3-30-12 Friday (Deport The Geese!)

I took today off to help my “numbers” at work.  I hope it works.  It’s difficult to explain but the basics is that it has to do with how many phone calls I take vs. my sales.

Perhaps I should rename this blog to “The Rant”.  Or “The Tirade”.

Rant 4

The Canadian Geese are at it again.  They have nested in the same place as last year.  This time, building maintenance has cautioned off the area with yellow tape, orange traffic cones and signs.  I was pretty annoyed about this.  The nest is right in the middle of the parking lot.  Sometimes depending on where the male decides to stand guard, it’s nearly impossible to avoid him without walking 2 blocks out of my way and that’s not gonna happen.  I found out that they’re a protected species?  What?  There’s so many of them, they poop all over and are very territorial.  I’ve heard of people being knocked to the ground. So with my man purse / lunch cooler armed in ready status, the goose flew at me as expected and within inches of my head I bunted the bastard.  Yes, I did.  I was much more successful this time than the last.


I called Monro customer service again.  Naturally they had no record of our messages from Sunday or Tuesday.  I explained our disappointment about the repeated repair attempts to the customer service rep, Chris.  Chris said he’d contact the store to find out what happened.  He called back and said that he spoke with the store manager, Jeremy.  Jeremy says he was getting ready smooth the pads and rotors but we requested the vehicle back before the repairs could be made.  I asked, "what time does that location close?"  "5:30" he replied.  I said, "So we dropped off the vehicle Saturday, on SUNDAY the time on my receipt is 5:14, you close at 5:30 and I didn't give him a chance?"  Chris apologized.  I asked for a refund.  He was stuck on giving them the opportunity to make it right.  I asked "how many opportunities do you get?  Is the district manager involved?"  "not yet".  I asked to speak with him and left a long message on his voice mail.

Monro's Hours

A few hours later the District Manager, Roger, called me back.  I told him I’d give them one more chance… against my better judgment.  I expect to get priority.  I expect to be informed.  Roger agreed.  Friday night we dropped off the Jeep.  We’ll see.

Dinner with Mike & Billy at Red Robin.  I see Billy almost every day at work but haven’t seen Mike in a couple of weeks.  He transferred out of my department into a processing type position that he seems to enjoy.  I’m envious.  I’ll admit it.  Since jealousy is a wasted emotion, I’ll just be happy for him.

My mom is due to arrive here this Thursday the 5th.  Unfortunately she’s in the hospital with a urinary tract infection.  They suspect more than just that and have ordered blood tests.  Will she make it in time?

I can’t believe I’ve had this blog for so long:

DIH Animated 3-30-11
My new job.
Video gaming.
Untrue advertising.
Another car repair place bites the dust.
Best Buy gets points.
Sears gets points.




3-27-12 Tuesday (Spiritual Cars)

On Sunday we finished up the Mad Monster Party with a Q&A session of the Walking Dead


It was hosted by Chandler Riggs who plays the young boy, Carl.  The running joke is that he’s always told to go in the house or wait in the car or whatever.  Addy Miller played the first zombie (aka Walker).

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The audience asked questions.  Chandler and Addy answered as best they could while being mindful of contract obligations. 

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Jim and I walked around the convention for a final time.  We almost considered having ourselves painted up again.

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Later in the week I received an email with a photo we had taken of us while at the convention.  It was photographed in front of a green screen and we were able to chose a prop and a background.  It was free.


That was from Friday night.  On Saturday when we had make-up on, Jim had suggested getting another done.  I felt like I’d be abusing the “free” part so I passed.  Perhaps I should have.

Rant Warning

Monro called us Saturday saying they needed the manager/master tech to take a look at the Jeep and it would be first thing in the morning.  We waited until early afternoon without a call from them.  We called them and got a run around.  With it approaching their closing time we stopped in.  The manager is the only master tech and also works the front desk.  So, he’s got a lot of responsibilities.  When I look back at my previous receipts it print the managers names.  We counted at least 7 in 2 years. How poorly run… no wonder they have so much turn-over.   Sadly it reminds me of my unfortunate employment at AAA Car Care.  Anyway, manager dude says everything “physically looks OK”.  As opposed to spiritually?  He doesn’t know why it’s squeaking and confirms he heard it.  He says he may scuff up the pads because it looks like the brakes were overheated.  I have 2 things to say.  Bull Shit.  The brakes have squeaked every single time after they try a repair.  And what the hell do you mean try to do something?  It’s been there for 2 days already.

I demanded a copy of the work order and the Jeep and we departed.  I called Monro’s 800 number and got a voicemail.  I left a detailed message citing the store location, invoice number, name and return phone number.  I gave a general gist of the concern/complaint.  Monday came… no return call. 

This is funny and deserves it’s own paragraph.  Tuesday night we decide to call them again.  It’s 5:45.  Jim holds.  No hold music.  After about 5-10 minutes the line disconnects.  He calls again at 5:55 and they close at 6.  The recording says the approximate hold time is 10 minutes.  Jim says “well this outta be interesting”.  We put it on speaker and prepare dinner.  At about 6:10, the recording states the hold time is approximately 2 minutes.  We’re getting closer.  Every few minutes it says the same.  It’s now 20 minutes later.  The recording says 2 minutes.  It’s 6:20.  We hang up, call back, get the answering machine and leave yet another message.  That was TUESDAY.  I typed this on Friday morning.  No return call.  2 calls and messages to customer service.   Monro sucks. 

In other car woes, the BMW has a clunking noise on bumps.  We had just paid a lot of money to Tire Kingdom to repair this issue with struts and strut mounts.  The week after it was repaired, the noise came back while we were in Asheville.  This weekend Jim decided to check under the hood.  1 out of 3 bolts is broken.  He decided we’d bring it in and NOT tell them about the bolt and see if they come up with that themselves or if they lie and say something else was wrong.  Eventually they tell us they don’t hear the noise and to come pick up the car.  Jim was fuming.  He went down there, lifted the hood, showed them and they ordered the replacement part.

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We cannot find a good car repair place.  This is the 3rd Tire Kingdom location in Charlotte that has made us mad.  BMW tried screwing us.  Monro sucks.  What to do?

Thursday morning I went to the hygienist for my follow-up-after-the-root-planing-visit.  The “pockets” of my gums/teeth has decreased substantially!  Yay.  Is it that Sonicare toothbrush?  Whatever it is I’m happy!

3-24-12 Saturday (How Peopleofwalmart Are Born)

A busy day for sure! We went to BJ’s for our weekly food run. We dropped the Jeep off at Monro for the 856th time for brake noises and stopped at Garden Ridge to return lamp shades. I’m sure I’ll elaborate on all of that later.

Lunch at Shane’s Rib Shack.  We’ve been here several times and always seem to forget that we don’t like their mac and cheese and that they seem to over cook their chicken tenders.  other than that their BBQ is tasty.

We returned to the Blake Hotel for day 2 of the Mad Monster Party. First order of business was to get some adult face painting done.  For airbrush only was $10 and $5 for latex.  I thought that was very reasonable.  Jim opted for the zombie look and I went for a gunshot wound to the face with entrance and exit points.

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2012-03-24 001Above: A general photo of the crowd at the special guest star autograph tables.

2012-03-24 015Above: An elaborate costume.

It was fun to people watch.  There were so many people with costumes and makeup.  A saw a definite connection between the Goth, punk, tattoo, and piercing community with this convention. 

We left the convention, stopped home and got ready for the evening’s event… a haunted house.  First dinner at Sake Express in Belmont.  This was Japanese food, fast food style.  The Japanese chefs worked giant griddles with veggies and meats.  Their shrimp sauce, egg roll and fried rice was good.  It was all the yummy stuff without the showmanship at a Japanese steak house which also means a more doable price.  It appeared to be a local chain with 3-4 locations only.  Remember, we were in makeup.  Jim explained why we appeared as we did a few times.  I would have offered no explanation.

Our 3 day pass for the convention also included admission to the Haunted Mill.  While waiting in line, I saw this on the front of a window:

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If this is what you do for a living, shouldn’t your business name be centered with the rest of it?  Wouldn’t a space after each comma have been appropriate?  Why is Athletic Team Supplies capitalized?  Why isn’t there a comma after “supplies” since “signs” is probably a different product?  Why is Signs capitalized?  Why is there a period after “trophys”?  Isn’t the plural of trophy, trophies?  Why am I complaining about this so much?

Anyway, the Haunted Mill was absolutely amazing.  It had me scared 90% of the time.  Room after room, different themes with staff jumping out and scaring us.  A stock photo:


They did an amazing job!

Again, still dressed a freaks, we stopped at a Walmart.  I wonder if we’ll make it to the peopleofwalmart.com webpage? 

3-23-12 Friday (Halloween?)

Here’s a shocker.  Jim bought a Groupon.  I know right?  He bought it a few weeks ago for some big event called the Mad Monster Party.  Think sci-fi convention and replace that with horror movie stuff.  How cool is that?


Jim bought a 3 day pass.  I really didn’t know what to expect.  We arrived, parked and approached the hotel.  There was the car from Christine, the Ghost Busters car and plenty of hearses.

Once inside I recognized a star or two.  I didn’t even know there were special guests.  They charged to do autograph signing, most of them for special charities.  The most popular I recognized of the 40 stars was Linda Blair, William Katt, Dee Wallace, Tracy Lords, John Russo, Derek Mears, and Richard Moll.  For many others I recognized their role but never really knew their name. 

IMAG0003Above: To the left is William Katt.

IMAG0002Above: Tony Todd (Candyman)

Inside a huge ballroom, vendors were set up selling different horror oriented wares.  Tshirts, action figures, props, posters, etc.  Ace Frehley was in another room signing autographs and talking to people.  Up the hall, another room had live scorpions, mice, tarantulas, snakes, hissing cockroaches and other creepy horror movie type insects/animals.  Other rooms were used for movie screenings.  Interestingly, Philip Morris (a horror host like Elvira) spoke about his career.  He owns and runs Morris Costumes right here in Charlotte! At the rental, we lived near their distribution center but never knew what it was.  The sign outside simply said “Morris”. 


Philip Morris claimed to have made the Big Foot costume for the famed Big Foot video shown below.

3-18-12 Sunday (Fart Fantastic)

Other then some rain here and there, the weather has been gorgeous.  Last weekend was very cold, this weekend called for shorts.  Many trees are blooming and the rain will probably help that happen even more.


I found out I had gotten a 0 on a customer satisfaction survey at work that will result in me losing about $800 in incentive.  My boss and I listened to the call, it was under 2 minutes long.  I was very polite, but the customer had no account information for me to identify him.  Although he made no indication of being angry, he hung up while I was explaining what I could and can’t do.  There’s 5 questions about me on the survey and anything less than a perfect score results in a 0!  The average for all 5 questions was 0.  I was so pissed.  My boss is going to “dispute” the score and hopefully we’ll win.   So far for the quarter I have 4 100’s, an 80 and now this 0.  The crazy thing about these surveys is that even if I’m on track to make a $3000 incentive I could lose it all if my score is below a certain number.  It’s incentive control, that’s what it is.  It’s incredibly unfair.  And no, they don’t tell you all of this during an interview. 


Jim installed a new fart fan in the master bath.  Yeah, I said fart fan.  It’s what our previous builders sales person called it and I’ll never forget it.  The toilet is in a separate room with it’s own fan and this one was near the shower so technically it’s not a fart fan that we replaced… more like a steam fan.  Since the fan was stronger and larger, Jim had to enlarge the hole.  The created drywall dust.  Naturally I had to clean the entire bathroom but it needed it anyway I guess.

Next Jim tackled the dining room chandelier!  Other than a hole that needs patching we’re done.  The chandelier is a $100 Habitat For Humanity ReStore find.


My cell phone had some crazy LCD screen bleed going on.  The colors were strange.  I tried everything.  It was almost like someone had put a magnet too close to a computer screen.  We went to Verizon where they ordered a warranty replacement.

Later, for dinner, we met up with Josh, Erin and Brian at Intermezzo Pizzeria and Café.  It serves Serbian food.  Yes, really.  Jim has been there before with Mike and Billy I think when I was in Florida.  It was tasty.  It’s Italian-esque. Everyone seemed to enjoy their meal.  I know I usually post photos, menu clips, food reviews and what nots but I’m just behind.


Oh.  Sunday?  Well.  Uh.  I’m typing this on Saturday of the following week so thinking back to Sunday seems a life time ago. 

We met up with Jamie and Ruby near the motorhome.  Jamie does work on motorhomes so we asked him to give us an estimate on painting the RV, redoing the rubber roof and some other stuff to get it back into shape.  For brunch we went over to Mimi’s.  Usually I get a mimosa but I tried their Bloody Mary and it was good.  It was Ruby’s birthday! 

Jim and I headed over to the mall and did some shopping.  Later we did the usual meal planning and grocery shopping.


Later in the week, my supervisor challenged the customer survey and with success, it was tossed out!  Yay!

This week I was off the phones quite a bit for special projects and even spent a day in a new hire class mentoring on different subjects.  I do like to teach and oddly I was told I should be an instructor by several people.  Maybe a new career path?

Some other Someday

I was craving Chinese food.  No, I’m not pregnant, I just look like it.  Anyway, we went to our favorite Chinese buffet.  We hadn’t been there in a long time and it was certainly yummy.  My fortune was:

A scalded cat from cold water runs.

What happened to fortune cookies?  When did lame ass fortunes occur?  I remember they were awesome.  I remember you could add “while in bed” to the end and they’d be funny.  Now?  They don’t make sense and when they do make sense they don’t sound like fortunes.  Not that what I said made any sense but you know what I mean.


3-11-12 Sunday (Gum For The Blind)

Unfortunately our weekend in Asheville had to come to and end.  We had a late check out time so with that prearranged we went to Tupelo Honey Café for breakfast.  I ordered a fried chicken atop gravy and biscuits.  Yum.  Jim had an omelet.   We shared a sweet potato pancake, our favorite.

Some final photos of Asheville:

2012-03-11 016Above: This is what makes Asheville so awesome.

2012-03-10 001Above: My gum package was missing a piece.  It had 8 raised dots in it’s place.  Jim said it was braille for “no gum here”.

2012-03-11 014Above:  Our hotel had location, location, location but definitely missed it’s mark on style.  Yes, that’s a pedestal sink next to a water fountain.  There isn’t even paper towels or soap.  Maybe it doesn’t even work?

2012-03-11 015Above: The creepy wallpaper is on upside down to the left of the door but on correctly to the right of the door.  That’s the trouble with creepy floral patterns, very tricky.

So we loaded up the car, grabbed the dog and drove back to Charlotte.  We’ll miss Asheville. 

Well that was a short post…

3-10-12 Saturday (Secret Pricing)

As typical, we woke up real early.  Jim wanted to go to one of our favorite spots, Tupelo Honey Café , for breakfast.  The hotel offered a free continental breakfast.  Decisions, decisions.  For a time saver, I chose the hotel since we will and have been eating out every meal.  With the time we stayed eating here, we were afforded a nap.  I don’t seem to nap very well so it was mostly awake time for me.

This is the life.  Eat.  Nap.  Eat.  So off to lunch we went.  We had another voucher for the Twisted Crepe.  We had dessert there yesterday and their regular food items did not disappoint.  I had the Levi’s Country Club and Jim had the Larry on the Go (slightly modified).  They were so good.


For dessert, yes, a lunch dessert, we spotted a new bakery, Karen Donatelli Cake Designs.  In fact we learned that this was their first week as a soft grand opening.  The desserts in the case were so “pretty”.  The ambiance of the building reeled us in as well.  The owners son made us feel welcome.  The prices were shockingly low.  Look at my dessert.  Look how fancy.  Before you read what the price was, guess.  To reveal the price, highlight this box ----> $4.50.

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I know, right?  Mine was a chocolate cake with white cream covered in a chocolate gonache.  It had raspberry sauce around it.  Jim’s was a cheesecake covered with Oreo and Butter Finger.  Mmmmmmm.

2012-03-10 003Above: Jim’s cheesecake.

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Above/Below: Great place!

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It was time to do something besides eat.  (My healthy blog friend Norma is probably shaking her head… profusely).  On to the North Carolina Arboretum we went.  Lots of walking.  Surely that counts for something.  The only downfall is that much of the flowering trees and plants haven’t quite bloomed.  We still enjoyed the walk around the arboretum. 

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For before dinner drinks and appetizers we redeemed another certificate.  We went to Treasure Keepers.   They serve wine and limited appetizers in a back area called Heavenly Spirits Winebar.  Think café meets antique store.  You sit at and on the merchandise.  Many of their items came from the Bernie Madoff estate.  We had a Hummus trio with pita chips and a glass of Moscato wine.

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2012-03-10 010Above: Playing dress-up with Jim.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  Yes, I thought so, time for another certificate for dinner at Lexington Avenue Brewery (aka LAB).  It’s a big ole bar/pub with untraditional pub foods.  I had a delicious and tender flank steak while Jim had the meatloaf.  We enjoyed the meals!

We stopped by a hippie shop of sorts.  It featured the typical pipes, incense and tie-dye stuff.  Jim bought a tie-dye shirt and I bought a fabulous hat:

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We finished off the evening by going to one of the local gay bars for some drinks.  It wasn’t very exciting.  I think I’m too old.  Smile

3-9-12 Friday (Mini Golf Brought To You By Jesus)

How I Spent My Winter Vacation by Garret

OK, so more like how I spent my long weekend.  Jim and I had taken Friday off for a trip to Asheville.  We had several Groupon’s, Living Social, Restaurant.com, and what ever else’s that were soon to expire.  We found it to be a perfect reason for a getaway. 

Friday: We packed up the last of what could not be packed up from Thursday and then headed to Mimi’s for breakfast and mimosas.  Mmmmmm.  We then returned to the house to pickup Dasher and hit the road to Asheville. 

We checked into the Asheville Downtown Inn & Suites.  It’s not a great hotel but it is located in the heart of downtown.  It offered continental breakfast and free WiFi.  It’s within walking distance of our favorite shops and restaurants.  The price was right too!  While waiting for our room to be ready, Jim, Dasher and I waited in the lobby and entertained ourselves with our phones.  Some lady was complaining that one of the elevators was ugly and that they really should provide a night light in her room for safety.  So many time in the middle of the night she made a wrong turn to find the bathroom.  A wrong turn?  Lady, the rooms aren’t that big.  Leave the bathroom light on with the door cracked.  Bring your own night light.  Hell, we pack clothes pins to clip the drapes together, we bring pliers in case we need to “fix” the shower head and bring an extension cord just in case.  She can always stay her ass at home or stop admitting that you’re a dumbass and can’t learn from your mistakes the first night.  There.

We got into the room and quickly rearranged it.  They had a microwave/mini fridge combo stored under the coat rack.  Ummmmm, how can my clothes possibly hang?  We relocated the table and 2 chairs to be over by the window as a seating area and “internet café”.   The mini fridge got moved to the other side of a wall.  We also added glitter and sequins to the lamp shades as well as a delightful area rug with rich colors and textures to tie it all together.  You decide what’s not true.  I wish I had taken before/after photos.  Now the room is so messy I’m embarrassed.  There simply isn’t enough horizontal spaces to put crap on. 

Redeeming a Living Social certificate, we ate lunch at Cucina24.  What an awesome place.  The menu changes daily so I took a photo of the section we ordered from.  Read the interesting descriptions of the 2 dishes we ordered and split.  The server said that the pizza was gorgeous.  She was right.  The colors and textures (less glitter and sequins) did make it a pretty dish.  The restaurant itself had so much character and a great ambiance.  Maybe their website shows some photos?

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Who knew squash and brussel sprouts could taste so good on a pizza?

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After lunch we returned to the hotel to walk Dasher, retrieve our next certificate and grab the car.  Off to Fun Depot we went.  We rode Go-Karts and played video games.  We played air hockey.  We played mini golf.  I noticed each hole had bible scripture stuff.  Gag.  Friend and Asheville resident, April, commented on Facebook not to forget to play biblical golf.  That totally summed it up. 

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Jim and I also played a lot of games that gave us redemption type tickets that could be redeemed for the usual cheap candy, prizes and other useless crap.  Instead of tickets, the points were awarded to a card we used throughout the Fun Depot.  With 300 points in combined “winnings” we really weren’t interested in any of the rewards so we gave it to a mom with 2 kids.  She thanked us profusely as if we were feeding her family for a year or something.  Maybe there’s some background story to it?

We retuned to the hotel, got settled in a little more (created more messes), and got ready to go out for dinner.  Yes, with another certificate.  This time for a Restaurant.com certificate to Vincenzo's Ristorante & Bistro.  Just like Cucina24, this place also rocked it in the décor and ambiance department.  We ate in the piano bar downstairs.  Jim and I had fun playing Name That Tune when the next song played.  I was torn between the Cannelloni and the Chicken Marsala dish. They were good.  The server helped me decide by choosing the later.  Jim asked for the tortellini dish with an Alfredo sauce.  It too was yummy.  Their bread and “herb infused olive oil with fresh parmesan cheese” dipping oil all sucked.  I think they missed the mark on that.  The bread was dry and flavorless while it appeared someone had forgotten to infuse the oil with the aforementioned herbs. 

Several blocks away, we waddled to Twisted Crepe for dessert with a Groupon.  Weight Watchers?  What’s that?  I had the Reese’s Cup Crepe and Jim had The Beckett Crepe.  Yum yum.


That ended our night and let me tell you, we were wiped.