Thursday, April 30, 2009

Quality Customer Service Is Dead

We had DISH Network satellite problems earlier in the week. The DISH Network repairman was scheduled to arrive between 0800 and 1200 hours on Tuesday and at 1130 DISH Network called to tell us he would not be at our house until sometime between 1200 and 1700 hours.

At 1630 my husband called DISH Network to ask where the repairman was and was told DISH Network could not get a hold of the him but that they expected him at our house sometime between 1930 and 2030.

At 1830 the DISH Network repairman called us to let us know he was a hour-and-a-half away and would be at our house a little after 2000 hours. He showed up at the time he said he would and had our problem solved in 15 minutes. It turns out he was so late because the service call before us, which had been installing and hooking up a new satellite dish, took longer than he expected. When he got there he found out the man had nine television sets and wanted them all connected to the satellite.

Now, at this point DISH Network should have either sent another DISH Network repairman to our house or informed the new customer that the DISH Network repairman could only hook-up two or three of the television sets on this call since that is what a normal instillation entailed and to schedule another appointment later in the week to connect the remaining six or seven. DISH Network would not be able to do the first thing I suggested since they evidently only have one DISH Network repairman available for a very large service area. Remember, the DISH Network repairman was in a town about a hour-and-a-half drive away from us, his next call. We know they did not think of my second suggestion or the DISH Network repairman would have been at our house on time and I would not be blogging about it.

Let me point out that we were never angry with the DISH Network repairman. We were angry with DISH Network because they have only one repairman covering an area too large for one person to handle completely on his/her own if there is any type of problem, they were stupid enough to tell a customer that they could not reach their own repairman to find out what the delay was, and they seem to think running their business this way is OK. This was not the first time a DISH Network repairman showed up at our house hours after the scheduled time. It also happened the day the satellite dish was installed.

As you can imagine my husband was very upset with this DISH Network fiasco. He was very angry because we had to wait all day for a DISH Network repairman to show up eight hours after he was scheduled to be at our house. He was also angry with DISH Network for not do a better job of keeping us informed about the delays. We got two phones calls from DISH Network customer service and only one of those was initiated by DISH Network.

I must admit that he was already angry with DISH Network because he was told he had a 24 month contract with DISH Network when he knew he had only signed a 18 month contract. Turns out DISH Network had started requiring new customers to sign 24 month contracts right when we had our satellite dish installed but our DISH Network repairman had only the old 18 month contracts with him and that is the contract my husband signed. How could DISH Network not know this?

You are probably wondering why we just don't go to another provider. We tried, that is why my husband was looking at our contract with DISH Network, but when he talked to DIRECTTV they lied to him about what broadcast feeds we could get saying, yep, we could get East coast or West coast stations when we already know this is not true.

In all fairness I must add that DISH Network has a quality product. We are happy with the clarity of the signal and the quality of the DVR box. You can store an amazing amount of recordings on that thing. My husband's attempt to find another company was based on his frustration with DISH Network customer service and I think DISH Network should know that at one point my husband was ready to have DISH Network come and get their equipment. Any more problems with DISH Network and I know he will have it removed. It is not like television is a necessity of life, we could get alone with out it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

All Those Years Ago

I discovered that two of my blog friends celebrated wedding anniversaries yesterday and both wrote sweet post about these events (here and here) on their respective blogs. This got me thinking, I also celebrated a wedding anniversary this month. My husband and I reached our nineteen wedding anniversary on the twentieth amidst the chaos of travel and emotional upheaval that was our live at the time.

I woke up that morning reaching for my laptop and once it started sat staring at the calendar application on my desktop thinking why does this date seem important? Then it hit me. "Oh, my," I said, "it's our birthday!"

No, it was our anniversary but at the same time my Freudian slip was true. It was was our birthday- the day we got married was the day we went from me and you to being us in the eyes of the world.

My husband got up earlier to run the dog and walked back into the bedroom while I was still on the computer. When I asked him if he knew what day it was he got a blank look on his face and then asked if it was our anniversary. When I said yes he apologized for forgetting it but I told him not to worry about it since I too had forgotten and considering what had been going on in our lives we were doing well just remembering that it was a Monday. He asked if their was anything special that I wanted to do for our anniversary. I said that since we had already planned to take the brewer tour at the Budweiser plant we should do that. It was something he had been looking forward to and I could see no reason to change our plans.

The best part of the tour was seeing the Clydesdales. The Fort Collins brewery is one of Budweiser's Clydesdale training facilities and we got there while the six two-year-old horses were out in the pasture for one of their two daily play times. As our tour group walked up to the fence between the walkway and the field where the horses were frolicking our guide told us to be careful since the horses were known to bite people. That information kept everyone a safe distance from the fence. Well, all except my husband. He walked right up to one of the horses and held his left palm out flat for the horse to sniff. Then he reached up high to stroke the horse's muzzle. That caused the other tour members to rush forward so that they too could pet the horse but their quick movements caused the horse to jerk its head up and then turn and bolt. My husband was both amazed by the size of the horse and impressed by how quickly it had turned and run since he understood just how much energy it took to move so much weight and mass that quickly. He also could not resist pointing out the fact that he was the only one who got to touch one of the horses. I think doing so was the highlight of the tour for him.

The funny thing about that day is that it turned out to be one of our best anniversaries ever.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu 2009

1. Deja vu, all over again, 1976: Fear of a great plague.

2.Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection.

3. Twenty-eight of 45 cases in the US are students at one school in New York City.

4. World Health Organization (WHO) update three.

5. Headline: Why does the swine flu seem to be more deadly in Mexico?
Maybe it isn't, Swine Flu And The Mexico Mystery.

6. Maybe we should just calm down, A vaccine needed for bad statistics: Eric Auchard.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Tale Of Two Dogs

A few days ago my sister called me while she was walking down a New York City street to tell me what had happened to her moments earlier. As she was walking she noticed a man with a dog walking toward her and realized, first, that the dog was a Britney and, second, that it looked exactly like my dog Kate. She smiled at him. Then the the strangest thing happened, first the dog smiled back, then the dog and my sister locked eyes and stared at each as the moved closer together. Their eyes stayed locked as they passed by each other and each turned his/her head to continue looking at one another. Then, at the same time, both stopped walking, each looking back at the other one. The dog's owner had observed the whole thing and told my sister that it was as if the dog knew her. My sister felt the same thing and knew she had to call me.

I thought I was getting over Kate's death since I had reached the point were I understood that putting her down was the loving thing to do. I do miss her but I thought I was done grieving for her until last night. I was reading Terry Irwin's book about her life with Steve Irwin and had reached the chapter where she writes about going to wake up her seventeen year old dog and then realizing that the old girl had died during the night. I started bawling like a baby. Grief is like that I suppose.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tweet, Tweet

- Jay Leno of the Tonight Show is in the hospital with an undisclosed illness. The New York Daily News is reporting he has a "mystery illness". What the heck is a mystery illness? (8:55 AM)

-Finding Joy (9:12 AM)

-Going to Goodland now. (11:12 AM)

-Back from Goodland. (1:57 PM)

-Gardening tip: How do you know when your melons are ready to be picked? When the skunks start eating them. (2:53 PM)

-....I got nothing. (4:37 PM)

-FYI: Scam Alert, now they are using fake parking tickets to infect and/or hack your computer. (6:11 PM)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Still Playing Catch Up

Since I do not have a twitter account (and do not want one) I am going to micro-blog for the rest of the week.

-Doing lots of yard work this week which is fine since the weather has been great and I enjoy being outside.

-It took me a couple of days to notice that two of my neighbors had dead trees cut down while I was away. The neighborhood worry level has dropped immensity.

-I think I have finally caught up on my sleep. I just feel better when I wake up in the morning.

That's it. Come back tomorrow, please.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Home From The Hills

We got back last night and, as I wrote in the comments for the post below, we were gone long enough to be glad to be home. Since we were gone so long there are lots of things for me to do now. The grass needs cutting, I did some weeding this morning, dead plants need to be removed, laundry needs to be done, blogs caught up on, newspapers read, and it may be time to put up the awnings. The temperature outside right now is 79 degrees Fahrenheit/ 25.5 degrees Celsius. Hopefully I will get it all done by the end of the week.

And how is your week going?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why Do Bad Things Come In Threes?

We spent all of last week away from home. We first visited my father-in-law in Fort Collins for a few days and then on Thursday we came down to Denver to stay with my sister. That night my husband, my sister and her family, and I went out to dinner. When we got back to her house her three dogs and my dog greeted us as they normally do. Then, with no provocation that we could see, one of her dogs attacked one of her other dogs. It was both a shock and a total surprise to all of us.

My sister has three rescue dogs. Two she got within a couple of months of each other from the Dumb Friends League, both of those dogs are miniature American Eskimo mixes. They have been with her for six years. The other dog came from the east coast where she was rescued from a women who was trying to run a no-kill shelter out of her house. She had about seventy dogs, which were about seventy dogs more than she could handle, living on her property. When the dogs were removed from her care they were farmed out to as many people and no-kill shelters as would take them. My niece's aunt, who is a animal activist, took thirteen of the dogs. My sister adopted a female beagle mix about four to five years old from her. The poor dog was emotionally damaged, we think she was kept outside and tied up most of her life, and it took about a year for the fearful look to leave her eyes but once she felt safe she blossomed. After three years living in my sister's house Sasha, as my sister named her, seemed to be mostly over whatever had happened in the past and was part of the family. Then last Thursday night she assaulted one of the smaller dogs.

No, that's not right, Sasha didn't just assault the other dog, she tried to kill her. She had the dog by the throat and was violently shaking her trying to break her neck. My sister and her husband got Sasha off the other dog and then instantly told her to sit, which she did. The smaller was lying on the floor motionless when suddenly Sasha attacked again even though my sister and her husband were right there. They got the dogs apart and then my brother-in-law shut Sasha in one of the bedrooms while my sister examined the other dog for wounds. American Eskimos have very thick coats and although she could not find any blood on the traumatized dog, my sister was worried about soft tissue damage so she took her to an emergency vet clinic. When the vet technicians shaved her fur they found numerous puncture wounds on her back and around her neck. They also found some older partially healed wounds and bruising. This was not the first time the poor little dog had been attacked.

There was only one thing to do and that was to remove Sasha from the house. She could no longer be trusted around the other dogs. The hard part for my sister was deciding what to do with her. Although Sasha could not be trusted around other dogs she was find with humans. If my sister took her to the Dumb Friends League there was a good possibility that she would be put down. She thought of the MaxFund but, given Sasha's history, Sasha could end up living there the rest of her life. Then she talked to my niece's aunt who said she would take Sasha to live with her. She wanted Sasha because she was was worried that if Sasha was adopted out of one of the rescue shelter the family who adopted her would at some point think, since Sasha is a sweetheart with humans, it would be fine to get another dog.

So on Friday my niece's aunt drove down from where she lives in Greeley to pick up Sasha. Saying goodbye was hard because Sasha, who my sister had kept away from the other dogs, was very pleased to be with us and had a big smile on her face and was wagging her tail nonstop. We gave her goodbye ear scratches and pats as she happily got into the car that was taking her away. It was sad but it was also a relief since the stress of having a dog that was a danger to the other dogs was now gone.

I am happy to report that the dog who was attacked is doing well. She does have her body shaved from her neck to just past the middle of her back and about a quarter of the way down on her sides so that from above she looks like a convertible with its top down. All that exposed skin means she will have to wear a doggie t-shirt for awhile to protect her from sunburn when she goes outside but she is healing up just fine. We are all grateful that this incident ended the way it did since the outcome could have been much worse if things had not happened just the way they did.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Going To Take A Few Days Off

Last Friday we learned a friend committed suicide. I need some time away.

Update(9:45 PM)

First a correction, our friend died on Friday but we learned about his death on Saturday morning. Tonight I opened an e-mail from my sister and found a link to the video below along with a note saying "the power of music."

I used music to express my feelings in my posts last week about Kate's death and doing so helped heal me somewhat. Tonight watching and listening to this video has again lifted my spirits some. Music does have power and I do not know what I would do without it.

Roger Ridley- "This song says, no matter who you are, no matter where you go in you life, at some point you're going to need someone to stand by you."

Oh yeah, oh my darling, stand by me
No matter who you are
No matter where you go in life
You gonna to need somebody to stand by you

No matter how much money you got or the friends you got,
You gonna need somebody to stand by you

(Traditional lyrics)
When the night has come and the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see
No I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh now now stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon should tumble and fall
And the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry, no I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me, stand by me-e, yeah

Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me,
Oh now now stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Darlin', darlin', stand by me-e, stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Friday, April 10, 2009

How I Feel Today

The group know as Mercy singing their hit song, Love Can Make You Happy, in the movie Fireball Jungle (1969)

Wake up in the morning
With the sunshine in your eyes
And the smell of flowers blooming fills the air.
Your mind is filled with the thoughts of a certain someone
that you love
Your life is filled with joy when she is there

Love can make you happy
If you find someone who cares to give
A lifetime to you and who has a love to share.

If you think you've found someone you'll love for evermore,
Then it's worth the price you'll have to pay, pay
To have, to hold's important when forever is the phrase
That means the love you've found is going to stay.

Love can make you happy
If you find someone who cares to give
A lifetime to you and who has a love to share.

Love, love, love, love
Love can make you happy,
love can make you happy.
Love can make you happy, love.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I'm Am An Idiot

But before I tell you why I am an idiot I want to thank you all for the kind words of condolence that you left here about Kate's death. They were a great comfort to my husband and me. I find it is always easier to get through something difficult if you know you are not alone. You all showed me that we were not so again I thank you.

Now, on to why I am an idiot. I took Duke with me when I went to get the mail this morning and tied him to the lamp post in front of the post office. I picked up my mail, stopped to talk with a woman I know for a few minutes, and then headed home. When I got home I hung up my coat, wondering where Duke was since he did not rush up to greet me when I walked through the door. Then it struck me, Duke hadn't greeted me because he was still tied up to the lamp post in front of the post office. I grabbed my coat, rushed out of the house, and jogged back to the post office. When I reached Duke he gave me a look that asked, "How could you?"

How could I, indeed. I gave him a big hug and apologized for leaving him there. Then I unhooked him and walked him back home. I knew he forgave me because when we got home I asked him if he was all right and he smiled up at me while wagging his tail. He is such a loving little guy.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Beautiful Katie

Kate in 2005

After a long stressful weekend we took Kate to the vet clinic on Monday and had her put to sleep. I won't go into all the gory details but I will write about a few of the things that happened which made the decision to end her life a bit easier. Kate had been getting weaker and was not eating. Last weekend she started wandering around the house looking for places to hide. When she was not pacing she spent most of her time sleeping. Several times over the weekend she would wake up and quickly raised her head as if someone had called her name. She would then tilt her head back and point her nose up as if she was smelling something interesting. She would stay like that for about 30 seconds and then slowing lay back down. Each time she did this she would look off into the distance and not at us.

Sunday night to keep her from pacing we put the doggie playpen up in the living room and put her bed inside. I slept on the couch so I would be close at hand when she needed me. It was a long night. Monday we still could not get her to eat and she also refused water. My husband and I were sure it was time but still hesitated. What if we were wrong? What if she started eating again? Maybe we should wait another day. As we talked I glanced over at Kate and saw my mother staring back at me. I started crying, that look of weariness in Katie's eyes was also in my mother's eyes the last time I saw her alive. It was time. Before we made the drive to the vet we did what we always promised to do when this day came, we bought her a hamburger from the bar and fed it to her. She ate it all.

I was grieving Kate because I wanted her to be with me for a lifetime. I see now she was but it was for her lifetime, almost fifteen years, not mine. For that I thank her. Kate was a gentle soul described by everyone who met her as being a sweetheart. She was definitely that but she was also very Zen. I guess the best way to explain that statement is to describe just how it felt when I hugged each one of my dogs. Duke is a living example of the phrase happiness is a warm puppy. It is very soothing to hug him. Emma was totally different. She was like holding on to a electrical cable. When you put your ear to her body you could heard the energy humming through her. Kate also hummed but what you heard was nothing like Emma. The sound she made was, "AAaauuuuummmmm."

She was the sound of bliss.

She was my Buddha girl.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

How I Feel Today

Everybody's high on consolation
Everybody's trying to tell me what is right for me
I need a drink and a quick decision
Now it's up to me, woo, what will be

She's gone, oh I, oh I, oh I
I'd better learn how to face it
She's gone, oh I, oh I'd
I'd pay the devil to replace her
She's gone, oh I, what went wrong

Get up in the morning look in the mirror
I'm worn as the tooth brush hanging in the stand
My face ain't looking any younger
Now I can see love's taken her dirty toll on me

She's gone, oh I, oh I, oh I
I'd better learn how to face it
She's gone oh I, oh I, oh I
I'd pay the devil to replace her
She's gone, oh I, what went wrong

Think I'll spend eternity in the city
Let the carbon and monoxide choke my thoughts away
Pretty bodies help dissolve the memories
They can never be what she was to me

She's gone, oh I, oh I, oh I
I'd better learn how to face it
She's gone, oh I, oh I, oh I
I'd pay the devil to replace her
She's gone, oh I, what went wrong

I'm talkin' to myself

She's gone, oh I, oh I, oh I
I'd better learn how to face it
She's gone oh I, oh I, oh I
I'd pay the devil to replace her
She's gone, oh I, what went wrong

Friday, April 03, 2009

Harold And Maude, Bud And Harry

I watched Harold and Maude (1971) for at least the third time last night. It is one of my most favorite movies. Harold and Maude is about a 20 year old man child (Harold) who is in love with death until he meets a 79 year old woman (Maude) who teaches him to love life. Maude is played by the late great Ruth Gordon who was also a Broadway star and a writer (along with her husband Garson Kanin) of many screenplays including the Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy movies Adam's Rib (1949) and Pat and Mike (1952). She also wrote the screenplay for The Actress (1953), which is based on her life. Her autobiography, Ruth Gordon, an open book, is an interesting look at New York theater in the early twentieth century.

The fact that I think Bud Cort was wonderful in this movie is surprising to me since I have never been a fan of movie clowns who act childishly. I love silent movies clown Buster Keaton but find another silent film clown, Harry Langdon, who was a big as Keaton at the time, disturbing. Something about Langdon's baby face and childish behavior creep the heck out of me. So imagine my shock while watching Harold and Maude last night and realizing that Bud Cort looks a lot like Harry Langdon.

So, why do I find Bud Cort adorable but Harry Langdon creepy? Well, after watching a clip from Langdon's film Tramp, Tramp, Tramp I think it is the eyes. When I look into Bud Cort eyes I see innocence and an underlying sweetness there. When I look into Harry Langdon's eyes I see nothing. He is acting sweet and innocent but is far from it. I guess it comes down to a question of who you believe in. I believe in Bud Cort.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Things Running Through My Mind Today

1. If I don't start getting enough sleep at night I am going to go crazy. Kate is eating her new food but was still up and down all night which means I was too.

2. What the hell is wrong with Jay Cutler? First he says he wanted to leave and now that the Denver Broncos football team owner Pat Bowlen said fine, you're gone, Cutler says he want to stay.

(UPDATE 5:24PM He's gone.)

3. My, aren't Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip tiny?

4. When is enough, enough? There is something seriously wrong in our culture when its men kill innocent people, including family members, just to prove they are the ones in control.

5. Greed is not good.

6. I've got to get some sleep.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Kate's New Theme Song

Give me land, lots of land
Under starry skies above

-Cole Porter

Whenever she is in her new mini-yard Kate patrols the fence perimeter looking for a way out. And in other fence news, the birds have figured out the dogs cannot hurt them if they are on the other side of the fence. Usually when the dogs are in the yard the birds evacuate it. I looked out the window early this morning and saw Duke on one side of the fence watching the bird feeding on the ground about three feet away. The birds completely ignored him since they knew they were safe.