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Sunday, June 9, 2013

I'm a HOG

When I first heard that my husband bought a Harley Davidson motorcycle he called me from the dealership and said "we" now own a Harley. I had no clue he was even thinking about buying one. Dollar signs flashed in front of my eyes along with the monthly mortgage payment, college tuition payment, college dorm payment, car payment. But let's be honest, what really stuck in my crawl was that he bought it without discussing it with me.

I decided if he's got this thing I might as well go on rides with him. We usually go with our local H.O.G. chapter. Every weekend they have a ride or two going on beautiful back roads with our destination usually being a restaurant for lunch.

The more I ride with him, the more I enjoy it. I like the fresh air and smelling the woods or flowers as we ride by. It's also a great way to spend time together. I can't believe I'm saying this but, I'd like it we moved up to a bigger bike (for a more cushiony ride.)

Yes, that's me with a doo rag. I can't believe I'm wearing one, but it makes the helmet more comfortable. You won't see me wearing a bikini top and tight leather pants (believe me, it's best for everyone involved.)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Technology VS Meat Sacks

My husband, Glenn Childress, recently encountered poor customer service with Enterprise Car Rental. Here is his account of the conversations (or lack thereof). 

Technology vs. meat sacks? Not a question obviously, but one human being trying to reach another human being that cares at Enterprise Car Rental. I have been a loyal "road warrior" renter for years and have relied on and been satisfied by Enterprise--until now. 

I left home for a 3 week business trip last week and lost my license at the airport while checking in at the ticket counter. I flew home this morning just to go to the Georgia Driver Services office to have my license replaced. I was issued a Georgia temporary license.  

I called Enterprise and after great difficulty trying to wade through the "customer service" automated prompts I was finally magically connected to the local Enterprise office near my home. Ryan at the Roswell, GA Enterprise office told me that he would accept my license but then provided me with the direct # to the Philadelphia Airport location. When I called the Philadelphia airport to confirm that my license would be accepted, I was told that Enterprise will NOT accept any state issued temporary license. 

I then contacted Hertz through their Executive office and actually spoke with a human being. She simply listened to my tale of frustration and said, "What can I do to help?" She confirmed that they will accept my temporary license and gave me her name and direct phone to use on the reservation in case I encountered any problems. That, my friends, is customer service!

I will now rent from Hertz exclusively. If you believe that I am just being an angry "hater" then you may want to look up the Enterprise Rental history for #57ZGQ3D in your business rental program. By the way, you should add a selection to the "Subject" list to at least include a dissatisfied customer, but then maybe I was the first. Goodbye.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Barney Fife Alive and Well

Do you remember your first experience being pulled over by a cop? You pass his car sitting off the side of the road. You look at the speedometer. Oh no, I'm speeding. Your stomach drops and a weird sick feeling follows. Your pulse quickens. Panic sets in. You check the rear view mirror. Yep, he's pulling out. Oh boy, there go the blue lights. You slow down to below the speed limit. What IS the speed limit? One last check in the rear view mirror. Wow, he's close to my bumper. You move to the shoulder of the road. Let's see if he's after me. Yep, he's pulling over with me. Sweat has formed on your brow. Your heart is pumping. You lower your window and sit as still as possible with your hands on the steering wheel. Don't want him thinking I'm going for a gun. He gets out of his cruiser and cautiously approaches the driver's side window with his hand hovering above his gun in case it's needed. Then you hear those words, "Mam, do you have any idea what speed you were going?" You reply no. "Driver's license and registration, please," he sternly says.

This recently happened to my daughter. She's 19 and never been pulled over before. In her case, the policeman was a city of Woodstock motorcycle cop. She doesn't get asked about her speed. Instead he says, "Mam, you failed to signal when changing lanes back there. License, registration and proof of insurance, please."

He went back to his motorcycle, did some paperwork, then returned to my daughter's car. He handed her a ticket for $154. 

She had the option to pay the ticket or go to traffic court on an appointed date. She opted for going to court. 

A few weeks later she showed up for court. There was a line out the door of other people checking in--there must have been 80 people there. She discovered that traffic court happens Monday through Friday, every week, at 5:30 PM.

She finally gets into the courtroom. The judge begins to call up groups of people with similar traffic violations. Her group is called. The judge tells them they can plead guilty, pay the fine and no points will appear on their record. Or, they could plead not guilty and return for another court date and face a possible fine of $1,000. Guess which option she chose? Yep, she paid the fine and got out of there.

Here's my beef, it was her first traffic violation and it was for NOT USING HER BLINKER. She wasn't speeding. She wasn't driving recklessly. I think a warning would have been sufficient. This guy decides he needs to teach her a lesson and give her a ticket.

Now, court is held everyday and there were at least 80 people there for one appearance. Most people were opting to pay the fine. Think about how much money the city of Woodstock is making on traffic violations! Granted, some of the offenses were serious traffic violations. But they just made $154 off of my daughter for NOT USING HER BLINKER. I didn't even realize this was a law--but I sure do now!

Yes, I'm venting. Yes, I'm angry. I'm writing all of this to warn anyone driving through Woodstock, Ga. to beware of over zealous policemen making money for the city and to watch your speed and make sure to USE YOUR BLINKER because Deputy Fife is on duty!

I'm not even going to get into the emotional trauma she experienced. Suffice it to say that she drives very cautiously through Woodstock and everywhere.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Laid Off -- Now What?

I was laid off from my job at the end of last year. I Googled "jobs for people over 50." (I'm over 50 if you haven't guessed.) Results came back with: crossing guard, private detective, senior living aide, operating room clean up person, x-ray technician, medical assistant, tour guide, ghost writer and the list goes on.

I couldn't be a private detective--might have to spy on people having affairs or maybe climb up a tree for a higher perch to spy from. The operating clean up person would be a stretch for me--I'd probably drop the surgical instruments. Being a tour guide has promise--I could use a microphone. Self-doubt set in. Thoughts went through my mind that maybe I'm too old to get another job--might as well put me out to pasture. The problem with this way of thinking is that if you dwell on it long enough, you start to really believe it and it couldn't be further from the truth.

In the article from Forbes, "How to Great a Job When You're Over 50," Renée Rosenberg, a career counselor who specializes in over-50 job seekers says, "The kiss of death is hunkering down behind your computer, reading job boards and sending your résumé into a black hole. ... It’s a matter of being open to change, being willing to change and looking at which of your skills are transferable.” (Full article).

That is so true! I was encouraged to attend job networking events in my area. Roswell United Methodist Church (RUMC) has a job ministry that has been around for 25+ years. They offer free workshops on resume writing, how to network, one-on-one LinkedIn profile reviews, how to find hidden jobs (and more). Experts in these areas volunteer their time to lead the workshops. Dinner is offered for a $3 donation. My mind has been opened to new ways of thinking. I've been encouraged. I've met super nice people who are in the same boat I am.

I could keep going, but I'll continue with what I'm learning in more blog posts.

If you live in the Atlanta area and are out of work and need help finding a job, check out these job networking groups:

Crossroads Career Network
North Point Community Church Job Networking
Christ Centered Career Groups (C3G)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Something Stinks

A couple of years ago we bought a new, energy efficient washer and dryer. We opted for the front loading washer because it saved on water. Everything was great. The clothes would get so rung out in the spin cycle that it didn't take much time to dry them.

A few months later I kept smelling a bad odor coming from the laundry room. We quickly figured out that it was coming from the washer. How could this be? A new washer stinking? I googled the problem (I love the Internet!) and discovered that the water doesn't drain all the way out of the washer, so it sits in the bottom of the drum and mildews. It's a common problem with front loading washers. Wish we had known this before buying. I have tried several washing machine cleaners that you run through the washer, none of them worked.

Then I saw an ad on TV for Tide washing machine cleaner. I had to try it. It worked! It even cleaned the black mildew in the rubber door seal! It smells great! I wanted to share this with other unsuspecting front loading washer owners that there is hope and a great cleaner is on the market. Tide, please don't stop making it!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Help for the Homeless

Living on Skid Row, Ron Thomas' life was changed by a chance encounter with a little girl. He is now helping the people living on the street that he once called home. Watch his inspiring story.

This is a video that I adapted for a young audience. This required writing the script, new shot selection, editing & choosing voice over talent & music.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A New Attitude

The lyrics to Patti Labelle's "New Attitude" are running though my head. The beginning of the song goes like:

Runnin' hot, runnin' cold I was runnin' into overload,
it was extreme I took it so high, so low  
So low, there was nowhere to go like a bad dream
Somehow the wires uncrossed, 

my tables were turned  
Never knew I had such a lesson to learn
I'm feelin' good from my head to my shoes 

Know where I'm goin' and I know what to do 
I tied it up my point of view 
I got a new attitude!

I'm at a career crossroads right now and it's become clear that I need a new attitude. I "got the ax" from my job in September 2012. The signs were there that it was coming, but still when you walk into a conference room where your boss, your boss' boss, and the head of HR are at sitting at the table you know what's about to happen.

I had tried to prepare myself for this moment, but I still got that pit in the bottom of my stomach and had to fight back tears (my boss was crying, so that made it hard.) I was let go due to the company trimming back. No issues there, like I said, I kind of knew it was coming.

Even though I was laid off due to budget cuts, it still did a number on my confidence and self-esteem. During the month of October through December I took time to slow down and think about what I really wanted to do--work part-time, find a job close to home, find a job I would be passionate about, or not work? Not working was not an option. My husband and I have a daughter in college and we'd like to keep it that way until she graduates.

With encouragement from several people, I'm "networking." Sometimes when I'm in a large crowd of people, I clam up and the introvert in me comes out. So, I was tentative about mingling with a bunch of other people who also didn't have jobs. But you know, once I get myself out the door and to the job networking event, I usually come away with new insights, encouragement and having met some really nice people.

This is what finally hit home: my attitude in looking for a job plays a huge role in searching for a job. Today's speaker at C3G (Christ Centered Career Group) talked about helping others find a job and not focusing on myself and MY hunt for a job. He also talked about once you do get a job, to keep up the good attitude.

Although my attitude is a work in progress, I feel like "the tables have turned ... (I) know where I'm going and I know what to do ... I got a new attitude!"

Enjoy Patti's hit from the 80's