Monday, October 26, 2009

Missions Impossibles

Here are the things that I absolutely must accomplish tomorrow:

1) Write the birth stories for the two back-to-back births I attended last week. I am really sorry to say this, but I HATE writing birth stories. Well, no, not quite, it's more that I'm of two minds. In one mind, I love writing birth stories, because they make my clients so happy, and because I know that the stories will be family treasures, and because I enjoy looking back upon and honoring the many beautiful moments that make up each woman's birthing experience. In my other mind, I HATE writing birth stories, because they are writing assignments, and, despite the fact that they showcase one of my few strengths, I HATE writing assignments.

2) Edit at least a little text for my new website, which is meant to be a surefire way to bring me so much business that I am positively choking on money, but really I am not so sure - mightn't it just be a waste of energy? I don't know how much time you, dear reader, have spent looking at doulas' websites, but let me clue you in on something: they are ALL THE SAME. Like, exhaustively so. And mine will be no different. So, like, who cares?

3) Vacuum, do the dishes, do the clothes laundry, do the diaper laundry, do the pee-pee sheets laundry. I would just like to note here that I recently discovered that vacuuming under the couch and bed, as well as vacuuming the flokati rug in the bedroom, is not only possible, but also immensely satisfying. Now I want to do it all the time. Really.

4) Make a paper sheriff's star to pin onto my son's plaid Wrangler shirt so he can be a cowboy for Halloween, and spend time feeling ashamed for being a bad mother, because this is a shitty Halloween costume, not the least because my son does not know what a cowboy is.

5) Possibly go to American Apparel and/or Ricky's in order to purchase things that will enhance my poor child's shitty Halloween costume. Use credit card to make these purchases, because we spent ALL of our money this past weekend on records at the WFMU record fair, mascara and tweezers at Sephora, a couple of board books at Lucky Wang, some beer, and some taxis.

6) Take care of email correspondance.

7) Call former client who I have owed a call since EARLY SUMMER. (I will probably not actually do this, because I am too ashamed.)

8) Cobble together some sort of dinner from the odds and ends in the fridge. To wit: yogurt, romesco, kale, brassica greens, potatoes, pears, hot pepper. Actually, that sounds like a pretty good meal, though clearly involving a great deal of chopping. Maybe take the credit card to the grocery store, too, and get some cheese and bread to go with this chopped mess.

9) Write a blog posting about the non-Borgesian, but still Borgesian, television-related occurrence from last week.

10) Scrub the tub.

11) Take out the recycling.

Edited to Add:
12) Oh, crud. Work on my doula certification. Crud, crud, crud.

Edited further to Add:
13) Shower.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy Ending, or How Blogging Saved Me $134.99

If you are an regular reader of my blog, you will know that A) disappointingly, I hardly ever post anymore because I have a toddler and a job, which together occupy six days of my week; and B) happily, I posted about three hours ago after yet another terrible, horrible, no good, very bad encounter with Dell Tech Support. The funny thing is, I didn't realize quite how wrong the encounter had gone until I wrote about it and then read what I wrote. "Wow," I thought, reading my own post, "Dell Tech Support broke that poor woman's computer and then tried to sell her some software that they should have given her for free. That's too bad." And then it dawned on me: Dell Tech Support broke my computer! And then tried to make me buy Microsoft Office 2007, which they should have given me for free! What the fuck!?

So, duly fired up, I called Dell Tech Support again, this time fully armed with my Quick Service code. "You broke my computer and then tried to make me buy Microsoft Office 2007, which you should have given me for free," I said. The Tech Support man apologized and understood my frustration and explained about how a technician would be calling me in 3-5 business days to arrange an appointment to come to my house to replace the motherboard. I pointed out how that's how this whole thing started in the first place. He understood my frustration some more and explained that there was nothing more he was authorized to do. I pointed out that it was awfully convenient that there was nothing more he was authorized to do, seeing as doing something to make up for the whole mess would cost Dell money, and seeing as it is actually impossible for a Dell customer to actually reach anyone who is actually authorized to do anything. He understood my frustration some more, and we went around and around in this manner for about half an hour. Finally, in the middle of my talking about how distressing I found the whole situation and how upset I felt that no one could help me, and how unhappy I was with the Dell experience, he cut me off and said he would send me Microsoft Office 2007 for free, and what was my mailing address please.

And thus blogging saved me $134.99, which was the super-special today-only sale price that Dell was trying to make me pay for Microsoft Office 2007.

I considered going to Make My Cake for a red velvet cupcake in celebration, but then realized I did not have the necessary four bucks, so I contented myself with my new favorite snack, the deliciousness of which I discovered accidentally: Raisinets with coarsely ground Celtic Sea Salt. And that, my friends, is my modern life.

Tech Support, Part MCXIV*

(*That's a big number, right? I'm not so good with Roman numerals. It's supposed to be a comically large number.)

My romance with Dell Tech Support is a fairly long-standing one, dating at least from April 2008, but I have to say that the charm is beginning to go out of the relationship. Today, for example, I called them about two laptop issues, to wit:

  1. After a Dell technician replaced my laptop's hard drive and motherboard almost a year ago, Microsoft Office magically disappeared from the computer, leaving me to compose things pathetically in WordPad, the sorriest excuse for a word processing program ever, and also leaving me without the capability of opening any Excel attachments, which, as I am now in retail, is something I have to do with some frequency, since wholesale catalogues and price lists are often in Excel.**
  2. Also after said technician replaced said motherboard, the power button was sort of wigglier and looser than it had been before, but I ignored the issue, as it seemed to not be especially important. Recently, however, the computer has become more and more difficult to turn on, requiring up to half an hour or so of repeated mashings of the loose, wiggly power button.

So these problems had been fairly long-standing, but calling Tech Support is so very exhausting and invariably costs me so very much time and money that I have been stalling for literally months. But I finally worked up the steam to call today, and after waiting in the queue for twenty minutes because I always forget the Quick Service code that I got with the service warranty they conned me into purchasing a year ago, I was on the line with the inevitable polite, patient, and patronizing Indian gentleman who politely, patiently, and patronizingly promised that he would make everything better. Here is how he went about making everything better:

  1. As to Microsoft Office, he said, I did not purchase it with my computer, so I cannot get it from Dell for free, even though it was the fault of the Dell hardware that it got wiped from the computer in the first place. I could, though, PURCHASE Microsoft Office 2007 from Dell at a special, special discount price ONLY AVAILABLE TODAY. Now, back in April 2008, I would have jumped at this offer, but my older, wiser self is not so excited. Because, really? There's just coincidentally a special offer on the product that I need on the very day that I happened to call about it? And that offer will never ever ever ever exist ever again? And also, I know nothing about computer programs, but it seems to me that Microsoft Office 2007 might not be the newest version available? Or if it is now, it won't be in just a couple of months. In fact, in just a couple of months, it will be THREE YEARS OLD, which is like THREE THOUSAND YEARS OLD in computer years. So maybe it's not in my best interest to lay down the hundred fifty bucks or whatever to purchase a THREE THOUSAND YEAR OLD computer program, no? Even if it is on super special sale?
  2. As to the power button issue, the guy had me turn the computer off, which I never do anymore because it is so hard to turn back on, and then he had me screw around with the hinge cover and then the motherboard itself to see if he could figure out what the problem was. Turns out - OF COURSE! - the issue is the motherboard itself, which now needs to be replaced AGAIN, which means a technician will call me in 3-5 business days and schedule an appointment in 3-5 business days from then, and then he will come to my house and upset my dog and baby and replace the motherboard again. But here's the thing. Before I called Tech Support today and was guided to screw around with the hinge cover and motherboard, the computer was EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to turn on. After I called Tech Support and was guided to screw around with the hinge cover and motherboard, my computer now WON'T TURN ON AT ALL. Not even with the power toggle on the motherboard itself. So before I called Tech Support, my computer worked, and after I called Tech Support, my computer was broken. This seems to me like a pretty big problem, like maybe the opposite of what is supposed to happen when you call Tech Support.

So the upshot is that not only did I not manage to get Microsoft Office, but also I managed to end up with a broken laptop. I am not sure how things came to this pass. I am carefully reviewing every step I took in this process, from the purchasing of the computer through each and every Tech Support call I have ever made, and I do not think I have done anything wrong or stupid. And yet somehow, everything has turned out all wrong and stupid. In certain moods, like the one I'm in right now, it's really hard not to see this as an allegory of modern life.

**Not that I do any significant buying for the store per se. It's more that I do significant buying for myself. That is, whenever we are placing a wholesale order, my boss sends me the wholesale catalogue and price lists and asks me if I want to add anything to the order for myself, which I always do, which means that I always owe the store large amounts of money. It might occur to you that this is obviously stupid behavior, as working at the store is meant to MAKE me money, rather than COST me money, but I would like to raise two points that might not have occurred to you in your rush to call me stupid: 1) I am always buying things, so I would be buying things even if I weren't working at the store, and in that case I would be paying retail rather than wholesale, so maybe I am coming out ahead here; and 2) Could you resist these things? Or these things? How about these things? Or these things? Could you resist? Especially if they were at wholesale price? No, you could not resist. And neither can I. So you see, we're really not so different, you and I.