Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bad Blogger, Bad Knittter, Bad Sewer, Bad Housecleaner, BAD, BAD, BAD

Forgive the non-blogness...

I've just started a new job (another job in addition to the one I already have) and I am working on the prospect of a freelance contract, and I've been one busy little bee.
(Yes Bree, if you're reading.. I stole it... muhahaha, but you'll forgive me in a minute)
This awesome Bee picture was taken by my friend Bree. She is a wicked-awesome photographer, especially her nature photos (though she's taken a few lovely one's of yours truly) Check her out HERE
She does weddings, family and pet portraits etc.
Anyway, back to my beeness. Where I haven't been busy is in the everywhere else department. My knitting got almost totally neglected. Dave and I went to my grandparents so he could work on the tractor (which still isn't running properly) and I totally could have knit there, but I didn't. Then we went to mom's... She and Jenn were knitting.. Dave got roped into sanding a bumper (though dad swears he volunteered) so I totally could have knit there, but I didn't I did finish the third ruffle on the wrap I'm knitting on Sunday, while Dave was relaxing having a "Day of War" (It was mistake to introduce the boy to the History channel). I still have one ruffle left to do though.
I didn't get anywhere near my sewing machine, and it's still buried under a mountain of mess in the studio.
So this week's goal... clean... knit... and maybe get some sewing done. I have to work Sunday, so that's unlikely...
Wish me luck!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bandwagon jumping

Seems like everywhere I turn, someone is sewing something, so I decided to hop on the bandwagon too! (Speaking of bandwagons, I've also discovered a whole new slew of people who hate Bell as much as I do, and in very unexpected places)
Anyway, I was up at mom's today and remembered that I had left some quilting fabric there when I moved out. Dave has been complaining about all the cat hair in my bed... you see he doesn't like to sleep with my blanket which, while cat hair-free, is a big heavy comforter I picked up at a thrift store (you've seen it before, usually in pics of Tux lounging on or underneath it) "It's too heavy" he whines.
I have another store bought quilt, which is much lighter, but it attracts cat hair like medieval townsfolk attracted the plauge. I wash it frequently, but as soon as one of the kids walks by it, it's like their fur literally jumps off them and onto the blanket. I bought another cheap comforter at Walmart, but it has the same problem. The only other blankets that seem to stay fur-free are the two quilts my mom made me when I was about 13 years old.
Unfortunatley they've seen better days

Dave calls them my hobo blankets. These quilts have been everywhere, sleepovers, picnics, the beach, camping. They've been through three boyfriends, four moves, and 10 cats. I love them and I will never get rid of them, but Dave needs something a little less .... well-loved ... to sleep with. So, I'm going to make him his very own quilt. I got it all cut out today. (Thanks to mom who has all the tools)

And yes, I said I'm making Dave his very own quilt, and no they aren't very masculine fabrics... too bad. It's going in my bedroom, I want it to match my decor... if he wants to share my bed, he'll deal with it. (on another note these aren't actually the fabrics I left at mom's, after checking out her fabric stash - which is almost as impressive as her yarn stash - she let me swap the fabrics I had bought for some that she had bought... the pink and green fabrics were mine, but the rest were hers)

I got it all laid out... I love this pattern. Super easy and can be sewn in an afternoon. I've done three quilts (all for Sam's kids) with this pattern. It's the only pattern I've ever sewn, but I don't care. I like it. No muss, no fuss. Quilt-in-a-day.

I'll probably sew it this weekend while Dave is songwriting. Right now my machine is buried under a mountain of stuff I shoved in my studio while cleaning the rest of the house. I'll need to get some border and backing fabric, but this is a start.

Of course, as I was laying the last corner out, Tux decided it was time to get a little exercise and chased Rocky right across it. I had to start all over again.People ask me why I don't want kids... believe me, three cats are more than enough trouble, I don't need to add kids to the mix

They don't look very repentent either
Anyway, off to knit now, want to make a trip to Vineyard Alpacas at the end of the month, and I need some product for her.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Oh no!

The house is uber-clean and the cats are confused and scared! Gone are the piles of socks to nest in, the baskets of wool to tangle, the little odds and ends to shoot across the floor!
Bet Dave is going to be even more scared!

Monday, April 7, 2008

10 Things I Hate About BELL!

Why I hate Bell.....

I learned to hate Bell with a passion over the three years I had my cell phone. Here are several reasons why:

Exorbitants Fees:

1) It's costs $45 to change your cell phone number. Oh, they tell you it's only $25 when you go in the store. They let you pick a nice shiny new number, and scan it into your phone....(because yeah..... that 45 seconds worth of work was worth $25) but then you get another charge on your bill for $20. When you call to say "What the F*ck?" they tell you, "Oh that $20 is for us to change the number on your billing account".... so, $20 for what...? Another 45 seconds worth of work? Of course, if you go into the store to make the complaint, the sales people have absolutely no clue there is a billing charge as well as the fee you pay in-store.

2) About six months after I got the phone, the $6.95 access fee went up $2 to $8.95. Somehow... despite the fact that you signed a contract agreeing to a $6.95 access fee, this isn't part of your contract, and they can change it at any time. And as soon as your contract is up, say good by to all the perks, like free weekends, unless you agree to another life sentence... I mean three year contract.

3) This is one of my personal favourites.... check your itemized calls on you Bell bill.... they like to charge you for calls months past. I first noticed it on my bill the September before I cancelled my service. There were several calls from June and July. Some had zero totals, but others were $1.20, $0.80, .... it may not seem like a lot, but when I went back through all my bills for that year it came to a total of about $20. When I called and complained, they reversed the charges. So what I want to know is... were these calls that were just missed? Or was I doubled billed? Or were these even real phone calls? Or does Bell just throw a few on every month to see if you notice?I am in no way a conspiracy theorist but I think the latter is the real reason.... Bell just makes them up to see how much money they can charge without you noticing.

Horrendous Customer Service:

4) It has gotten slightly better in the past few years, but most of the time when I call Bell, I get someone with a thick accent. I'm all for multi-culturalism and equal opportunity... your skills are in no way related to your race.... but when the operator's accent is so thick I can't understand what they are asking, or the instructions they are giving, it makes for a really frustrating experience (usually when I'm already frustrated by a failure in the service). To provide good customer service, you have to have good communications skills. If people can't understand what you're saying, you don't have good communications skills... sorry.

5) Sometimes in addition to poor commmunications skills, their techs and operators are just plain stupid. Case and point.... today I called because my mom's phone service is down. After going through the whole rigamoroll of explaining the problem to three different people, they finally agreed to send out a service tech. The operator says, "A tech will come out between 12 and 6 p.m. Someone will call your Mrs. Johnson tomorrow to giver her a smaller time frame."
Really? How are they going to do that? HER PHONE SERVICE IS DOWN! She seemed truly shocked that my mom did not have an alternate line. Not everyone has a cell phone, and it's arrogant to assume they do.

6) This brings me to another point on stupidity. At first the appointment window was between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. I really confused her when I told her no one would be home until after 2 p.m. after arguing with her and explaining to her in 12 different ways that no one would be home before 2 p.m., she gave me the window between 12 and 6.... that's great... but if they come between noon and 2 p.m., there still isn't going to be anyone there... but the 12-6 window seemed like the best compromise I was going to get.

7) Slightly related to the above point... if you're in the business of customer service, you want to make sure you're providing a convenient service... so why do they give you such a large window? a) the majority of people are working between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. b) even if you're not working, you probably have things to do, and can't sit around all day waiting for the repair guy. I make appointments with business people every week for interviews. If I said to them, "I'll be there sometime between 9 and 5," They tell me to give them a specific time, or to go f*ck myself. Why does Bell think my time is any less valuable? (Of course Bell is not the only culprit of this, but this rant is about Bell, not every other company that has pissed me off)

Absolute incompetence:

8) When I got my cell phone, it was under my mother's name because the contract was arranged through a deal from her work. I had to call because they gave me a St. Catharines phone number and it was long distance to call my cell phone from my own house. (I was living with my mom in Smithville at the time so it was just another case of Bell stupidity). When I called they wouldn't speak to me because the phone was in my mom's name. She called and had me put on as "user". We had to go through this every time we called, because even though they said, "sorry about that Mrs. Johnson, we'll add Valerie to the account right now," they never did. Finally I just got tired of it and began impersonating my mother every time I called.

9) When I finally got fed up, and my contract ended, I called Bell to cancel. You have to give at least 30 days notice to cancel without incurring a cancellation fee (yet another exorbitant fee). After explaining that I no longer wanted any service they could offer me (and explaining why - many of the reasons noted above) they finally agreed to cancel my service. This was October 28th. I specifically said, "I want my service to end November 30th at midnight." Sure enough, November 29th rolls around, I have no service. Yet another call to Bell. This time to get my service reactivate for two days.... you can imagine how much that confused them. Their reason for the screw up. "You called on the 28th of October to cancel, 30 days from then is today, the 29th of November." So absolutely no note was taken of the fact that I said "NOVEMBER 30th".

10) As if that wasn't enough... on the 10th of December, my cell phone - which I hadn't been carrying for weeks - rings. How do I still have service? I had spent half an hour on the phone with Bell on November 29th, explaining that I wanted my service reactivated until November 30th at midnight... after that half an hour they still couldn't grasp the concept. And sure enough when I called, "But you reactivated it on November 29th, there is nothing here about deactivating it on the 3oth." ARRRGH.... and guess what... they had charged me a reactivation fee!!!!!

My mother has had other issues with Bell - like every time she has a problem with her internet and she calls they say. "You have an old modem, you should have a new one. We'll have someone call you to arrange for the exchange." This has been happening once every couple of months for about three years..... no one has ever called. My other favourtie is. "I'm sorry, I can't help you with that problem. I'll have a level three tech call you in the next 24 hours" again... no level three tech has ever called.

I'm not the only one who has had problems like this. The more and more people I talk to the more I hear similar stories. How is a company like this still in business? Sure they had a monopoly for years, but no longer. I am now with Cogeco for my home phone, internet and television. Not only is it infinitely better service, it's about 15 per cent cheaper. I laugh when I get propaganda in the mail from Bell, asking me to come back.... I think I'm going to start sending it back to them... with a copy of this blog.

I feel better now... thanks

-end rant.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Wandering Cat Studio is now at Cafe Press!

Check it out HERE ! (and maybe buy something too!)

There is also a button on my side bar

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

They grow up so fast.....

It's amazing how quickly eight months goes by..... and he's still growing (he turns a year old in June)

Here's a picture of his Daddy.... no doubt he'll be that big too

Of course I'm not speaking to the little sh!t because he's been a very bad cat this week.... and no wool, plant or Peno is safe.