5-19-13 Sunday (They Did)

What a busy weekend!

Thursday night we had Ruby and Jamie’s wedding rehearsal followed by a pizza party at their house.  For their wedding (Friday), I took 4 hours PTO.  The pizza party was fun, alcohol was flowing and I time marched on.  I had to call out sick for the 4 hours I didn’t have scheduled. 

On Friday afternoon, Jim and I got ready for the wedding.  Jim was a groomsman and the limo was to pick us up at about 4ish.  When the limo arrived, it was smaller than anticipated and so one of the groomsman was going to have to sit up front with the driver.  Since I wasn’t in the wedding party, I opted to stay home and ride to the venue later myself.  In the meantime, I was given the task of picking up some stuff from the bride’s house.  It all worked out.  Now Jim and I had a car available so we didn’t have to wait on others.

The wedding was awesome.  The venue was an old bank.  The lobby, where the ceremony and reception was held was so ornate and pretty.  The original vault was cool looking.  It can be seen in a few rehearsal photos I took but was covered during the actual wedding.

2013-05-17 006Above: Jim was a Groomsman.

2013-05-17 018Above: Jamie and Ruby.

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2013-05-17 033Above: Jim and our friend Beth.

2013-05-17 036Above: Jim, Ruby, Garret

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Above/Below: Me and Angie

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Saturday morning, like way too early, we dragged ourselves out of bed and dropped Dasher off to the vet to have surgery.  Once again, he’s got “growths” that needed to be removed.

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Also on Saturday, work begins on our sprinkler system install.  It’s a cheap way of doing it since the guy basically connects lines to the hose bib and runs a special hose with sprinkler heads underground.  If it were done the expensive way, we’d have to get a special water meter, permit, license to do this, a degree in that, and all the other bullshit the county does to collect an extra $2k. Naturally, they had issues.  In most places the ground is too hard so he’s going to have to rent a trench digger.  First he had to call and get the utilities marked.  It’s a work in progress.

Rant Animated 1Continuing the story of Budget and their Priceline scam, a refresher.  When we arrived in FL and went to the Budget counter to pick up our car per the Priceline reservation, we made no changes.  No upgrades, no deletions.  We were asked if we wanted to upgrade from the Hyundai Accent to the Elantra.  We declined.  We ended up getting an Elantra anyway which I suspect was all they had left.  Funny how that worked.  We were presented with an $11.63 balance.  We questioned it, she said it was what Priceline doesn’t cover.  Meanwhile, the next agent over had presented another customer with the exact same scenario.  We just signed.  It was after 10pm.  Upon return of the car, I questioned it.  She said it was a fee Priceline charges.  I told her that wasn’t true since Budget was collecting the monies.  She said we’d have to call corporate.   We did.


Here’s some excerpts of emails back and forth.  It’s in purple (we) blue (they) so feel free to skip over the email stuff if you don’t really give a crap:

I made this reservation via Priceline.  Per Priceline when you accepted this reservation, ALL fees and charges were to be covered.  There were to be NO additional charges.  Why was I charged this fee at the counter. When can I expect the refund I am due?

Typically, at the time of every Budget reservation, we ask renters to provide us with important information that can affect your rate. These details include expected duration of your rental, dates, times and locations. This information is gathered through our reservation centers, rental counters, from a web site, or from a travel agent. Your rental fee was calculated based on this data, with the understanding that if any of your rental parameters changed at any point, it could affect your quoted rate.

After reviewing our records carefully, we have determined that this is what happened in your case. When your rental circumstances changed, a different rate (that accurately met your new rental parameters) was applied to your contract. I am sorry for any miscommunication or inconvenience.

Because we value your business, we have adjusted the rental agreement in the amount of 11.63 USD. As the final charges for the rental have not processed yet, the hold on your credit card in the amount of 11.63 USD will simply expire and be returned to your available use. To confirm how long the authorization will hold, please contact your financial institution for their hold time.

Thank you for the refund but I'm not satisfied with the explanation.  I made no changes to the rental.  Please provide me with an explanation of what changed causing fees to be added.  At the time I picked up this reservation, another customer was charged the same thing.  It sounds to me as though you are doing this to all of your customers.  What changes were made?

The reservation was booked for pick up and return at 10:00 PM. When the rental was returned at 12:00 PM, the rate value changed.

Something still isn't right.  My plane got in at 10pm, I picked up at 10ishpm.  The charge was billed to me upon PICKUP.  So how was a $10.63 charge calculated then.  The terms did not change. Incidentally, I returned the car Monday 1/13/13 before noon.  Again, my return info shouldn't matter since this charge was created at the time I picked up my rental.

They ended the banter by thanking me for my feedback.  Jim filed a complaint with the FL state attorney’s office and we’re working on getting the info to Priceline.  Scum bags.

That’s all I got!

5-13-13 Monday (COD)

concertWith my lending authority comes Saturday rotations.  One a month.  I also pulled regular overtime throughout the week so I ended with 11 point something in overtime hours.  I love my job but prefer not to do Saturdays.  On Saturday night Jim and our friend Angie went to Columbia for a Kenny Chesney concert.  I don’t like country and I don’t like concerts.  After work, Jim and I grabbed some lunch before he and Angie hit the road.  I went on to do the grocery shopping and buy another Roomba at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  20% off coupon and a bunch of Discover card points we redeemed kept the out of pocket expense to a minimum. 

Jim said he and Angie enjoyed the concert.  They wanted $60 to park.  They found some parking at a Shriners place for $20.  Shit like that makes me mad. 

Forward a week later and I’m now continuing this blog post from Fort Myers, FL.  I have not one photo as proof.  You’ll have to trust me.

ReceiptI took Friday off of work.  I went to the podiatrist in the morning to have some foot pain looked at.  I was told to wear inserts I have from 2004 or at least generic inserts or he can customer make new orthotics.  I was kinda impressed with his honesty.  I saw the kit used to made customer orthotics in his office and he didn’t push them on me.  The office was pretty old and antiquated.  I don’t even think I saw a computer there.  When I checked out, the receptionist said the copay was $25.  I asked if they took Discover.  She said “cash or check only.”  I said, “I wish I would have known that, since I don’t have much cash.”  She went onto say how she told me, she tells everyone.  I told her she didn’t, she said she wasn’t going to argue.  I gave her $19 of the $25 told her to bill me and left with a crappy receipt out of one of those Office Depot generic receipt books.  I was mad.  I was particularly mad when I had that moment of “I wish I would have said…”  I would have said, “I think I’d remember if you told me something so rare as “I only take checks or cash.”  That’s No credit cardsshocking to me.  I’d remember that.  I also wish I would have said “you already did” when she said she wasn’t going to argue with me.  I had decided I’d be writing a $6 check and a personal note to the doctor and I’d say this and I’d say that but after cooling down, I’m not sure I’ll bother.  But I do think her reply should have been, “I’m sorry, I say it all the time maybe I let one slip by.  Let’s resolve this.” 

I spent the remainder of the day vacuuming, mopping, dusting, etc.  Angie was coming to spend the weekend caring for Dasher.  Jim worked a half day.

imagesWe flew out Friday evening out of Greenville, SC.  Jim got a hell of a deal. $230 roundtrip for 2 of us. We had to drive 1.5 hours to Greenville but it was worth it.  We paid like $13 each to pick our seats for an emergency row.  It was only an hour and half flight but the leg room was nice.  There was some unnerving turbulence and a rough landing but otherwise OK. 

We landed in Punta Gorda and went to the Budget Rental car line.  It was a short line compared to Enterprise and the others.  It was already 10pm.  Even though I paid via Priceline I was told I had to pay $12 for taxes/fees that weren’t covered.  We didn’t argue but we will. 

We met up at Perkins with Mike, Dave and David.  We had a short yet great visit.  We Pricelined a one night stay at the same hotel we were in last month.  This time we weren’t in a 2 bedroom suite but that’s just fine.  The other 2 nights we stayed with Jim’s mom and Morgan.  It was a low key weekend.  Jim visited his Dad and Julie on Saturday and visited with his Mom on Sunday.  I spent Saturday and Sunday with my Mom and Dad as well as seeing my cousin and Aunt. 

It was a short visit but it was a good one.

Pets from the trip:

IMG_1493Above: Jim and Rusty

IMG_1482Above: Cookie

IMG_1486Above: Oreo laying on a pile of cat toys.


Above/Below: I can’t remember my Mom’s bird’s names.


A couple of inflight photos:

IMG_1501Above: No stretchy pouches!  That made it very annoying not to be able to store drink bottles or trash!

IMG_1496Above: Jim admires the engine and is pretty sure in the event of an emergency, we’ll go quick.

IMG_1499Above: Just making sure there’s no one out on the wing.


4-29-13 Monday (Captain Penis)

thinking1_thumb[6]thinking1_thumb[11]Now to catch you up on work stuff.  I love my job, have I mentioned that before?  I love the critical thinking. Ummmmm, I don’t necessarily love the mandatory overtime of 4 hours a week that came with my lending authority.  There’s already a 10% chance that Dasher can’t hold it in before I get home.  Using our neighborhood watch email, Jim put out an email in search of someone who can let Dasher out.  We found an 18 year old across the street.  $20 a week.  According to door lock entry codes in and out of the house, she spends about 6 minutes letting Dasher into the backyard to do his thing.  Now I can work overtime and not worry about Dasher’s urinary needs.

We were leery about supplying someone with a key.  The key can be copied.  A friend or someone could take her key and other neurotic thoughts.  We bought an electronic door lock that links to the computer where we can set up codes and such.  We can use our smartphone to remotely unlock the door or see who has come/gone using a unique code assigned to them.  It’s a $300 investment between the computer hub and the lock itself from a Lowes and Schlage partnership of sorts.  It’s totally expandable with thermostats, alarms, sensors, etc.  The software and controller hub Lowes uses is called Iris.  It’s really cool but not quite as powerful as we want.  We were expecting to be able to create one time use codes or limit a code to specific times or days of the week.  It just isn’t that advanced.  I called the support desk to see if I was missing something, and I’m not.  Then there’s levels to the software. For free you get this, that or the other thing and for premium ($9 a month) you get this, that and the other thing.  Even with premium, it still won’t do exactly what we want.  So with further research, days of it, I found other hubs (controllers) that will work with the door lock (Z-Wave).  I’m going with Mi Casa Verde’s VeraLite.  It’s $80 more than our previous setup but there’s no monthly fee.  It will do what we want.

We made another trip to Augusta this weekend.  That’s 3 weekends in a row.  We won’t be back for a few weeks.  We’ve got a trip to Florida coming up, Ruby and Jamie’s wedding and a weekend I have to work  a Saturday. 

On Saturday night, we went into downtown Augusta for dinner.  Afterwards, we walked around hoping we’d leave weighing less than when when we arrived.  That didn’t happen.  Walking past a store front, I spotted this:

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I exclaimed, “Is that a penis complete with balls?” Indeed it was.  The device it holds in its hands was on a shelf behind it.  I could barely make out that it was some device of sorts.  The front door told the story:

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You never know what you’ll see in downtown Augusta.