Welcome to the jungle. Wild & exotic truths, semi-truths and lots of lush exaggeration. ....Celia
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
The Birds and the Bees....and the Bills and the Bulls**t.....
Just to let y'all know I haven't just been slacking (except on my blog), here's what's shakin': I've been working from home at a variety of things, and am still ramping up. I've got pregnant, against all odds and at a great expense of time, pain, and money...ack! My mom is all settled in, but still has things to do, like get her drivers' license, more furniture, etc. G is discovering the joys of being babysat....luckily by her doting Nana, instead of in daycare, but still....
So! I am looking forward to a little down time this weekend, to visit everyone's blogs and catch up on what's happening in your lives! I plan to be well-organized and have special time set aside for blogging, exercise and "me" time----by about 2023. I figure that's a realistic goal!
Everyone, please hope, pray, and cross any spare appendages until we get this new baby here. No, scratch that---until we get him/her through college!
Hi. My brain is temporarily out of order. There is a work order in to fix it ----just as soon as my mother's move from Kansas to one mile away is complete, and I don't have to go over there and meet installers, water the gasping plants, or change which lights are on around to different rooms. Also, when this latest cycle of buying and consuming drugs, and 7 a.m. doctor's appointments are over. Also, when my husband finally goes out of town on business again, and stops hanging around under foot all day, pretending to work, but really downloading MP3 files. Also, when I have found enough lucrative work to do from home that I don't have to go back to a real job. Etc.
Nah. Not really. I mean, not really will I get all that stuff accomplished before I post again. But I at least have to make a half-assed stab at some progress on some of this stuff.
Dinesh D'Souza is a naturalized American who grew up in India. Because he's a "new" American, he sees a lot of stuff those of us who were born here tend to miss---and sometimes those of us from other places do, too! His "10 Great Things to Love About America" article can be read here. posted by Celia 2:26 PM
Saturday, June 28, 2003
My Rhythm Is Off
Something's wrong with my circadian rhythm. Everybody else seems to sleep about eight hours, get up, then get tired again in about sixteen hours. I, left to my own devices, would sleep about 12 hours, get up, then get tired again in about thirty hours.
I know it's a problem for most people, but for me it's become a personal vendetta.
I'm talking about telemarketers. You know, the people who call when you're expecting another, important, call, so you, like a great big sucker, actually pick up the phone, instead of screening it through the answering machine, like the rest of the free world.
Now, I know no one would do that job, given the choice ("Hey, Toneless Wonder-Voice, here's a winning lottery ticket! Will you take the ticket, or hang onto your meaningful, life-expanding, and monetarily rewarding career as a professional meal interrupter?" Toneless: "Why, Bob, that's just no choice at all---I'll stay with my job!" Sure.) So I never can just hang up on them. Besides, they have you on those auto-dialers anyway, and when you hang up, Toneless will just click his mouse on the multiple choices of his computer screen, and choose, "Dial up an even dozen times per day." So although it's counter-intuitive, not hanging up immediately is really the wiser option.
I've gotten all sorts of cutesy email advice lists on how to drive a telemarketer insane, but, while amusing, they do not work. Here's what all telemarketers are told in their (2 hour) training classes, regardless of which product/service/adventure vacation package ("And you can Bring The Kids!") they may be selling:
1) Talk reallyreallyfast, and, if possible, mumble a lot.
2) Read everything on your "Sales Pitch" form EXACTLY as written. Do not improvise. Do not allow relevant questions to distract you. If interrupted by the P.C. (potential customer), pause, then go back to the beginning and start over.
3) Ignore background noises in the P.C.'s home environment. This includes loud televisions, radios, screaming children and/or gunshots. See #2.
4) Once you have read your (3-page) pitch, you may answer P.C.'s questions. All P.C. questions can be answered satisfactorily with the following:
a) Why do you say that?
b) But this is a free trial period. (Follow with disclaimer. See #1.)
c) Is there any reason why you wouldn't want to try our __________?
d) We offer financing and 1,328 easy payments of only $99.99.
e) I can put it on your credit card today!
5) Find out what product/service/adventure vacation package the P.C. is using now.
Now, as I said, I have nothing against the telemarketers themselves. Well, most of them....the ones who are obviously miserable and have clearly been praying that their autodialer would just ring all day long with no-answers, hang-ups, and answering machines, so that they could put in their eight hours and please god, punch out and get the hell out of there and to the nearest happy hour. (The 1% or so who really enjoy irritating the shit out of perfectly innocent strangers are a different story. There's a special circle of hell reserved for them, and after they've lived a long, happy life of nasty drive-by phonings---then punched out each day to go home and kick the dog and pull the wings off butterflies---I've no doubt they'll go there, where they'll be strapped down, have headphones surgically attached to their ears, and be forced for all eternity to listen to a ringing phone.....that's NEVER PICKED UP! Ahem. Anyway...)
No, my gripe is with the telmarketing companies. Oh, I've sent in all the letters ("Please submit your request to be removed from telemarketing lists in triplicate to the following twenty-eight government and non-profit agencies. Please allow seven years to be completely removed from all lists, as the process may take this long to complete. Please resubmit your request in seven years, as your current request will expire at the end of this period......" Etc.), made the calls, blah, blah, blah. I still get an average of four calls a day.
Here's what will stop them cold. You have to suspend your disbelief here--- a little like reading "Harry Potter and Whatever the Hell Talismanic Object It is This Time." Never mind that it makes no sense, no one who could afford it would be answering her own phone, or any of that other stuff. Listen to me now, you'll thank me, I promise. An example might serve best:
TELEMARKETER: Hi! babblebabblebabblebabble....New Swimming Pool! You and your family can enjoy the coolness....
YOU: I just built a second one. I own a pool-building company.
TELEMARKETER: A second pool?
YOU: Yes, I have two, one in front, one in back.
TELEMARKETER: Hi! babblebabblebabblebabble......lowest mortgage rates EVER!!! You can pay off your house.....
YOU: I own a bank.
TELEMARKETER: Hi! babblebabblebabblebabble........Wonder Windows! They repel UV rays, moon rays, death rays....
YOU: I own a window installation company.
TELEMARKETER: Hi! babblebabblebabblebabble.....Vacation to Disney World!!! It's a fun-filled adventure for the whole....
YOU: I own Disney World. I can go free any time I want. Thanks anyway. (No, no, don't hang up yet.)
TELEMARKETER: (Long silence while he searches in vain for this in the written spiel.) But, but...but. (Decides to hell with it.) You OWN Disney World?
YOU: Yep. (Don't get sucked into elaborating here. Simplicity and brevity are key.)
TELEMARKETER: Well, I...but, you....whaaaa... Oh. Okay. Thanks anyway. I'll remove your name from our list.
Let's get one thing straight: I love my mother. She is smart, beautiful, thoughtful, experienced, and kind to old people, animals and her family. Whenever I have a dilemma about right and wrong, I use the old vacation Bible school mantra, "What would Jesus do?" only I think "What would Mamma do?" and everytime I get the right answer. She is one of my heroines.
That said, she has this little thing that drives me absolutely nuts. (Yes, I know some of my things drive her nuts, too, but this is my blog; she can get her own.) The best way to explain this, I think, is to give an example. Last night we were talking, and I thanked her for a toy car she'd sent for G's fleet. Here's what she could have said:
IMAGINARY MOM: Oh! I forgot to tell you, I had supper with a couple I'm friends with, and they gave me that car to send G. You should write them a little thank-you note. Here's their address.
IMAGINARY ME: Okay, I'll do that. (Next subject.)
Let it be noted that I do not know these friends of hers. Never met them, never even passed them on the street.
ACTUAL MOM: Oh, I forgot to tell you, I had supper with Mavis and Boris Tittle last night----well, I'd stopped by with some corn on the cob I got on sale at the grocery...they were having a sale, and I just couldn't pass up that fresh corn, but it was way too much for me to eat all by myself, so I thought, "I should just run on by Mavis and Boris', and take them some of this corn, they sure do like it--- so I did, and when I got there, I could see that Mavis was just worn out...and who wouldn't be, that poor woman is just about down to a shadow from taking care of Boris since he had his by-pass surgery...thank goodness they're moving into managed care until he gets better, maybe she'll finally get some rest. I keep telling her she's no good to anyone if she gets sick too---or injured! She has to help him move everywhere, and if he were to fall, well, it would really be a mess for both of them. So she and I were talking about the corn, and Boris hollered from the other room, so I went in to chat for a minute, and he just seemed real weak to me, and I didn't like his color. He says he feels fine, but I'm not sure he does, he has so many ups and downs since that surgery. So between Mavis being so tired, and Boris looking so peaked, I just thought to myself, "Now the last thing they need is to have to worry about supper," so I said, "I'll tell y'all what, I'm just going to run on home and roast this corn up. I have a pork shoulder that's been cooking all day, and it should be right ready to pull and add some barbeque sauce to, and I think I have some buns...well, if I don't, I'll just zip down to the grocery and pick up a package...and I have those butter beans Edna Mae gave me a big bag of, so I'll cook those, and fix some slaw ...and maybe pack up the rest of that good sour cream potato salad Joyce brought over yesterday, and I'll bring it back over, and we'll have supper. How does that sound?" Well, they thought it sounded pretty good, and Boris said he thought he might be able to eat a little and Mavis allowed that it sure would be nice not to have to cook, well, it was so hot that day, and I already had all that food more or less ready, so that's what we did. And while we were eating, Mavis remembered she'd found this little car (I'd told her G really liked cars, and was starting to get some, and that you didn't want her to only have stuffed animals and dolls, just because she's a girl.) so she jumped up and went in the den, and came back with just the sportiest little car and gave it to me to send to you. I have their address, you should write them a little thank you note, it'd just really perk up their day, I take them all the pictures you send of G, and they just love looking at them....well, their son isn't married, and he's probably fifty or so, and he could be gay, so there may never be any grandchildren, and lately they've been worried because they think he may be having some problems with drugs......what is that clicking sound? Is that a lighter? Are you smoking? I thought you quit smoking."
Well, you get the picture. posted by Celia 11:01 AM
Thursday, June 19, 2003
It is raining like hell outside, has been for two days now. Whatever happened to our famous Florida 20-minute daily showers?
Well, I was going to post another rapier-witted political sneer, but shoot, nobody every reads them anyway. (sigh) It is so hard to get you guys mad! Still, if one or two of you are jonesing for something interesting, here's a link to Mark Steyn's article on his visit to post-war Iraq.
Also, I am repeatedly peeling tape from a DVD cover off my unshaven arms (who knew I'd need to?), as G has decided it's a band-aid and wants to fix me up. (So, home-hint: If you ever run out of tape, that stuff they tape a DVD shut with lasts forever.) This is an improvement over her previous activity: selecting a big bottle of dishwashing liquid from under the sink and walking around licking the spout and saying, "Eeeeeuck!" Then, it goes with saying, doing it again. But the point is, none of this stuff is conducive to serious thinking.
More later, I think it's time for somebody to take a nap. If and when I wake up, and my eyes aren't taped shut, I'll try again later.