Archive for November, 2007

Surprising Positive Note About a Credit Card Company

Discover apparently left a message this morning on our home phone. Mike told me, so I went to look at my account online and the site wouldn’t let me log in. So I called and they told me that my card number had been identified as one that had been compromised. After answering a variety of “prove that it’s really you” questions, they asked me to confirm the last few charges: On the Border, North Shore Music Theatre, Sears Auto, yep, yes, yeah, that’s me. Nothing was wrong with those charges. But as my card number had been identified as probably stolen, they advised me to destroy the card and told me they would overnight me a new card with a new number.

I am shocked that they could respond so quickly, and before anything bad actually happened. Pleasantly surprised even. I’m a happy customer. Huh. That’s so rare for me. I have always wondered what that felt like.

November 30th, 2007 • 10:11 am • dinane • Posted in UncategorizableNo Comments »

Brain Clock

Well, it’s official, my brain clock is confused (so much so that my first attempt to type “brain clock” came out as “brain flock,” which leads me to picture something that kind of resembles that old flying toasters screen saver, only, you know, with brains). I had a 7:00 AM meeting with a customer in Bangalore (or Bengaluru, depending on which translation you prefer). Now, astute friends and possibly readers might know that I am pretty much a morning person. As such, you might expect that a 7:00 AM meeting wouldn’t have too much of an effect one me.

You’d be wrong.

Sure, it’s only about a half-hour, fourty-minutes before I usually get into the office, but in order to get here on time for such a meeting, I needed to take a much earlier train. The 6:20-something wouldn’t cut it. I needed the 5:52. That’s 3 minutes earlier than my alarm on a normal day and an hour and 4 minutes earlier than my normal train. Still, you think, at least you’re not architect-man. He usually doesn’t get into the office until like 9:30, 10:00. It must be much worse on him.

You’d be wrong again.

Architect-man was relatively cranky this morning to have to be in early, but he claimed that he would easily adjust and just make up for it in some extra morning sleep the next day. Me? Yeah. No. I’m almost certain to snap awake by 7:00 tomorrow even though I could really use to make up that extra hour.

That’s right, extra hour. I set my alarm one hour earlier than usual – 4:55. Yes, folks. That time starts with a four. That time is also known as still-night-o-clock. You might also note that it was one hour earlier, not one hour and four minutes earlier, as the train would be.

I missed the train.

So I drove in. Did you know that the morning guys on 101.7 start “The Sandbox” at 6:00 AM? Me neither. But now I do. They have intro music and everything. Did you know there’s traffic at 6:00 AM? Me neither. But luckily, there was less than at 7:00, because I couldn’t afford to be late.

But yeah, my brain’s biological clock is superpissed. I have a very strong clock up in there, and it is very, very confused. I fed it some caffeine. That may have made it worse. I don’t know for sure.

I do know that I am currently simultaneously wide awake and completely asleep.

Today will be fun.

November 30th, 2007 • 8:51 am • dinane • Posted in Life, Uncategorizable1 Comment »

And Done

On the plubmers’ third visit, it appears that our heat may in fact be cured for good. I’ll be more certain if it’s still working when we get home… but at least it was working when I woke up this morning!

November 28th, 2007 • 9:29 am • dinane • Posted in House, Life3 Comments »

Shiver

Mike and I trade off on holidays. In even years, my family “gets” us for Thanksgiving, and his for Christmas. In odd years, such as 2007, we do the reverse. This year’s Thanksgiving was not too unlike that of two years ago. The major changes being a reduction in the number of pies and the absence of Kate. After the traditional (though less exciting without Kate) shopping-of-crazy, Mike’s mom and I were heading south along 93 to our house. I called Mike to let him and his father know that we were on our way, and Mike gave me a heads up.

“The heat’s broken.”

He continued to give me some more details about the problem, and to tell me that he’d called the home warranty people. Thankfully we have that home warranty, which we might not have considered getting on our own. Thank you home sellers!

So we spent Friday night huddling under blankets, watching movies on HBO, and waiting patiently for the on-call plumber to come. That is, after being on hold with the warranty people approximately eight dozen times and finally getting the direct number to the plumbing company. He eventually did come after midnight, apprentice in tow.

They smelled of stale cigarettes and coffee, and looked just slightly more tired than I would prefer for someone who’s coming in to work on my house, but on the Friday after Thanksgiving, ones options are more than a little bit limited. We showed them the boiler, and went upstairs to watch more movies on HBO. Every few minutes, the apprentice would go by, go out the front door, and come back in carrying yet another tool. “New guy carries the tools.”

Suddenly, it started to get warmer. I stuck my hand behind the sofa, and felt the warmth of working heat. I did a little celebratory dance in my head, and looked forward to the guys leaving the house so I could sleep.

The big guy finally came upstairs and asked me to get the work order number from the warranty people. I acquired that, and their phone number, and handed it off to him. He went outside and came back in several minutes later with his cell phone on speaker. “Yeah, I’ve heard that hold music before.” He disappeared for a while back to the basement, presumably to clean up his crap.

When he came back upstairs, he handed me his phone, and I got our official “emergency approval number” or some such crap. Normally, I guess, they wouldn’t approve of paying overtime for the contractors, and would have made us wait until Monday. I took down the emergency number and rolled my eyes as they told me that I’d pay him and they’d reimburse me later. Lame! Even the plumber didn’t think it would work that way, and he went back out to his truck to make a different invoice. I wrote him a check, careful to make sure my carbon copy came out clean, and took our copy of the invoice.

Sleep!

The next morning, we woke up slowly. Well, everyone else did. I was up early because my brain refuses to sleep past 7:00. Lucky for me (and the people sleeping in our house), the new guitar for Rock Band has a silent strum bar :).

Eventually, breakfast was had, and we got in the car to go to Boston. Instead of a play this year, we went to the Museum of Science, and “Experienced” CSI. It was pretty cool, though not at all what I was expecting. And we never did find the miniatures. We topped off the night with a trip to my favorite restaurant, and were soon on our way back home.

Home, sweet… Damn! It’s effing freezing in here!

We repeated the shivering of the night before, while I called the warranty people again. Hold! I talked to a guy who mumbled and made no sense, but who seemed to eventually get that we should be approved for emergency again, as it was even colder than the day before. I asked if I should call the plumber myself, but he assured me that they would do it and follow their procedures.

So, we settled in for another evening of HBO movies. An hour into our second bank-robbery-related movie in as many days, Mike checked online. They still hadn’t updated our account with a new work order! So, back on hold. I swear, they have the most annoying hold music ever. And this time, I was on hold long enough to make it to the second (and even more annoying) song.

I made annoyed mutterings at the guy who finally answered, and he gave me “permission” to call the plumbers directly. The call-center person took our name, address, and phone number and said she’d page Dean, the plumber who came the day before. He called back shortly afterwards, sounding very annoyed that our heat only breaks at night. I apologized, telling him how the warranty company had screwed us both out of our proper sleep, but with his cranky attitude, I was afraid he’d never come.

After the movie was over, I called the call-center back again, because he hadn’t come. They took the name, address, and phone number again, saying they’d page him again. I made sure he was the one who was supposed to be on call – I would feel bad if they paged him on his true day off just because he had done the work the day before. But she assured me that Dean was the on-call guy for heat that day.

Eventually, we heard the welcome sounds of their truck from the street. Mike’s parents had both gone to bed, and it was once again after midnight. They went downstairs and the same ritual of running tools commenced. After quite some time, they came up and said they needed to go out for a smoke. Less than promising, because that implied to me that they had not yet determined the problem.

After another hour or so of them clanking on things in the basement, he came up. I looked up hopefully from my blanket cocoon, but he told us he had bad news. The “computer board” was fried. He suspected that it had shorted the part he’d replaced the night before, and had finally given up itself. Unfortunately, they don’t carry around circuit boards for every make and model of boiler, so we’d have to wait until Monday for him to track one down. And even if he found one then, it might need to be shipped. So in reality, we’d be heat-free until Tuesday at the earliest. He advised us to get space heaters first thing in the morning.

So, we blew up the air mattress upstairs, where it was still warm due to the remaining electric heat (suddenly, it doesn’t seem so bad to have mixed heat). We huddled under blankets and slept fitfully until my cell phone alarm went off at 7:00. I ventured downstairs to find that the temperature had dropped almost down to 50. Shivering, I gathered some clothes and went back upstairs. Mike did the same and we waited for a few minutes before putting them on, so they would warm up.

Home Depot!

We bought three space heaters, two large and one small. When we got home, Mike’s mom was up and wondering why the guy never came. We explained that that wasn’t the case, and went on to get the devices running. By noon, the temperature was a much more moderate 68, and by the time Mike’s parents left in the afternoon, we had to turn the space heaters down because it was getting to be too warm.

So, we wait. Wait for word from Dean the plumber. Please call us. Please say you’ll bring by the part today and install it. We like heat. And we like not paying through the nose for our electric bill…

November 26th, 2007 • 11:11 am • dinane • Posted in Family, House, Life1 Comment »

I Control the Horizontal and the Vertical

I’m super excited. I’ve been working on this neat project at work (no I can’t tell you what it is). I’ve been hacking some stuff (no I can’t tell you what that is either). But I’m super excited, because I now control everything. The horizontal and the vertical (or the tree-view and the results-pane, whichever you want to say).

I’m practically jumping out of my skin with excitement.

I love my job.

November 21st, 2007 • 10:11 am • dinane • Posted in Uncategorizable1 Comment »

Well…

It’s snowing.

I guess it’s winter now.

November 20th, 2007 • 10:16 am • dinane • Posted in Weather3 Comments »

Abbreviated Pie Day

Yesterday was quite eventful. Like ridiculously so. I woke up with the sun and started laundry (boring!) and bundled up in sweats, a bandanna for my head, gloves for my hands, and a jacket. Out the basement door I went, gathering random tools I’d left around the yard. It had been 3 weeks since I last raked leaves, but I was a slacker and never really cleaned up… Luckily, more leaves had made their appearance in that time.

I should have raked last week. It was crisp out, and the leaves were dry. But I looked up at the tress and seeing many full limbs, decided to put it off. The weather gadget on the fridge told me that I would be okay to leave them. It showed rain-free weather for the week.

It lied.

So, in my sweats and things, I clanked about the yard piling up wet leaves and wheeling them to the compost heap in the far corner of the yard behind the fence. The front yard was a pain in the ass, as there is no ramp-like device leading to the back yard, only a half-flight of cement stairs. The progress was slow, but once I finished with the front yard, I went in for breakfast and a moving of laundry.

BORING!

Yeah, yeah, okay, fast forward. Breakfast, more laundry, more leafs, more laundry, swiffering of the floor to remove the dirt I tracked in on my shoes, a shower, and lunch.

Coming out of the shower, I had made the list for the remains of the day:

  1. Get Dressed
  2. Eat lunch
  3. Clean up the kitchen
  4. Make a list
  5. Go to the grocery store
  6. Bake pie

But I got distracted by the soccer game. Stupid Revolution! Every time I bother to get interested in you, you lose an important game in ridiculous fashion. Come on!

I did eventually make it through that list, though while making the list, the phone rang. It was Mike’s mom. We briefly discussed Thanksgiving plans (who, what, where, and when – the why is obviously pre-established). But the gist of what mattered to me was that there would only be 10 people for Thanksgiving, someone else is already bringing an apple pie, and I shouldn’t bring 12 pies. Not that I would have, but I was going to bring 5. Six pies for 10 people is probably too many. So I cut back, crossing things off my in-progress shopping list.

It took all of the power in my being (and a failed attempt at a fourth pie) to bring myself to 3. That is, three I would bring. I was still intending to make a double batch of pumpkin, as Mike and I both love it, and pie dough recipes come in twos. So, pie dough, pressed cookie crusts, etc., etc.

Man, I can’t believe how boring this post is. I hope I haven’t put you to sleep. Go on, get. Read something else. This is silly.

Oh, and after pie, we had dinner and watched the Patriots trounce the Bills. Silly Bills.

Tomorrow I will finish pie-making by concocting many puddings and whipped creams. Okay, just two of each. Such an easy pie day!

November 19th, 2007 • 9:26 am • dinane • Posted in Food, House, Sports, Uncategorizable2 Comments »

Keep it Off!

I caught on the news last night that Youklis shaved the ferret off his face. I’m so happy for him! I mean, seriously, he just looks so much more human without that odd parasitic fuzzy growth on his chin. All season I’ve been begging him to get rid of it, and he finally has!

But then, just before we were heading to bed, a different news channel (that came on when we were done watching a TiVo’d episode of House) told Red Sox fans “not to worry” and that his “signature goatee” would be back in regular season form by spring training.

Don’t do it, Youk! Please keep shaving! You look so much better this way!

November 14th, 2007 • 9:20 am • dinane • Posted in Sports, UncategorizableNo Comments »
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