Saturday, April 28, 2012

A CAMERA, A CAT & TUNA


WAKE UP DARA.
I'm GOING to TAKE your PICTURE.


"LEAVE ME ALONE."
COME ON. SAY CHEESE.

"WHAT PART OF THE WORD NO
DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND."

"YOU'RE NOT PAPARAZZI, MOM. 
NO PICTURES.

TURN THAT CAMERA OFF."
"DID YOU SAY TUNA?
YOU HAVE TUNA."


"I'M POSING. TAKE THE PICTURE.
NOW FEED ME. I'M HUNGRY."



Saturday, April 21, 2012

VINES GONE WILD

I love going for spontaneous drives out and about. You see the most interesting things along the way.  But with gas prices continuing to climb, we are doing less of it. And, that saddens me.  Things change and we learn to make the best of it, I suppose. I could show you a montage of photographs I’ve accumulated along the way, as we've driven here or there. BUT instead I’ve decided to focus on just TWO. I’ll save the others for another time. Because of our mobility and health issues, our yard and house is NOT in the best shape. So I do NOT sit in judgement of others that have issues maintaining their property. However... I found this particular  house, we discovered on a recent drive... CURIOUS, to say the least. I had to sit and ponder it a while. If those walls could talk, what story would they tell ? There is something quite CHARMING about it, in my mind. SAD too. What do you think of this little house where VINES have gone WILD? 

CLICK ON PHOTOS
TO ENLARGE THEM
FOR A BETTER LOOK

Saturday, April 14, 2012

PROMOTION, AMERICAN GREETINGS & KMART

The week before Easter, my husband and I decided to head out of town to visit a lake we love. We had a marvelous time trying to photograph any ducks, gulls, and herons playing at the water’s edge... along with anything else deemed interesting. After we spent the day there, we stopped by the local KMART to pick up some holiday placemats and greeting cards.  My husband stayed in the car. I went inside. This particular store seemed bigger, brighter, and cleaner than the one at home, so my first impression was favorable.  I scouted out the items on my list. As I was getting ready to leave the card aisle, I noticed an ADORABLE stuffed Bunny Rabbit holding a Carrot. On its ear was a TAG. It read… AMERICAN GREETINGS, PLUSH BUNNY, FREE with ANY three card purchase. Offer good on cards priced $1.99 or greater. Retail value $5.99. I only had TWO cards in my hand. I wanted the BUNNY, so I looked for ANOTHER card. Back at Halloween, I had gotten a light-up Jack O Lantern for my grandchildren the same way. I LOVE Greeting Card promotions. When I had the final card in hand, I headed up to the cashier. I was so-oo excited about the stuffed Bunny with the Carrot.  I told the cashier that the BUNNY was FREE with the cards. He didn’t believe me. I showed him the TAG on its ear. Then he said, “I think you have to be a KMART REWARDS member to get it FREE. Do you want to sign up to become a REWARDS member?” I politely told him, “NO.”  And pointed out that it was an AMERICAN GREETINGS promotion, not a KMART one. Nowhere by the card display, or on the Bunny Rabbit, did it say I HAD to be a KMART REWARDS member to get it for FREE. He then asked another cashier. She agreed with him, that I had to be a KMART REWARDS member.  I was getting irritated. I usually do NOT shop at KMART, and for them to INSIST that I become a REWARDS member, to get this FREE Bunny that AMERICAN GREETINGS was giving away was ridiculous. I did NOT have to sign up for anything when I got the JACK O LANTERN at MEIJER’S in Autumn of 2011. I again pointed to the tag on its ear. He told me, to prove his point, he would try to ring it through, after he rang up the cards.  The BUNNY rang up $5.99. So... he felt exonerated. I did not BUDGE my position. It clearly said it was FREE with the 3 card purchase. I didn’t care what the KMART register rang up. I asked to speak to the manager. At this point the people in line behind me were getting upset.  I didn’t intend to make a scene; I just wanted what was rightfully mine. Without hesitation the manager backed up the cashier. She informed me, it was KMART company policy, and I had to be a KMART REWARDS member to get the FREE AMERICAN GREETINGS Bunny.  I insisted that I did NOT and for the hundredth time, pointed out it did NOT say that anywhere near the display or on the Bunny Rabbit's TAG.  She just smiled, restated her KMART mantra and walked away. I wanted to CRY but held back the tears. I told the cashier to FORGET the whole thing and keep the cards. He put them aside and began ringing up the placemats and egg cups I had put on the conveyor belt.  I had forgotten all about them. I wanted to tell him to SHOVE those too. But I didn’t. SUDDENLY logic, not the stirred up emotions I was feeling, took over. I came for the CARDS. I WANTED the cards. I LOVED the SENTIMENTS inside and out. They were heartfelt. So I told him to RING those up again, too. He looked at me like I was CRAZY. I was. I was CRAZY in love with that adorable little Bunny and Carrot. My heart felt heavy. It should be coming home with me, but it wasn't because of KMART. I reached for my camera and took a photo to blink the BUNNY into permanence. Then to console myself, just to prove I was right...  I snapped a close-up of the tag on its ear. I grabbed my package and  left.  My husband picked me up at the curb and we made the long trek home. I ranted about this the whole way. He listened.  I SWORE I’d never step foot inside a KMART again. It was their fault, that Bunny wasn't with me.  But I knew there was no talking to them, period. Their REWARDS program was MORE important than little old me, the customer. So... I dashed off several emails to the various departments at AMERICAN GREETINGS when I got home. I SINCERELY thought that KMART had WRONGED them too, by MISREPRESENTING their CARD PROMOTION. BUT... I was MAD and IMPLIED it might be false advertising, instead? I attached a picture of the bunny, tag, and receipt, and told them how this had SPOILED my EASTER week. After that was said and done, I also sent AMERICAN GREETINGS a TWEET to tell them about the DISSERVICE Kmart was doing to their Product Promotions. Surely they would REPRIMAND them, so this kind of ordeal wouldn’t happen to another customer. I figured I said my piece, and that was that. I thought the whole thing was over and done with. But it wasn't. What happened next, later in the week, GOBSMACKED me.  A big box arrived in the mail from AMERICAN GREETINGS addressed to me. GUESS what was inside? That precious BUNNY RABBIT holding a CARROT, along with a sibling. They sent me TWIN BUNNIES. I squealed with delight. The sheer joy this brought me can NOT be described. I was over the moon.  WHAT a SURPRISE. AMERICAN GREETINGS had RIGHTED a WRONG. That is GREAT customer service. It made my day, week, month... my entire year. I can’t THANK them enough. SOMEBUNNY loves YOU, AMERICAN GREETINGS. I just hope KMART got a GOOD piece of their mind, though.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

EASTER GREETINGS

HAPPY EASTER
from my house to yours
I COLLECT EGGS
from all over the world.
These are from Russia and Africa.


 EGGBERT
is a Tom Clark Gnome.
He has been with us for quite a few years.


I have BUNNIES galore.
They seem to MULTIPLY every year.
HEY
how did this picture get in here?
THAT'S NOT A BUNNY
it's a KITTY CAT decorated at the cemetery. 
SOMEBUNNY LOVES YOU
PRETTY FLOWERS ARE EVERYWHERE
HYACINTHS & LILLIES
my favorites in SPRING

AND LET'S NOT FORGET THE CANDY
mine is color coordinated to match
the decor. LOL
He is RISEN
The REASON for the SEASON
HAVE A WONDERFUL EASTER WEEKEND

I'm taking a little SPRING break.
I will see you back here on April 15th or sooner.
And to my JEWISH family and friends
HAPPY PASSOVER


PS) I have had a TERRIBLE TIME TRYING TO POST THIS. THE PHOTOS kept jumping here, there and everywhere. The type did the same. I finally gave up. WHAT you see is what you get. I'm sorry. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

NEW JOB, MONEYPAK, EVICTION & THOSE FOLKS FROM WESTERN UNION

Our daughter, the microbiologist… moved to Arizona… lock, stock and barrel. The job she went there for did NOT work out. So what else is new? She is NO stranger to being unemployed. My husband and I have damn near bankrupted ourselves trying to help her the past 10 years. We have tried to cut the cord, so many times it isn't funny. My husband lost his job in September 2011. A new one hasn’t come along. We’re on Social Security on a very fixed income. Even though we can’t really afford to... we still pay her car insurance and cellphone bill each month.  With no money coming in, our daughter has had to apply for government assistance. Her food and electricity are covered. But... because of the expensive neighborhood she lives in, they will NOT take care of the rent, water or sewer. She is in arrears... one month going on two... the first of April. We told her to start selling off her belongings to raise cash. Because it’s a gated community there are rules against garage sales. We suggested Craig’s List or a local bulletin board at the grocery store. So far, no bites on anything. Her landlord, as predicted, started the eviction process. She tried to negotiate with him, but he won't work with her. She is out of luck.  So suffice to say, things are a BIG mess.  Seeing her suffer, knowing we can’t help with the rent situation, this time around, has NOT been easy. But it's a lesson that needs to be learned. She is almost 40 years old. HOWEVER, we are NOT heartless. Since her bank account is empty, adding money to it would only result in MORE fees coming out, than cash going in... Therefore, our daughter devised a convoluted plan so we could put gas in her car, so she could have internet access to apply for jobs. It works like this. We buy this thing called a MONEY PAK card. It costs $5. You add whatever dollar amount from $20 to $1100, you want to put on it.  The store activates it. Then we scratch off the code on the back of MP card and call our daughter with the number. With this number she can add that dollar amount to her Visa/Debit card balance. Last weekend we bought her a new MP card for $100. She added it to her debit card via phone. She checked to make sure the NEW balance showed up on her account. It did. At 3am, Sunday morning she went to Wal-Mart to get a few things. The transaction was denied after her card was scanned.  According to the cashier there wasn’t sufficient credit on the card. The websites associated with our daughter’s Visa/Debit and the MONEYPAK card were both down, for routine maintenance. She CALLED us screaming and crying, like it was our fault. What did she expect us to do?  We're halfway across the country. When she tried to access her account again to see what was going on... she was denied access, unless she changed her password. After she did, she still got no information.  When the website was finally back up... it showed that the MONEYPAK card had indeed been credited to her Visa/Debit but was showing up as being SPENT, so her balance was a big fat ZERO. We were out the money. That was OBVIOUSLY wrong. She couldn’t call anybody in customer service about the situation until Monday. The problem with Monday was... even if they FIXED things, and re-issued the credit back where it belonged, it would be TOO late. On MONDAY at 7:30am our daughter was supposed to start a NEW temporary job, forty miles from where she lives. We got this particular MONEYPAK card so she could make that trek.  Because of this debacle... she was without the funds needed to put gas in her car... She told us she now could NOT report to work. My husband was having NONE of that nonsense. So we decided to put PLAN B into action. We’d send her some quick cash via WESTERN UNION. It was now around 5 or 6 am. I called their toll free number. I went through the agony of a computer talking to me for the first 15 minutes. Then WESTERN UNION put a customer service representative from ANOTHER COUNTRY on the phone, to complete the transaction. The problem was this man’s accent was so thick, I could hardly understand a word he said. It was like pulling teeth. He told me it would cost $118 to send the $100. He wanted my daughter’s name, exactly where she would be picking the money up. Then he wanted my full name, birth-date, my credit card information, my driver’s license number, my email address, my phone number, my street address, my first born child, etc. After all of that, he informed me that his computer said NO. It could NOT complete this transaction, sorry. Try visiting your local WESTERN UNION kiosk, he suggested. Goodbye. Say what? What kind of racket is this? He had enough information to STEAL my identity and clear out my bank account. I was livid. I got back on the phone to complain to WESTERN UNION but there was an endless loop of computer talk to thwart my best efforts. My husband said, "Let’s go to Meijer’s, instead. They have  WESTERN UNION. Maybe we can straighten this out".  It was 7:30am. They’d now be open. There, we met a charming young lady in customer service. We told her what had happened. She made things right. She said NEVER EVER do WESTERN UNION by telephone or computer. She handed me a piece of paper that didn’t ask a million questions (like that guy on the phone had asked). I filled it out. Handed it back. She said it was going to cost $112. I gave her the cash.  She transferred it. MONEY was in Arizona in 15 minutes. IMAGINE that?  Our daughter collected it. She put gas in her tank and started the NEW job. She works TWELVE hour shifts. Her first paycheck will be in 3 weeks. I guess it’s better LATE than never... to get a FRESH start. Tell that to her landlord, though. UNFORTUNATELY, our daughter is STILL being evicted. Meanwhile, she can’t take time off work, to go to court to appeal it. So... she’ll be out on the street, with no roof over her head. Our hands are tied. All we can do is PRAY.