Saturday, December 26, 2015

So long, and good night!

Hi everyone - this is Alex Hanna, Leslie's son. I'm sure by now you have all heard the news. If not, I want to apologize for sharing it in this way.  Yesterday afternoon (Dec. 25), our mother passed away. It was far more sudden than any of us expected. Her family is here, and we are so very grateful for all the support and love over the years.

As you all know, she placed an incredible value on her friends. You are all among her best friends, and for that, I want to share my thanks. She will be missed.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

So Now What?

I recently made two different recipes that each called for a common ingredient, but in an unusual amount. With some things, like flour or butter, I'm used to varying quantities, because we see these items as "bulk" and we just use what we need and are prepared to store the rest.

Most recipes that use canned goods are written to accommodate a full can of a product. For example: a pumpkin pie calls for a can of pumpkin (it does specify what size can) and a can of evaporated milk. The recipes are written/developed that way, or the canned stuff is just made that way. Baking magic.

For Thanksgiving I made a recipe that called for 1 Cup of canned pumpkin. Um, a can has 2 cups in it. I now have a cup of canned pumpkin left over, and I either need to make that recipe again (though I didn't like it) or find one that calls for 1/2 can of pumpkin. Good luck with that.

I wouldn't be ranting, except I just made a meatball recipe that called for 1/4 Cup of evaporated milk. Um, that comes in a 12 oz can, so now I have 8 oz of evaporated milk, and ... now what?

Do I go in search of recipes that need odd amounts of evaporated milk? I suppose I could make half a pumpkin pie with my 1/2 can of pumpkin, and 6 of the 8 oz of evaporated milk, but ... sigh.

The makers of tomato paste got smart and now you can get it in a tube. This solves the problem of buying a 6 oz can and needing 1 tablespoon. I just wish everything else was that easy.

Come on, people, get with the program!

PS: If this is the rantiest I get lately, I apologize to all my readers who still even know about this blog. Retirement has settled my nerves, apparently. :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

In the Interest of Fairness

Wow, it's been a full year since I've posted a rant, here. I guess I might be mellowing.

I know the world isn't fair, but something happened today that made me question some people's expectations and subsequent sense of entitlement and ME, ME, ME approach to life.

I was in the local grocery store picking up lunch from the deli. They have a lunch special: one entree and two sides for $5. This is a pretty good deal, considering that the same sized container filled with salad and sides from the salad bar would cost more than $5, and with this one you can get an actual entree like meat loaf or a chicken breast. I usually get chicken salad and two green salad sides. Not bad for $5.

Today there was a guy in front of me who ordered meat loaf and two sides, and when he got his to-go box, he looked at it and asked for a larger portion of meat since he was a big guy (specifically, "I weigh 300 pounds.") Um, really? Since when do you get to super-size for free based on your bulk? He was told to get permission from the manager, which he did. The deli guy placed a second (full) piece of meat loaf into his $5 box, and off the guy went.

Let's think about this for a moment. If you go to a fast-food place, can you get a triple burger for the same price as a single or double because you are a large person?

Can you go to a grocery and get two loaves of bread for the price of one because you make double-decker sandwiches?

Can just anyone now get more than the "normal" portion based on the fact that they are bigger than average?

Last I looked, a fixed price was a fixed price, and servings were defined based on "portion size". If I don't like the size of a normal serving, I am free to order more, but I sure expect to pay for it.

Some people just amaze me.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


It's been a full year since I've felt the need to rant, but this one needs to be aired.

I'm not a (totally) unreasonable person. I generally do a little homework and exhaust all online options and get really frustrated before I'll bother to open a Live Chat window with a company. I canceled cable a few years ago since I only watched the Food Network, and once they also started hosting reality shows, I stopped watching TV all together. Lately I've heard about several shows that might interest me, so I looked into the current price of cable.

I used to pay $60+/mo for cable without any premium channels. That $60 got me local plus the general "cable" stations like Food Network, History Channel, etc.  I was looking for something low-end this time just to see if I'd even watch it enough to keep it.

I saw an online-purchase-only plan for $39.95/mo for 12 months, followed by $60/mo for the next 12 months, with a 2-year contract. Huh? I have to sign a contract to get TV? So I opened a chat window to ask.  BIG MISTAKE. It went something like this:

"Chris": Welcome to Comcast. How may I help you?
Me: I have a question about a low-end plan for Cable.
Chris: Please wait while we establish a secure connection.
[Huh? Then why did he ask how he could help me?]
Me: When did you start a 2-year contract?
Chris: May I have your address so I can see if you are in our service area?
Me: I am, I've had cable before, I just want to start it up again.
Chris: May I have your address?
Me: Can you answer the contract question without my address?
Chris: May I please have your address?
Me: {address}
Chris: {opens a Move Window button in the chat window}
Me: NOW can you answer my question about the contract?
Chris: Please move the chat window so you can see our site.
Me: I can see your site. Could you please answer my question about the contract?
Chris: Please move the chat window so you can see our site.
Me: I CAN SEE YOUR FREAKIN SITE! Now, could you please answer my question about the contract?
Chris: Please move the chat window so you can see our site.
Me: Maybe I don't need cable after all. May I please speak with your supervisor?
Chris: Please move the chat window so you can see our site.
Me: Okay, then. You have now lost a customer forever. Thanks for nothing.

So, I guess I won't be getting cable any time soon. WHY is it so freaking difficult to answer a simple question? My money is on India and a script. But geeeeeez, why do I need to move a stinkin' chat window to see the web page when I've already read the web page and that's what generated my question in the first place? Why can't the guy (or was it a girl - who really knows?) just answer my question without having to use the site to do it?

Okay, yes, my fuse was a little short, but I didn't get the feeling he was even reading my questions. He was in auto-pilot, checking my address to see if I was in the coverage area, looking to see which services were available, etc. I already told him I was in their coverage area, having had cable in the past. Oh, but he wasn't reading that part. Sorry, I forgot. Ya know, he didn't even respond to my request to speak with a supervisor.

One of these days these companies are going to figure out that outsourcing their customer disservice departments was a BAD idea. Fortunately for me, I haven't watched TV in so long, I won't miss it if I never get it back. For other people, though, they are stuck with bad service and no options. When some other option comes along, I'll look into it. For now, Comcast is dead to me.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Lines. We all dislike them, but you know what? If there is a line for something, it means there are more people wanting a particular service (demand) than that service can be provided (supply). So people wait their turn until they can be served.The next person in line is the next person to be served.

Same is true with traffic, but a little different. If there is a line, that means there are more cars that want to be somewhere than the road can handle, so people cue up and wait to merge. In general, "merge" works best with every-other-car, or, as a co-worker once said, "the zipper method". One car from one lane, one car from the next lane. Everyone keeps moving.

Let's examine the past hour of my life, where I encountered both of these situations.

First: traffic. I believe in the every-other-car merge. I ALWAYS leave a several-car opening in front of me to allow a car to merge into traffic. I also expect the car behind that one to merge in behind me. Instead, what happens most often is either (1) that second car trying to merge will speed up and zoom past the merging car so it can get closer to the front of the line. Or (2), the second car trying to merge will ride the bumper of the first car (the one I let in) and attempt to do a 2-car merge in front of me. This pisses me off. What sense of entitlement does this second person have that they can't come in behind me?

Let's move on to the people line. Standing in line at the grill for breakfast. Two people in front of me, one behind me. Cook is cooking. Two guys wander over and stand in front of the line. It's like none of us existed. As soon as the cook turned around to see who was next, these two guys actually stepped forward and started to order! The cook, thank heavens, looked to his right, saw the line, and addressed us instead. These two guys made no effort to get in line; they just stood there until the cook had asked all of us for our orders.

Now don't get me wrong. There are times I will gladly let someone in front of me, like at the grocery store checkout - when someone has only one or two items, I'll let them go ahead of me. Or in a long line in the ladies' room, I'll let someone with a small child go ahead of me. But other times? That line is there for a reason, and YOU don't get to decided you go first. The people already there before you get to make that decision. It's called civility.

I do not understand any of this, but the sense of entitlement, the sense of me-me-me, the inability to "play nice" is all starting to make me want to be a hermit and just stay home. Seriously.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Good Ole Days

Yesterday, someone on Twitter asked what we'd do if the Internet suddenly went away. My immediate response was "I'd be out of a job", but after what I just went through trying to pay a bill online, I'm not so sure the lack of Internet would be so awful.

Caveat: I have never, ever, had a problem paying any bills, nor had a credit card declined, so this was all foreign territory for me. Being anal-retentive has its benefits.

Let's review the events of the past 2 hours:

I go online to get my invoice for the Water Club I manage for the department (in my spare time) and I see that my bill is past due. Crap, I forgot to pay it the end of last month. Now I owe for 2 months. No problem, we collect in advance, so we're covered.

Coworker: You might want to consider keeping all our money in checking and setting up auto-payments so you don't forget again.
Me: But we earn interest on Savings.
Coworker: Is it worth the $1 we earn to go through all this?
Me: I'll check on the interest and get back with you.

I go to transfer money from my Credit Union (CU) savings account into checking so my debit card (my ONLY debit card) will be funded. I forgot half the secret codes to get logged in to my CU. Third try I got in and did the transfer. Sigh.

I go back to the bill I need to pay, fill in the form with all the appropriate secret passwords and codes, and hit Submit.

"There was a problem processing your payment. Please try again later."

About 20 minutes later, I tried again with the same result. Sigh.

I called the company to see if they could tell me what was wrong. No problems with the payment service, so it must be my card. She checked and payment was declined.

Me: Okay, can you tell me why?
Her: No, I'll need to process it again to get the error code.
We do this, and she tells me my card was declined. [pregnant pause]
Me: Um, do you know why?
Her: No, you'll have to call your bank.

I go downstairs to the CU to see if they can tell me why my card was declined. Apparently there's a daily limit to a debit card transaction, and since I was trying to pay for 2 months, I'd exceeded it. She offered to bump my limit temporarily so I could run back to my desk and pay the bill.

She also noted that there was a $1 hold on my account by the other company. Apparently they do that to verify the validity of the card, and when mine failed, they put a lock on that $1, so I had to pay $1 less than the amount of the bill. Grumble.

Back to my desk. I log in to pay the bill and there is no credit card listed any more. Sigh.

I call the company back.
Me: Where did my credit card information go?
Them: Oh, we automatically wipe it out when a card is declined for any reason.
Me: But the card wasn't bad. There was a limit by my CU I'd exceeded.
Them: No matter - we treat them all the same for security reasons.
Me: Can you put it back?
Them: I can key it in for you, or you can key it yourself (read: start over).

I go back to the payment site and key it back in, setting myself up for automatic payments.

"There was a problem processing your request. Please try again later."

At this point, I was ready to scream. Yeah, it took me that long.

I unchecked "automatic payments" and it let me add the credit card back in.
I paid the bill minus the $1.
The remaining $1will be paid to them on the 15th of the month. Good.

Tomorrow I'll look into setting up automatic payments. My coworker is correct - this is not worth the $1 we earn each month on our Savings balance. Totally not.

So here I sit, 2 hours later, and I've just managed to pay a bill. I don't get paid to do this. I do this "in my spare time" as a service to my entire department. No one else wants the job, and they will pay me extra if I stop asking them to take it.

If we didn't have the Internet, I would have written a check to the water company, put it in an envelope, added a $.44 stamp, and stuck it in the mail box in our mail room. It would have taken about 5 minutes. This is a perfect example of why I still have a check book, and why some days I wish it was 1965 again. Okay, maybe 1977. My "good old days".

Monday, July 19, 2010

Honking Horn: The New Knock

Wow, it's been a long time since my last rant. Lately, by the time I've typed them, I'm over it, so I delete the post. But tonight ... not so much.

This is about basic respect for your fellow human beings. WHAT is the deal with people sitting in front of a building honking their horn? Are they there to pick up someone? If so, why not get out of the car and knock on the door?

What really gets me is when it's a father picking up his kids for the weekend. What kind of message is this sending the kids? I don't care if the father doesn't get a long with the mother. Show your kids enough respect to go to the door and tell them you are here.

When I was in High School (a loooooong time ago), my parents told me if the guy picking me up for a date didn't respect me enough to come to the door, then I wasn't going. Simple enough, right? I never even had to say anything, as the guys I went out with were decent guys.

Fast forward a lot of years, and I have people laying on their horns in front of my building because whoever they're picking up isn't coming out of their door fast enough. After the first honk, how about you get out of the car and knock on the door? You'll get a faster response since you'll be harder to ignore.

Side benefit: the neighbors won't call the police and report you disturbing their peace.