Thursday, December 21, 2006

Yes, Virginia, it IS a blizzard in Colorado

I am currently sitting in my apartment for the umpteenth hour since arriving home yesterday in preparation for the Blizzard of 2006. We'd been getting news reports for a few days ahead of time indicating that there would be a lot of snow. Of course, we all know that weathercasters are the world's highest-paid palm readers. Except this time. This time they ended up being right. And of course, this is the one day every 4 years or so that they live for - the single day that they are RIGHT.

I woke up at about 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning to wet roads. About a half hour later, there was an inch of snow on the ground and the snow wasn't falling down to the ground, but instead, blowing sideways. I seriously debated even bothering to go into work, but being the new girl in the department, I didn't want to show any signs of weakness. So, trek in I did, up and over the Cherry Creek Dam Road (why this was even open, I'll never understand). Wisely, I topped off the gas tank in the freezing wind on the way in - this is important later.

Work is surprisingly functional considering all of the windows and the opportunity for everyone to pine for their warm beds and fireplaces at home, or dream of fluffy ski slopes yet to be realized. Then, the snow starts falling even harder and it becomes difficult to make out the cars trying to go by on the highway 100 feet from our windows. It's getting pretty obvious that this storm is for real. So, I decide that I am going to finish up a couple of important things, and then head for home. Til I remember that I have a meeting at 9:00 to help someone upload documents to an internal website. Did I mention that she was in NO WAY prepared for the meeting. And that I had to wait around for her to finish meeting agendas, rename documents, yadda, yadda, yadda, all the while getting a phone call from family saying "quit if you have to, but get home now." Apparently this is serious stuff.

My employer finally decided to shut down at 11:00, which is fine, except that means that about 2500 people are going to be trying to leave all at once. Driving was incredibly trecherous and took about twice as long as a normal commute - but, I got home!! Much better than a lot of other people. Or so I'm told. The worst part of the drive? Trying to pull into my garage! I have to do a couple of awkward turns to get into it, and on a good day I occasionally pull in too far to one side or the other. Yesterday, there was about 10 inches of snow to navigate through. I almost dented the side of the car, but made it in safely. Of course, all of the snow then fell into the garage, covering the sensors, which then wouldn't allow the door to close. Did I mention that I don't own a shovel? Yeah, moving that snow was an adventure.

And so, the snow-in began. Not too bad - giving me the opportunity to finish decorating my house (I've had a nekkid tree in my living room for a week now) and get caught up on laundry. How the hell does that get so out of control all of the time? But, now I am into Day 2 of being snowed in and I'm getting a bit restless. Not because I NEED to go anywhere - work shut down today as well, but because I hate being forced to do anything. Or, in this case, forced to not do things.

Aurora has reported snow of about 25 inches and now my fear is that I won't be able to get in to work tomorrow. Because I don't own a shovel. And now I have to debate whether I want to walk to the grocery store to see if they have any. Nevermind. I just called them and they are sold out of shovels. Of course.

So, it is with mixed emotions that I might be snowed in for yet another day tomorrow. Not that I mind just hanging out, reading and baking cookies.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Freak Flag

I sent an email to a friend earlier, asking about a magazine subscription that I had bought from her daughter a little while back. Haven't received an issue yet, but I also can't remember the time frame that they gave for when the first one will start.

That goofy little email got me thinking about my incredibly ecclectic assortment of magazine subscriptions and how you can really get to know someone based on what they subscribe to. So, here's a little more about me, my "freak flag", if you will, based on my magazines:

1. Cosmo - the woman's bible (and a tax write-off from here on out!)
2. Creating Keepsakes - gotta stay current with the trends - even though I hardly read it.
3. Kiplinger's Financial - I need to get my financial house in order. And it's starting to work!
4. Money Magazine - I need to learn as much as possible, clearly.
5. Consumer Reports - Hey, I'm a woman, and technically we don't care about money, we care about the things that money can buy us, so I might as well be buying the good stuff, right?
6. Time Magazine - because I'm a poli-sci minor and we're supposed to subscribe to this. Actually, I'd prefer to get The Economist, but it's too dang expensive!
7. The Historian - it's techically a book that comes out every quarter with historical articles written by members of Phi Alpha Theta, the honor society for history majors (which I am actually a member of!!).
8. Better Homes and Gardens - I don't even know why I get this - probably because it was cheap.
9. Martha Stewart Living - this one occasionally has a neat idea or two.

That's all I can remember off the top of my head. I'm sure there are more. Notice that there aren't any health magazines? Or food magazines? Maybe that's a clue as to why those to areas of my life are seriously lacking right now. Hmmm. Off to look for and exercise magazine. Any good cooking mags out there? That use normal ingredients?

Rental Life

OK - so I know that I am constantly hating the fact that I only rent and don't have a mortgage of my own. Yet. But there are certainly a few perks to this lifestyle. The main one being that in the even that anything breaks down, I just call someone else and they come and take care of it.

For example - my thermostat will not keep the heat at a human temperature. Don't know why. Don't care. I have the thing set at 79. It still hovers around 60. So, I call and the maintenance maid comes out and tells me that occasionally air bubbles get into the system and so it doesn't work properly. OK fine, just fix it.

Then, this morning, no hot water. None. So, no shower for me - and I can't tell you how icky I've felt all day. I could have run to the gym and showered, but I was running out of time and was going to be late for work. Now I know better than to not doing morning chores in their proper order. If I'd have just gotten in the shower as soon as I woke up, I would have known about this issue and could have gone to the gym. But no - I've developed a terrible habit of doing everything else in the morning first, then rushing to shower and get out the door on time. No more - need to get back into the good habits and out of the bad ones.

So, I had to have maintenance come again to fix that problem. Now I'm waiting for the water to heat up so I can shower. And then probably just go to bed, since I'm so dang tired from dealing with shipping companies today.


OMG - where to even begin on this nightmare!!! I have been having the worst time with receiving shipments from corporate. Incompetent drivers. The worst customer service. No one to help. None of them care.

Things seem to go fine for a while. I get shipments on time, according to their "tracking" system. The boxes arrive in beautiful condition.

Then it all goes to HELL!! This is what I have been dealing with lately. Boxes that don't show up when they are supposed to - and when you call their 800 number, they have to "send a message" to the distribution center and then "someone will call you back within 60 minutes". YEAH RIGHT!! Never happens. I have been known to sit on the phone for HOURS waiting for someone with half a brain to get me information on a package. Does it ever happen? NOPE!!

I love it when the tracking system says that the package has been delivered and signed for - yet - I HAVE NO PACKAGE IN MY HANDS. How is that even possible? "Well, I'm sorry, but there's nothing more that we can do for you, as it clearly indicates that the package has been delivered and signed for. We no longer have any liability for the shipment." Are you KIDDING me?!?!? I HAVE NO PACKAGE.

So, to try and solve the issue with the terrible drivers, I start having my packages held at the distribution center. This will be much easier. I will just go and pick up the packages and circumvent the drivers all together. WHATEVER!! I had the tracking information indicating that the box was in the same building as I was standing. Yet, the box couldn't be found. I was there for over an HOUR, trying to reason with people. They made me call the 800 number, FROM THE DISTRIBUTION CENTER, so that then I could be placed ON HOLD, while they called the exact same place where I was standing!!!! I'm not even remotely kidding - I was on hold on one side of the room, while one of the employees was on the phone with the customer service center on the other side of the room. HOLY CRAP!!! But, they still couldn't find the stupid box. WHY? Because no one was willing to just go look for the stupid thing!! They kept just looking at their computers. And saying that there was nothing that could be done.

I FINALLY convinced the kid working the counter to go and find someone who would just LOOK AROUND for it. He came back up to the front and said that the dock manager was just getting out of a meeting and to give him 10 minutes to look around the warehouse.

Well - what do you know - about 15 minutes later, here comes the dock manager. WITH MY BOX. Now, why couldn't someone else have just looked around the place an hour ago? WHY? WHY? WHY?

I don't even have a choice in using them - SP is the one that contracts with the shipper. Oh, and while I was at the distribution center, the kid behind the counter let it slip that UPS uses FedEX for its own shipping!! They don't even trust themselves enough to get things where they are supposed to be!!

Here's the kicker - I was venting to my dad and he reminded me that my cousin has worked for UPS for about 25 years and that he is a high-level manager at corporate. Guess who's getting an email from me tonight? Yep. If nothing else, he can give me options on how to handle this situation going forward. Whether he can actually do anything specific for me, I have no idea. But it's certainly worth sending him a little electronic hello!