Call me old-fashioned

I am not a big fan of doing business on Facebook. I mean, I barely use Facebook. I don’t like Facebook. I wasn’t planning on using Facebook for this.

A couple of months ago, John and I decided we wanted to get a new dining room table. We still love the one we have, but it was expensive and we’re paranoid about messing it up, and all of a sudden we have a two-year-old who likes to drive his trucks, race cars, and boats all over it.

We decided to look for a used farmhouse table, and after a complete lack of response from our neighboring custom furniture business, I tried Facebook Marketplace. I didn’t even know that was a thing until one of my mom friends mentioned that she finds some cool toys there.

How old do I sound right now? Oh, sonny, have you heard about this here BookFace Supermarket?

Anyway, I found a guy who makes basic farmhouse tables who will make us one, stain it dark, give it an extra coat or two of polyurethane as more toddler protection, and deliver it to us for less than a third of what we paid for our beautiful formal table. And he’ll have it done in less than a week.

That works for me. But here’s the thing: this all happened over Facebook Messenger. He’s going to contact me when he’s done. I don’t know where his workshop or store is, if he has one. He doesn’t know where to deliver it yet. I’ll pay him on delivery and he didn’t ask for any part of it up front, so for all he knows, I could back out. I suppose he could still sell the table to someone else once it’s done. But it’s weird not to sign any kind of agreement. This is not how I’m used to buying things. Even though nearly EVERYTHING I buy nowadays is online.

Worth it

This is a completely obvious observation to make, but whole milk yogurt is DELICIOUS.  (I originally typed “whole fat yogurt”, and well, yeah.)  I bought a big container of Nature’s Promise Organic Whole Milk Yogurt (vanilla) to share with Jack – we’ll mix in fruit and granola (granola for me, anyway), and it’ll be great.


My lunch today was a small bowl of yogurt, granola, and blueberries, and it was oh so good.

Reading my mind

John and I bought olive oil when we went to the store the other night, and I expressed regret that we can’t just buy Wegmans extra virgin olive oil like we used to.  We’ve been not so lucky at picking out other relatively inexpensive olive oils over the last few years.  (There are a lot of really boring olive oils out there, and some of the more exciting ones aren’t great for general use.  I feel like Goldilocks.)  We have a Wegmans within reach, if you consider an hour and 15 minutes one-way to be within reach.  I don’t.  I actually considered asking Emily to buy us some so John could bring it back this weekend when he drives up with our stuff from the storage unit.  We picked something since we’ll need it this week, I don’t remember which brand, and shortly after we got home, John said, “I think we owe my mom a really big thank you.”  Of course we do, for any number of things, so I asked for a few more details in my own articulate fashion. “Huh?”

She gave us a housewarming basket with a bunch of traditional housewarming gifts, all with their own meanings, and one of the items is olive oil (“May you be blessed with health and well-being”).  WEGMANS OLIVE OIL.


All is well with the world.



Food that isn’t real food

John thinks I should write about how I tried Drake’s Devil Dogs today and how they transformed my life, but that wouldn’t be true, and I would never lie to you.  I did try one today, but it did not transform my life.  It tasted like every other chocolate and cream Hostess food I’ve ever had, and (don’t hate me) I gotta say those aren’t my favorite completely synthetic treats.  Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies are the winner for me (which is kind of odd, since I refuse to eat oatmeal cookies).  Runner up: Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls.  Apparently, I prefer Little Debbie to Hostess.  Good to know.


They just made it harder for me to buy books. Idiots.

I’m a little bit annoyed with Amazon this week.  My to-read list is a private Amazon wish list.  Any time I hear of a book I might be interested in, I add it there.  I might not buy it from Amazon, I might get it from the library or a store or wherever, but I have one place I always add books.  The list USED to have a sort feature that would let me sort by price (high or low), sort by books with price drops, sort by date added, etc.  A couple of months ago, all those sort features disappeared from the browser version of Amazon.  The only sort feature left was by priority, and since I never prioritized anything, it was not useful to me.  Thankfully, the Amazon app still had the sort features I liked, so EVERY SINGLE DAY I sorted my list in the app by price (low to high), and probably four times a week, a book on my list would go on sale for $.99 or $1.99 (Kindle version), and I would snap it up.

Then this week, the app got updated and hey – the sort feature is gone.  The only thing left is by priority.  Here’s the thing: I have over 400 books on my list.  I am not going to scroll through the entire thing looking for the items that have gone on sale, and that means I’m not going to know about the sales, and I’m not going to buy the books.  (I’ll buy some of them eventually, but not at the rate I’ve been buying them.)  I have plenty to read already on my Kindle (or at the library), so Amazon just updated themselves out of $400 a year from me.

I chatted with a customer service rep, who assured me that some sort of sort feature will be back, but she couldn’t say what and she couldn’t say when, so I’m not holding my breath.  I’m just really annoyed.

All for me!

It’s a beautiful day and the presents I bought for myself arrived!  Both packages were delayed because of the weather, but they came today and the sun is shining!

First, as you can see, is a little TARDIS backpack.  Bigger on the inside, naturally, big enough to hold my laptop (which is in there in that picture). I love my Bag of Holding, but it’s a little bulky if all I want to do is take my laptop and a book to Allan Bros.

Makes a good carry-on.

Then my Athleta stuff came!  Athleta is in the middle of their end/beginning of the year sale, which is pretty much the best time to shop with them.  I got a lightweight long-sleeve top, my favorite pants in gray, and new running tights, which I will wear when I got to the gym this afternoon because they came today!

Sorry about all the !!! but I’m very excited about my purchases.  Plus it’s Friday and the work day is over and the work week is over and I don’t have to get up before the sun for two whole days.

The only bad thing about today is that my riding lesson was cancelled.  The snow on Wednesday plus lack of melting yesterday plus below freezing temps for three days equals too much work on a horse farm to make time for teaching lessons (which I totally get).  Somehow I’ll make it to next Wednesday.

Batteries included, but how can you tell if it’s dying?

A few weeks ago we bought a cute little waterproof bluetooth speaker so we could listen to music in the shower or while doing dishes or wherever without using headphones or dealing with crappy phone speakers.  Good purchase!  It sounds good, it’s cute and little (as mentioned above), and it’s called the Oontz Angle.  Worth it for the amusement I get out of the name alone.  Its battery is rechargeable via USB, and it’s all-around wonderful except for one minor thing: there’s no battery life indicator.

When it arrived, we couldn’t tell if it had been charged.  Most electronics need to be charged before their first use, but when we turned it on, it worked immediately.  And with almost daily use (not more than an hour a day, but still), it ran for nearly six weeks before it died.  Of course, it died mid-shower (my shower, naturally), and I had no warning.  If I’d known it was low, I would have plugged the poor thing in.  Maybe a warning light?  Where blinking means “Plug me in, please”?  But really, that’s the only complaint I have about it.

Disney convenience

If you stay at a Disney resort, they send you a Magic Band (which I have already shown you) that acts as your park ticket, your room key, and your FastPass (skipping long lines for rides), and if you link your credit card to it (and a PIN), you can use it to pay for EVERYTHING.  (If you don’t stay at a resort, you can still buy one and use it the same way.)  It was incredibly convenient, and it meant we could really pare down what we had to carry.  It’s making me reconsider services like Google Wallet and Apple Pay.  There are still security concerns, and I’d always have to have my phone, but I always DO have my phone.  Obviously, there are still places that don’t use those services, so I couldn’t use it all the time, but I’m willing to bet it’ll become more and more common, just like it’s more and more common for even street vendors to take credit cards.  It’s something I’m thinking about, anyway.

More phone drama

I just can’t get enough of the phone drama, apparently.  Over the weekend, John did some googling and found that yes, our phones ARE unlocked, and yes, our phones CAN work with any carrier.  The solution (according to online sources) is to go to a Sprint store with a repair center, where they will have to add my phone to the network and possibly find me a new SIM card.  We tested that solution today.

At a different Sprint store, I handed my new phone over to a guy who disappeared into a back room with it.  Ten minutes later, he came out and said sorry, your phone isn’t compatible with the Sprint network.  I tried to get him to explain why.  He didn’t know.  I asked him who might know.  He didn’t know.  I asked him to point me in the direction of someone who might know.  He disappeared into the back again.  A techie (I assume) came out to talk to us.

He was much more personable, but the bottom line appears to be that because my phone isn’t ALREADY on Sprint’s list of approved phones, it cannot be added.  (This is the opposite of what two people told me before I made last week’s trip to the Sprint store, which is why I a) bought a phone from someone other than Sprint, and  b) went to the store in the first place.)  He went so far as to say there’s no reason he’s aware of why it COULDN’T be on the list, but he isn’t capable of adding it.  Who is?  Maybe someone in corporate, he says, but no one he or I could get in touch with.  Not one to give up, I pushed a bit more.

Eventually, he entered a ticket with I-don’t-know-who (hopefully not the same I-don’t-know-who from last week), and he says I should know within 72 hours if THEY approved adding my phone to the network.

Sprint may have lost us as customers (after 13 YEARS) either way*.  If they add my phone to the network, we can be lazier about finding another carrier (I’m considering the Project Fi thing with Google), but I think it’ll happen.  If they don’t add my phone, that’s getting done SOON.

*Yes, I started to play the lost customer card, but it only triggered  sales pitch for other phones.  Missing the point, dude.

Can’t win

I went to a Sprint store today to switch my number to the new phone.  The guy got on the phone to I-don’t-know-who at Sprint, and I read my book.  Half an hour later, he told me that my new phone uses the wrong frequencies for the Sprint network.  It can’t be used for Sprint.  I didn’t even know that was a thing.  Apparently, Verizon and Sprint use one set of frequencies and AT&T and T-Mobile use another.  This phone can be added to AT&T or T-Mobile’s network, but not Sprint or Verizon.  Phones can work for one, the other, or both, and I just happened to get one that works with the wrong frequency.

So what are my options?

  1. Stick with Sprint and spend the $400 at Best Buy to get the phone I want.  Return my new phone.
  2. Switch to AT&T or T-Mobile with my new phone.  Will John’s phone (which works on Sprint) work on their network?  I’m pretty sure it would cost more to have us on two different carriers.  His phone works fine, and he’s not ready to give it up.
  3. Switch to Verizon and get a new phone that isn’t a Nexus (and return the one I just got).  Not cheaper than spending $400 at Best Buy in the long run.  Also, why would I do that?
  4. Switch to AT&T or T-Mobile and get a new phone that isn’t a Nexus (and return the one I just got).  Same issues with John’s phone, and also still not cheaper than spending $400 at Best Buy in the long run.  And nonsensical for now.

Are there other options?  I’m too close to it at the moment and SO ANNOYED.  I could insist we both leave Sprint, but we have unlimited data with them, and that seems impossible to get anywhere else (without also getting DirectTV or whatever with AT&T – not interested in that).


It’s here!

My new phone came today!

The good:

  • It’s here!
  • It’s a day early!
  • It turns on!
  • It holds a charge!

The bad:

  • It’s not new, as advertised.  It’s refurbished.
  • It’s not 32GB, as advertised.  It’s 16GB (which is what I have now).

The ugly:

  • I called Sprint to swap my service from my old phone to my new phone (which is what the online chat person told me to do the other day), and the Sprint person the phone told me I can’t do it over the phone or online because I didn’t buy it from a Sprint store.  I have to GO to a Sprint store because only the physical stores have the software needed to enter an individual phone into their system.  I can’t use it until I do that.  UGH.

The fantastic customer service (not from Sprint):

Several days ago, Woot emailed me to say that they’d heard that this shipment of phones included some 16GB phones, and it’s possible I might get one of those instead of the 32GB.  If that were to happen, I should email them and they’ll refund me $40 if I want to keep the phone or the whole amount if I want to return the phone since it’s not what I ordered.  All of that before I even got the phone, just in case it wasn’t right when it arrived.

Today, I got two emails from Woot.  The first was to tell me they’ve already refunded me $75.  The second was to tell me why they refunded me $75: the phone is refurbished, not new, and it’s 16GB.  They got the phones from T-Mobile, and apparently, the shipment details were not correct at the time of the sale.  I can still return it for a full refund AND a $40 credit towards another purchase, if I don’t want this phone.

I have not contacted Woot AT ALL yet.  They have done this all preemptively.  Woot is wonderful.  This is how you run a business.

Love/hate relationship with my phone (mostly love)

I LOVE my phone.  I’ve said this before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again.  It’s a Google Nexus 5: it’s the right size, and it doesn’t have any Samsung or Sprint or Verizon or any other crap on it.  I can be as minimal as I want with apps.  It’s pretty, and I like the way it works.


It’s getting old, and it’s not working as well as it used to.  It had that battery problem.  Well, the battery problem is slowly coming back.  It sometimes sends calls straight to voicemail, no ringing.  I only find out I missed a call when I get the voicemail notification.  Sometimes it won’t let me send texts.  Often (like most of the time), when I’m not on wi-fi, I can’t connect to the cellular network for data AT ALL (but I can still make calls).

Well, it’s old, and I should cut it some slack, right?  I wouldn’t (and didn’t) yell at my old dogs when they couldn’t walk as fast as they used to or when I had to carry them outside.

I do love my phone, but when it starts acting up, I treat it badly.  I get so frustrated.  Sometimes I yell.  (I’m so ashamed of myself right now.)  Worst of all, I think about replacing it.  The thing is, I want this phone.  There’s a Google Nexus 6, but it’s bigger.   I don’t want bigger.  There’s a Google Nexus 5x, which is the newer model, but I’m not ready to invest $400 in it yet.  I’ve used the Samsung Galaxy phones for work for years now, and I really don’t like them (although the newest one, the S7, is kind of okay).

Luckily, Woot came to my rescue last week.  There was a day they were selling new (NEW!) Google Nexus 5s for $150.  I bought one, and it should arrive this Thursday.  Replacing my phone with its twin should be okay, right?  It’s not the new model, I’m not giving up on it, I’m just…trading sideways.  I feel a little bad, but I’m also pinning all my hopes on this new phone.  PLEASE ring instead of sending calls to voicemail.  PLEASE let me use my data plan when I’m not on wi-fi.  PLEASE let me send texts normally and receive group texts in real time.  Please?

Companies suck

I am SO irritated right now.  We chose Mayflower as our moving company for three reasons, in order:

  1. They were the cheapest.
  2. Their delivery window was 7 to 14 days after they pick up our stuff, not 5 to 25 days like the other two companies we spoke to.
  3. They told us we could get the no-earlier-than delivery date moved out to give us more time to get there.

We were counting on that third point to give us at least an extra day.  The sales guy told us we could do that, and when I talked to our move coordinator on Monday (Tuesday?), she told us we could do that.  I thought it was all settled.  I sent her an email last night to confirm that our delivery window would be 8-14 days instead of 7-14 days.

She called me this morning, confused and not sure what I was talking about.  I reminded her of our conversation earlier in the week, when we discussed our preferred delivery date.  Today, she told me that she can make those notes, but she has no control over that.  She can tell me that, based on the weather, she’s pretty sure the driver won’t arrive on the 7th day, so we should be fine.


Basically, the preferred arrival date thing is bullshit.  It was bullshit when the sales guy told us, and it was bullshit when I discussed it with our coordinator on Monday or Tuesday, and it’s bullshit now.

Yes, we probably would have chosen Mayflower for reasons 1 and 2 (and possibly just for reason 1), but COME ON!  We had multiple conversations with our sales dude about it.  What if we were counting on having 10 days to get there?

I voiced my anger and then got over it.  Well, I stopped taking it out on her.  I’m not over it.  Partly over it.  I will also be calling my sales guy.

This is bullshit.

Big sigh of relief

Our moving documents are signed (we officially have movers coming to pack up and move our stuff), with a date and everything AND our lease is signed.  We officially have a place to live!

[Break for happy dance.]

AND it’s a beautiful day AND it was 55 degrees at lunchtime AND I ran outside for the first time in a couple weeks WITHOUT A JACKET and life is good.

BIG exception: I logged in to TurboTax to continue the taxes I started a month ago, and it got all crazy.  And what I mean by “all crazy” is really “why on earth does TurboTax think we owe almost $9000 in federal taxes and over $12,000 in MD taxes?!?”

I logged out of TurboTax and looked for local personal tax accountants.  Found one.  We’re meeting her on Friday.

Even with that hanging over us, we’re still getting things done and that is good.  I’m certain the tax thing will get figured out.  THAT is not what I’m going to worry about.

How many laptops do you think I need?

I picked today to unsubscribe from all those marketing emails I get every day.  Most were easy – I don’t need to get emails from FansEdge, an online store I ordered something from once and then promptly canceled the order.  I suffered a pang or two over a couple (like Lucky Brand – love those jeans, but I’m not in the market right now.  Unless they start to sell boot cut jeans that aren’t giant flared bellbottoms.  I’m looking for actual boot cut jeans.).  The one I really don’t understand is Lenovo.  I keep getting emails from them.  I bought my laptop from them in December (which is why I’m getting the emails, I know), but AFTER that, they immediately began sending me marketing emails about laptops.  Guys, I JUST bought a laptop from you.  I no longer need one.  I’m not going to buy one.  Back off!

I have no idea what I have to do

I need a better to-do list for work.  I’ve tried a rolling spreadsheet (I had a macro that would create a new tab with the current date and include all of the items from the previous tab – then I could just delete completed items), I’ve tried random text documents (I lose them or forget about them), and then I moved on to using my Outlook calendar.  That worked for a while. I either add an appointment early in the day with a reminder, or I mark something as an all day task, with or without a reminder.  Every time I look at my calendar (which is a lot – I have a lot of meetings), I’m reminded of the things I have to do.  If I don’t finish a task, I can move those from day to day, or if they have reminders, leave them (as long as I don’t dismiss the reminders) and they’ll continue to appear in front of my face when the reminder thing pops up.


  1. I start ignoring the popups.  I get so used to seeing the same tasks (because I have to keep putting off the low priority ones in favor of the crisis of the hour), and the list keeps growing, and it keeps growing with low priority issues…so I just ignore the popup reminder.
  2. If I ignore the popup because I don’t want to look at the long list of tasks I’m being reminded to do (because I don’t have time to do them because crisis of the hour has my attention), I miss ACTUAL reminders of ACTUAL meetings.  Today, for instance, I was 20 minutes late to a meeting because I paid no attention to the Outlook reminder thingy.

So this isn’t working anymore.  Maybe I’ll try the Excel thing again.  I’ve never actually tried Outlook’s task list – maybe I’ll try that first.  I just know that what I have is failing me.  Or I’m failing it.

Customer Service Circus

Dad almost always has stories to tell of bad customer service.  Well, it’s my turn.  I went through my own emotional roller-coaster (excitement, rage, relief) with the Verizon FiOS people last Friday night (and I saved the chat log, just in case).

We had a choice of internet provider in the apartment (Comcast, who we have in the house, or Verizon FiOS).  After a little bit of research and some quick cost comparisons, we decided to go with Verizon AS LONG AS we could get comparable prices without signing a 2-year contract (or any contract).  All of the prices on their website seemed to indicate that a contract was required.  They have a live chat feature, so I clicked on that and Ronnie appeared to answer my questions.  The VERY FIRST THING I asked Ronnie was if we have to sign a contract in order to get residential internet services.  The answer was no (yay!).  So then Ronnie asked me some questions and recommended a package, and THEN he recommended a different package that has more services than we want BUT will save us $20 a month.  After that, I confirmed with him again that we would not have to sign a contract.  We would not.  Sold.

Ronnie sent me a link so I could start setting up my order, and he stayed online to walk me through it.  He told me exactly what to click and which ones to click on to avoid signing a contract.  He was very helpful, and I appreciated what he was doing.  I finished my order and he asked for my confirmation number so he could make sure I got what I asked for.  I gave him my confirmation order and asked him to verify that I did NOT just sign up for a contract.  His reply was: “Congratulations on successfully completing your Verizon order online and you’ve selected a 2 years’ contract for this great deal online today!”

Wait, what?  No no no no no.  I asked him to check again, and he confirmed that yes, I did indeed sign up for a 2-year contract.  Feeling some anger.  I said I want to change it immediately, and he tried to sell me on why it’s a good thing.  Anger turned into are you kidding me?  Then it turned out that HE COULDN’T FIX IT FOR ME.  I had to call someone else.  Maybe we should switch to the transcript now before my head explodes again.

Up to this point, the conversation was perfectly pleasant.

Ronnie(19:40:14): Choose the installation date of your new FiOS Internet and TV service per your convenience on the page and click on “Place Order” so you’ll get your order confirmation number on the next page.
Ronnie(19:40:40): And help me with your order confirmation number so I can double check that from my end too for you.
Zannah(19:40:52): [Confirmation number redacted]
Zannah(19:41:07): can you confirm that I did NOT just sign up for a 2-yr contract? Or any contract?
Ronnie(19:41:12): Thank you for providing.
Ronnie(19:41:22): Sure. Give me a moment please.
Ronnie(19:43:08): Thank you for waiting.
Ronnie(19:43:58): Congratulations on successfully completing your Verizon order online and you’ve selected a 2 years’ contract for this great deal online today!
Ronnie(19:44:28): You will receive an e-mail confirmation letter, within 24 hours, from Verizon. This e-mail will have your order details and your online order number which you can use to check your online order status.
Zannah(19:44:49): No, hold on.
Zannah(19:45:03): I was NOT going to sign a 2-year contract
Zannah(19:45:07): can you check that again?
Ronnie(19:46:49): I’ve checked and can confirm that you’ve selected a 2 years’ contract option; however, be assured as you’ll get the discounted price gurantee for the next 24 months and you might have not got some discounts with “No Contract” option which you’ve got with “Contract” option.
Zannah(19:47:29): then I want to change it immediately
Zannah(19:47:35): I specifically said that I did NOT want the contract option
Zannah(19:47:40): and I thought that’s what I selected
Zannah(19:47:43): how do I change that?
Ronnie(19:50:04): You’ll love everything about FiOS, and we’ll stand behind it with our Worry Free Guarantee. If you’re not happy you can disconnect within the first 14 days, and won’t be charged an Early Termination Fee.
Zannah(19:50:37): then disconnect me right now. I absolutely DO NOT WANT a 2-yr contract
Zannah(19:51:05): if you can’t change it, I want to cancel this entire order
Ronnie(19:52:30): No problem at all. Be assured! You’ll not need to cancel your amazing order. All you need to do is you’ll just need to call Verizon Business Office at 1-800 VERIZON (1-800-837-4966) and they’ll make the changes for you. They’ll make it from “Contract” to “No Contract” for you!
Zannah(19:52:42): are they open right now?
Ronnie(19:52:47): Be assured! Everything will be perfect for you!
Ronnie(19:53:37): I think they should open right now; however, if they’re closed for the day, that’s not a problem for you as you can call them tomorrow as well and can get it changed!
Ronnie(19:53:53): You can get it changed within next 14 days from today!
Ronnie(19:58:18): It was really nice talking to you and assisting you Zannah! I’ll be happy to assist you if you’ve anymore questions for me?
Zannah(19:58:47): I just need to get rid of the contract. I’m on hold with the Business Office now
Zannah(19:58:59): So I think we’re done here. Thank you.
Ronnie(19:59:25): Sure! Don’t worry at all about the contract part Zannah! It’ll be done by them for you!
Ronnie(19:59:30): Thanks for choosing Verizon. We appreciate your business.

Please take a minute to complete the survey at the conclusion of this chat. Your feedback is important!

Oh, boy, did I take that survey.  I was on hold with the business office for nearly 20 minutes, but when I got through, the guy I talked to was super-helpful and nice.  He looked up my order and found that I actually had NOT signed up for a 2-year contract.  Then he added notes to the account to make it clear to anyone who looked at it that there is no contract.  The fall from rage to relief had me giddy.  I made sure to tell the new guy (Tom, I think) how helpful he was and to pass that on to his supervisor.  I needed to balance out the not-so-glowing report I gave Ronnie in the survey (and Tom deserved the praise).

Not a fun way to spend a Friday night.  Of course, I still don’t have internet service.  They’re coming during the day on Thursday to set us up.

I like games

Because John’s family knows us so well, we got two copies of the game Geek Out for Christmas.  It seems silly to own it twice, so after playing Lords of Waterdeep with Jess and Chuck on New Year’s Eve (good game, lots of fun), we decided to exchange a redundant Geek Out for that one.


Well, we haven’t done it yet, but if we make it to the mall soon, we will.  At least a decision was made.  Margaret, when you decide to start your LARPing career, you should aim for the scary dark-elf-type person on the right for your first costume.  I don’t know who she is, but she looks like she could kick some ass.

We haven’t played Geek Out yet, but it’s a trivia game (that can also be played by two people), so maybe we’ll give it a try this weekend.