coming together. I am planning on trying to finish getting the bedroom set up in the next couple weeks. I've built a new headboard (and I'm kind of in love with it!) and am just waiting for the weather to cooperate so I can put another coat of clear coat on it and pull the room together. I'm already dreaming and scheming about revamping my office space and I'm dreaming big. Working from home in our last place sometimes felt a little like living in a dungeon and now that I have a nice bright corner to call home, I plan on making it somewhere I want to spend time. Speaking of which, now that I've grown accustomed to having my own office space at home, I don't think I'll ever want to go back to not having one, even after I'm back out in the real world where bathrobes and down-filled booties are not considered appropriate work attire. Now I just need to start planning. Wouldn't something like this be nice?

Okay, so maybe this is a little too nice for someone who makes a habit out of eating chips and popcorn and cookies at her desk but I'm sure I'll find a happy medium. :)


Yesterday I was at the Provincial Archives retrieving legal decisions. They were doing construction right outside of the building and as I stood at the photocopier I could feel rumbling and shaking in the floor, the walls and ceilings, in fact the whole building was shaking. It was a strange sensation. I thought to myself, 'so this is what it feels like to live in an earthquake zone'.

When I got into my car, I heard on the radio that Ontario had suffered an earthquake that was felt in our area. So was it construction, the quake or both? Guess I'll never know for sure....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Honesty and Hamburgers

Today as I was returning a movie to Blockbuster (Sherlock Holmes; enjoyed it), I decided to run through the Wendy's drive-thru. Even though we have been in the new place for almost three weeks, we still haven't done a proper grocery run. Yikes. Anyway, I ordered what I refer to as a big kid's meal which is essentially bigger than a kid's meal but smaller than a regular meal and the person asked me if I would like it, "small, medium or large?" to which I replied, "small" as I thought that that was the right answer. Anyway, when I pulled up to the window to pay I noticed that the total was larger than it should have been. I clarified what I'd ordered to the guy working and he fixed the problem. Essentially, because I answered, "small" I had unknowingly upsized my meal. First off, why would they offer to upsize a junior meal? Why wouldn't I just order the bigger meal?! And secondly, the girl gave me the options, "small, medium or large". I guess I was supposed to answer, "as is". I made a comment to the guy taking my money that the size options are confusing. He said matter-of-factly, "Yeah, I know. They do that on purpose to get more money out of people." How's that for honesty. And the funny part is, it's obviously, transparently true. I realize that he's not supposed to say it to the customers but why not? Isn't honestly always the best policy? Do the corporate Wendy's folks think they are fooling anyone? Surely Dave Thomas would not approve. In the end, they ended up screwing up my order. That didn't matter. I enjoyed my little serving of Wendy's employee brutal honestly too much to mind.

*** And a quick search of "Wendy's small medium large" has uncovered lots of similar (albeit often angrier) rants about Wendy's confusing size structure.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

This weekend I did not do everything I said I would. I did however work my ass off and get A LOT done. And I had a little fun too. And I guess that is what weeknights are for; getting the things done that you didn't have time for on the weekend. I'm tired and scratched and bruised and bug-bitten and sap-covered and sore, but HAPPY.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tonight I got this sander for $20. This excites me.

This weekend I will: Celebrate the return of a friend, Build a Fence, Horseback Ride, Remember a friend that's no longer here, Raise Money for a good cause, Spend time with fun people, Build, Sand and Stain a headboard, Crackfill and Sand walls, Spend time with my precious little puppy, and hopefully Relax a little bit.

Or maybe I'll just sleep.....

Monday, June 7, 2010

I'm Back. Again.

I'm not back with pictures of the new house as it slowly gets set up and becomes home. I'm not even back with photos, recaps or stories from Montreal. Nothing about progress on Mum and Dad's kitchen and not even highlights of Dave's Birthday weekend celebrations. Nope. What struck me so interesting that I needed to drop the daydreams of putting a fresh coat of paint on the trim in the sunroom, mentally calculating how much 1 x 2 I need for shelf ledgers in the mudroom and inspired me to abandon the empty garbage and recycling bins calling from the curb? A banner ad that at first glance I thought was a fake. I'm pretty sure it was the tagline, "The coolest you'll look pooping your pants".

Huggies Jeans Diapers. Behold:

I won't bother talking about how ridiculous these are. Or how it is just a bunch of unhealthy dye and chemicals. I won't even bother touching on the fact that the commercial works hard to sexualize babies. I'll just highlight the pooptastic word play:

"My diaper is full ... full of chic!"
"When it's a number two, I look like number one"
"I poo in blue!"

There is nothing left to say.