Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Letter From President Bush

President Bush wrote me on official White House letterhead.

Congratulations on receiving the President's Volunteer Service Award from the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. Through service to others, you demonstrate the outstanding character of America and help strengthen our country.

In January 2002, I called on all Americans to dedicate at least two years- or 4,000 hours- over the course of their lives to serve others at home or abroad. I congratulate you and all Americans who have answered this call and have earned a bronze Award from the President's Council. Americans of all ages can serve others in countless ways, such as mentoring a child, caring for an elderly neighbor, teaching someone to read, cleaning parks, and creating safer neighborhoods.

My Administration encourages every American to help their communities and our country. Through the USA Freedom Corps and the President's Council, we are building a culture of service, citizenship, and responsibility in American that will last for decades to come. Americans continue to serve and are part of the changing America, one heart and one soul at a time. Your actions are part of this change. I urge you to continue serving your neighbors and earn a Silver or Gold Award. I also hope that you will ask your friends, family, and colleagues to join you in serving your community and our Nation.

May God bless you, and my God continue to bless America.

George Bush

There are several things to note about this letter.

First, it reeks. Bush is taking credit for my volunteer work, because I "answered this call". He is so unbelievably full of himself. I have volunteered all of my adult life, as do most folks I know. C'mon Prez, we do it because we were caring, compassionate people before you became King. Really. We aren't motivated by a tiny, stinking, metal pin. Really.

Second, had I known that my hours were being tallied by the White House, I wouldn't have signed "in", which I only did about half the time, when I volunteered at my son's school.

Third, WTH? How much money is being wasted on this program? Do they really think they are motivating folks who weren't already volunteering, or do they just want to take credit for it? Never mind, I know the answer. I think our money could be better spent elsewhere.

Fourth, Bush sounds a bit like a feminist, or at least politically correct, in not attaching a gender to God. It would really be p.c. if he said "God bless the people of every nation." Really.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Sweet Solitude

My DH has taken my boys out of town. The house is mine for the weekend.

This just materialized in the last week, so I have felt a bit pressured to make the most of it because this has never happened. I have had girls' weekends away and vacations away from my house but I've never stayed home by myself.

There was a day, some twenty plus years ago, that I would have planned a raucous party, to take advantage of my parent's empty home.

This weekend I just want to enjoy the relative quiet with no agenda and know that I am in not in charge of anyone else.

Sweet Jesus, I deserve it.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Vonage Hell

Last Fall, I took the bait and joined "the revolution" at Vonage, an internet phone company. At $25/month for unlimited local and long distance, it was half the price of the big boys over at BellSouth. Since BS doesn't know a thing about customer service, I took Vonage's line and boy did they take me for a spin.

I wasn't able to keep my old phone number- that should have been the first red flag- but I didn't mind inconveniencing all my friends and family because I was teaching BellSouth a lesson for their unscrupulous business practice of slamming me over to their long distance without my permission - not that they cared until I took it up with the NC Attorney General.

Guess what? My new number was long distance to everyone in Asheville because Vonage didn't "have a contract" here and my exchange was out of Boone. At the time they had contracts in 90% of the markets in the US. It now stands at 99%, but Asheville still doesn't make it. I spent some time talking with the nice folks at Vonage who fell all over themselves to try to make it right, even giving me a toll free, but totally different number, free for 3 months. Of course, I didn't give it out to anyone; who wants to dial 10 digits to ask your neighbor for a cup of sugar? Still, I stayed with Vonage for 9 months,trying to wait out the contract.

Finally fed up, my DH signed us on with Charter's new phone service, which conveniently included an upgrade in cable just in time for The World Cup. So I called to set up cancellation of our Vonage service. After holding for (and I'm not joking) an hour and half, the polite representative on the end of the phone said I had to call on the day I wanted the service canceled. YIKES. So I called back a couple of weeks later. This time only a 55 minute wait. Woo hoo! The courteous rep told me since I was canceling within a year of my contract, that I had to pay a disconnect fee of forty bucks.

Surely, someone can waive that fee considering no one bothered to tell me I wouldn't have a local number?

No. I can't do it nor is there anyone else here who can.

I asked to speak to her supervisor. There wasn't one there.

Then give me his/her name and I call back.

I'm not allowed to do that. Company policy.

I have to hand it to her. She remained calm and polite, despite my increasing agitation with her inane answers.

What do you suggest I do?

She couldn't answer that.

I finally got her to give me the CEO's name and corporate address. A lot of good that will do.

I'm feeling a little deja vu. I had the same experience with BS, only their phone agents were nasty about it. I even wrote to their "escalation department" with no reply.

Guess I'll have to ask the Attorney General to intervene again. What a freaking pain in the ass. I have to do hours of work to get back what is rightfully mine. It absolutely isn't worth the time it takes to get back $40 ($34 from BS) but it is the principal of the issue. How many others don't have time, or just aren't capable of fighting these battles? How many seniors are out there getting fleeced?

Here's the thing. If Vonage had fair business practices, then I would be happy to give them another chance somewhere down the line, as eventually they will get a contract here. But it doesn't matter. I'm just one customer and my absence won't break the bank. It won't even make a little dent.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Doin' The Donald

I had a dream I was getting it on with Donald Trump AND I was enjoying it. Yeah, that's right. That's what I said. He was charming and a great kisser. But just as things were heating up on his double king bed, my boys interrupted by bursting in the room. I reluctantly left the Donald's side to show them their rooms which of course were up three flights and down two hallways. Before I could make it back down to finish things with Hottie Donnie, I moved on to another dream, but not before I caught myself thinking that all my past comments about his bad hair/comb over were going to be hard to explain to my new lover.

This is going nowhere so I'll move on to a drink and my book. Maybe tonight's dream lover will be attractive OR my age. Is that too much to ask the dream fairies?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Lefty Lost It

Dare I risk posting about something I know little about, again? Ahh what the hell. It always gets the most action, even if it is at my expense. Besides, golf isn't that difficult to understand. Playing the game well, at least for me, is a different story. Way too much time to think - a thinking man's (um women's) sport, although that could be called into question given some of the comments past and present players have made - Fuzzy Zoeller's racially charged comments about Tiger Woods and VJ Singh's sexist blurb about Annika Sorenstam come to mind. They could not have been thinking.

I dig watching Golf on a Sunday afternoon. I hate playing it. It's torture. Paying a hefty some of money for 5 hours of dragging your bag around, all the while sweating like a horse, and swatting away gnats like one too. Shelling out more money to the cart princess peddling beer, wearing a low cut number (hmmm, wonder who she's marketing to?) because beer enhances my bowling game, maybe it will help this. At the very least it will dull the boredom. Ok, maybe frustration is a better word because I suck at golf. The only count I've ever had on a hole that came close to par was the number of balls I lost. At the end of my round of "exercise" as my husband likes to sell it, after accounting for my beer intake, I've burned a net of 10 calories, smell like a wet dog, "out" 20 bucks in lost balls and exhausted because I took three times as many strokes as my comrades.

Sorry but I'd much rather spend that 5 hours playing a couple of tennis matches, where sweating is an indication of actual exercise.

Face it, you just don't see a lot golfers, especially Americans, who appear to be physically fit. In fact, many of them have man boobs, including Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomery, who were in the running for the US Open trophy yesterday. I can't think of any sport, besides Sumo wrestling, where man jugs appear to be an indication of success. Phil has had an incredibly successful year, bringing with it a big payroll, which apparently, judging by the size of his expanding bust, enabled him to eat a little more.

Maybe that plays into his "likeable" factor - he seems like golf's favorite son. He looks like an average guy, lest you stand him by his gorgeous wife and beautiful children, who enjoys hotdogs and beer (and perhaps a few ho-hos?) like most other Americans. He wears his heart on his sleeve, looks like he might cry on the 18th after falling apart yesterday, and calls himself an "idiot" in the post game conference.

He lost it yesterday. I felt bad for him, but he sure makes that boring, frustrating game worth watching.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Last night, at BlogAsheville's birthday gig at friend Edgymama's warm and lively home, I was crowned Biggest Slacker at BlogAsheville. Well deserved, I might add, but I've been called worse, and sadly it was by my beautiful six year old -STUPID IDIOT (redundant, I know, but considering his age, not bad. I rue the day when he replaces IDIOT with another 5 letter word).

Thus my absence from the blogger pages, at least I think it is the most probable cause. I've been consumed with managing my strong-willed child's antics at school. My consumption mostly consisted of helplessly holding my breath until school ended as I had difficulty finding a therapist who was "taking new patients". School ended two weeks ago and we have found a new therapist that understands him and assures me he won't grow up to be an ax murderer. In fact, she said kid's like him - bright, articulate, perceptive, sensitive and let's not forget strong willed - grow up to change the world. Big Exhale. It's good to breathe.....