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Sunday, April 9, 2017


Despite being away for a shorter period of time than usual, it took a long time for my body clock to start ticking in Central Time!  The upcoming week was not going to help get me back on track, as there were anomalies.  

Samantha and Edward were due to fly out to Las Vegas to meet up with her dad on Wednesday, and we were going to be looking after the dog.  I was not ready to be thrust back into a refined version of normal.

Attempting to throw myself into my work was not simple.  I had to call the post office to get answers to a couple of questions. Just to bore you with details, when I send out a letter by 'certified mail', I attach a green card to the envelope. If no one authorized is at the address, a notice is left, and if the letter is not claimed, it is returned, green card still attached, and all, to me with the details of attempted service.  If an authorized person is at the address, they sign the green card, which is then returned to me.  Of course, they keep the letter.  I had received a 'green card' back, unsigned. After checking the post office website, it would appear (the only logical eplanation) that it had been detached, during transit.  However, also according to the website, the letter itself had gone on a vacation of its own, and I wanted to know why. "Your wait time is between forty, and fifty minutes", said the recording. The option for them to call back had been removed from their list. "Would you like to take part in a survey when through with your call?"  I answered in the negative, as I was not sure I would be objective.  "Your wait time is between forty, and fifty minutes", repeated the recorded voice.  "Would you like to take part in a survey when through with your call?"  After the fourth time of hearing the same message, I relented.  "Yes!", I replied, emphatically.  "Thank you!" she replied, equally emphatically, especially for a recording!  I would have to remember that the choice is not a choice!

My phone remained on 'loudspeaker', while I continued to work. Eventually, at almost an hour, I heard a human voice.  "This is Carol!  May I have your name so I can better assist you?"  I have often wondered why my name could better help them assist me. What difference would it make if I said my name was Clarence, or Bo, or Rumpelstiltskin!  I gave my given name.  In retrospect, perhaps if I had given Rumpelstiltskin, I would have received a satisfactory, or legitimate answer.  Carol, (bless her,) had either not undergone standard training, or had walked into the wrong office, as she had no idea how the 'system' works.  "Your letter was returned to you, as no one claimed it", she said, smugly.  I referred her to the webpage, from which she was reading.  "But I am not in Georgia", I said, wondering whether she had noticed that from south Texas the letter had failed to travel back up from the Rio Grande Valley to the Capital!  It had made it to a capital city, just not the one in Texas!  Carol did not have an answer.  She looked again, and then decided she could solve the problem.  "Oh I see what happened.  No one claimed it, so they just sent the green card back".  I was perplexed.  If no one claimed it, why didn't the whole letter come back?  That is not how it works.  "Oh yes it is", said Carol.  "Oh no it isn't", said I, in true pantomime fashion.  Then Carol came up with another gem.  "Oh, I see what happened.  You didn't pay for the return receipt to come back to you".  I sighed. "But I have the return receipt.  That is all I have!"  Carol must have realised at this point that she was in the wrong job, or at the very least the wrong desk.  "You will have to go to your local post office and they will tell you what happened".  I could go to my local supermarket and get the same response, I almost said, as there really was no explanation other than the green card had been detached.  "My question is", and I persisted, "Why did it go to Georgia?"  Carol would not budge.  She did not even offer to start an investigation.  (Investigations are, I believe, purely to placate the customer, as on the rare occasion that there is a 'follow up', it is even more rare that it is satisfactory.)  She asked if there was anything else she could help me with.  I once again resisted, as an answer would have indicated that she hadn't helped me the first time, so really what was the point!  However, I stayed on the line and completed the survey.  No I was not helped to my satisfaction. No I did not think operator was competent.  No the matter was not resolved!  

I decided to let the matter go until the end of the day, when the wait time was only thirty to forty minutes.  "Would you like to take part in a survey when through with your call?"  I answered in the negative.  "Your wait time is between thirty and forty minutes", repeated the recorded voice.  "Would you like to take part in a survey when through with your call?"  After the fourth time of hearing the same message, I relented.  "Yes!", I replied, emphatically.  "Thank you!" she replied, equally emphatically.  It had been less than a day, and I had forgotten the rule!  In the event, the recorded music went on for nearly an hour, but finally, at a few minutes before 6pm, I heard a human voice.  ""This is Carol!  May I have your name so I can better assist you?"  I replied in the negative, and ended the call!  
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The next day was somewhat more productive.  I had won a couple of contests, one of which I was going to give to Jerry, and the other was to see a play in Austin.  I was quite excited, at first, but was then a little disappointed.  I was sure that the contest had stated that the play was being performed this coming weekend, and we had the dog.  Although I do not mind leaving the pooch for a couple of hours, we were going to be out for a lot longer should we take advantage of the prize.  I checked the email again, and there were no dates mentioned.  I then checked the dates of performances, and it appeared that the play was running all month.  We could go next weekend!  I felt a lot happier.  However, my joy was short lived, as before I could request my dates, I received another email to say that the original email had omitted to confirm that the dates were only for this weekend.  Rather dejected, and probably because I was still somewhat jet lagged, (something that was taking rather too long to shift in my opinion,) I decided to take the proverbial bull by the horns, and see if there could be an exception. As I had still not resolved the post office matter, I wondered if I could make headway in a different area!

My email to the theatre was responded to, kindly but succinctly. The sweepstakes had clearly stated that the tickets were for the upcoming weekend, but there was a performance on Monday evening, should that fit into my schedule.  I responded, kindly, but less succinctly.  Thanking the gentleman for his very generous offer, I explained that whilst I did not intend telling him my life story, and go into too much detail, I would fail miserably. It was rather sad as I was familiar with the playwright, and was rather looking forward to the play.  Another weekend would have worked, but I understood the rules.  Weekdays are really not conducive. I continued with the saga of how we were dog sitting my daughter's neurotic dachshund, a duty of which I was unaware when entering the contest.  It was rather sad as I was familiar with the playwright, and was rather looking forward to the play.  I further explained that the dog, although deeply loved by all, suffered (apparently) from abandonment issues, and so we did not like to leave him for long lengths of time, especially when he had already been 'abandoned' (in his mind, apparently,) by his adopted parents.  Therefore, kind as it was, the offer of the tickets would have to be denied.  Within a minute, I received a reply.  "I have a neurotic dachshund as well, so I completely get it.  How about next weekend then?  Lemme know!"  Result!  Thank you Frank!

Feeling rather empowered, I decided to call the post office. However, the wait time was over an hour, and I was not risking losing another sixty minutes of my life to have the lovely Carol answer the phone!

I decided that I would take some time off to go and visit Joe on Wednesday.  Gail was at the shop too, so we chatted 'grandchildren', as well as other subjects and I returned to my desk shortly after nine.  It was a good interlude, and perhaps one I needed to get me back on track!  The walk at lunchtime was relatively smooth, as although the temperature was slightly hotter, the humidity had dropped. 

Samantha left early and I departed shortly after five, so that I could prepare dinner.  

Thursday morning was an early start, and so I decided to call the post office before the 'bell rang'.  The wait was not too long, and I opted to take the survey before I was forced into doing so.  I also checked the website, just to make sure the letter had not been found and was on its way back to me.  However, the 'article' for which I was searching, and details thereof, was no longer available! How strange!  I got put through to someone other than the lovely Carol. 

The new lady was aware that I had called, and wondered why I was calling again.  I explained that my problem had not been solved, as her colleague was unfamiliar with how the system worked.  I had actually spoken to my local carrier who had confirmed that I was correct in my assumptions, and he suggested I call back.  "It has been sent back to you", was her best shot!  "But why did it go to Georgia?" I asked.  There was silence.  "Where do you see that? The details are not available".  The advice of 'always keep a copy' was never more apt!  "I printed the details when they were available", I announced, to the dismay, and possible embarrassment of the post office employee.  "Oh", was the response.  By the end of the call, I had a 'investigation' number, and the promise of a return call.  I do not expect to hear anything, but it was a point of principle! 

I left the office around ten minutes to the hour of ten, as I had a nail appointment, and decided to pick up the tickets for Jerry at the radio station, en route.  "Hey, d'ya know of anyone who wants to go to the opening night of the baseball game?" asked the guy behind the window.  Did I!  Why yes, I would love to go, but I have a neurotic dachshund to babysit, and I doubted that any of the players, organisers, or anyone else would respond, "I have a neurotic dachshund as well, so I completely get it.  How about next weekend then?  Lemme know!"  However, I was quite sure I knew a man who would like to take advantage of the tickets, and thanked the donor emphatically.  Jerry was delighted.  

Jerry's son-in-law was even more grateful, as he took his wife and a couple of his friends to 'Opening Night'.  Apparently, dachshunds were not mentioned before, during or after the game, and so it appears that my plea would have landed on deaf ears!  I had scored two 'home runs', however, albeit the post office 'win' was little more than a battle of wills.  I would point out, as I have done in the past, I do not have a problem with the post office, per se, and the staff at my local facility are amazing.

My weekend was somewhat less eventful than the rest of the week. Having to take myself shopping was a novelty.  As I went to put petrol in my car at Costco, I found that, once again, I was stymied by technology.  I have no idea why I cannot fathom where to put a card! I tried to insert it every which way into the stand, but found it would not work.  The very pleasant attendant came to my rescue, and I realised that I could not see the 'wood for the trees'.  I had been trying to insert it in the wrong place!  Story of my life.  (One which I failed to tell the theatre chappie!)   Not only did the pleasant attendant insert the card, but he very kindly started to fill my car! "I shall start you off.  It's not complicated, but if you don't know how...".  I tried not to laugh.  Instead I was emphatically grateful! He should have seen this 'innocent, unwordly'' woman in action this week!  

The temperature was such that I did manage to take the first swim of the season on Saturday, but it was not warm enough to sit and basque in the sun.  It was a good, brisk swim, but I did realise that walking would be the order of the day for a week or two.  

Image may contain: dogThe neurotic dachshund is currently barking at every noise that remotely sounds like his parents are here, and going to rescue him from the woman who exploits his 'issues' for her own gain! For all his foibles, he has a keen sense on when he is going to be taken back to his own kennel.  I shall not be sorry to say farewell.  After all, I will see him at the office all week.  In the meantime, I have to plan what to wear for my great adventure next weekend.  Probably jeans and a t-shirt, as we are in Austin, but I will leave that aspect of my life for ............ another story!

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