Kudos to Wayfair

Before the holidays, I ordered a stackable bamboo wine rack.  It was originally supposed to be delivered on Christmas Eve Day, but as of Christmas, the tracking said it would be delivered on Boxing Day.  Nope.  Then the tracking said it was delivered on the 24th.  Nope.  We don’t have “porch pirates,” and if it had been delivered to a neighbor, that person would have either brought it by, or given me a call to let me know to come pick it up.

So, eventually, I contacted Wayfair to say it never arrived, FedEx wasn’t very helpful tracking it down for me, and requested a replacement.  No problem getting a replacment.  Unfortunately, the replacement arrived two days later, along with the one that sat in a depot for at least a week.  *groan*

Contacted Wayfair customer service to explain the situation, and said I needed to return the replacement.  The rep said she would arrange for a pickup at no cost to me, and to watch my email for further instructions.  Although I never did receive a follow up email, a UPS driver showed up this morning to pick up the package.  After verifying the sender and recipient info, the guy took the package, peeled off the pre-printed label, stuck it on the box over the old one, and handed me the receipt.  Considering that all this happened around the holidays, followed by a weekend, the whole process went remarkably smoothly.

Kudos to Wayfair, both for customer service responsiveness, and for choosing UPS for the return instead of FedEx, after I explained that I’ve never had problems with UPS mis-delivering, or losing packages they claim had been delivered, the way FedEx does as often as not.  I’m far from the only one who’s been having problems with FedEx.  There are entire threads on Nextdoor devoted to FedEx mis-delivering packages, etc., not just within my neighborhood, but with other neighborhoods/towns within about a 10 mile radius.

“New” Wine Fridge

This item is new to us.  A woman in the next town over put up a “For Sale” ad on Nextdoor, for a used wine fridge.  Turns out she and her husband said “we’ll take it” when some friends of theirs were moving, and didn’t want to bring it with them.  They used it for a couple of years, but since they mostly drink beer or red wine, and not much white wine, they decided to sell it.  So, we’re its third owner.  Supposedly, it runs ~4F colder than its thermostat is set for, but that doesn’t bother me, because I wouldn’t put red wine in it, anyway, and it’s easy enough to find a new set point for the temperature I want.  The reds go in an ordinary wine rack, at room temperature.

I looked up the model online, and found a .pdf owner’s manual for it.  The model is now discontinued, but from what I can tell, the big box stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, Target, and Costco used to sell it for anywhere from $1100 – $1200, but the sellers got it for free.  No way was it ever worth more than $500.  I got it for $75 cash.

The ad was first placed the week before Christmas, and we traded a few PMs, but I didn’t want to call her on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, so I said I’d call Saturday morning to arrange a time to come take a look, saying if it checked out, I’d pay cash for it.  So, I called, a time was arranged, and as I suggested, to which she agreed, I gave her a second courtesy call to let her know we were ready to leave, and would be there in ~10 minutes.

When we got there, her husband had it out on the front porch on a hand truck, and helped us load it into the back of the truck.  Paid her the cash, and we were done with the transaction in less time than it took us to drive over there.

We’ll have to let it sit in place for a day or so after the transportation to let all the lube settle back in place before we plug it in, but so what?  It was a good deal.  We won’t have to make room on the top rack of our fridge for a bottle of bubbly on NYE, and when we decide at the last minute to fix some chicken or seafood for dinner, the white will already be cold.

Win-win —  I think.  They get a few bucks for something for which they no longer have much use, and paid nothing.  We get something we wanted.  It does work.

Another Great Neighbor

Today, a couple from diagonally across the street came by to drop off a huge tray of Christmas cookies.  Ever since we met them three years ago at another neighbor’s Christmas party, they’ve been dropping of Christmas cookies for us.  These are the same neighbors who made face muzzles for us when the fiat came down about having to wear them in retail stores.  In anticipation, I’d ordered some gourmet chocolate gift towers, and gave her one of them in exchange for the cookies.

When we received a Christmas card in the mail from them this year, which we never had before, I assumed they weren’t baking cookies this year to bring around to neighbors and friends.  I was wrong.  We’ll have to offer them some of the organic produce from our garden next summer.  They took us up on that offer last summer.  We always end up with too much of something.  Usually heirloom tomatoes, but sometimes it’s peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash, eggplant, or peppers.  This coming spring will be our third year with our asparagus patch, so we may be able to harvest enough to give them some of that, too.

We’ve been very fortunate with neighbors over the decades.  Only once did we have one.  He was a divorced complete asshole of a lawyer who managed to get himself on the HOA board, and immediately started sending out “tone letters” threatening to fine people for infractions that were never in the by-laws, and he installed a complete bitch as the property manager, who would never answer or return calls.  People started selling their homes in that development, after he started swinging his dick around.  That was the last time I ever lived in a subdivision with an HOA.  Good riddance.

Great Neighbor

We went to visit my mother last weekend.  While we were packing up quarts of my homemade beef stew and coconut carrot ginger soup for her, our dog alerted us to some strange activity outside.  I looked out a window to the driveway, but didn’t see anything.  My other half took the dog outside to investigate.  There was a strange car parked at the end of our driveway, with no sign of a driver.  That was odd.

Then, my other half got a text message from our neighbor saying that after the snow storm, his M-I-L didn’t want to drive down his icy driveway to join the womenfolk baking Christmas cookies,  so he suggested she park at the end of ours, and walk across the lawn between our places, because we’d plowed our driveway.  No problem.  We don’t care, as long as we know to whom the car belongs.  It would have been uncool to have called the cops on a neighbor’s relative who was just there to help with some holiday preparations.

In the end, we got a nice large container of cookies from them as a “thank you,” for letting her park there.

This neighbor is great.  Over the past year we’ve traded lots of favors:  we got free range eggs in exchange for chicken sitting while they were away; we typically trade as many herbs as they want to pick from our herb garden for some rhubarb; we’ve loaned him one of our trailers more than once when his was out of commission in exchange for nothing; we’ve traded my homemade hot pepper jelly for his homemade pesto sauce; a few other things that are just nice neighborly.

We have other nice neighbors, too.  The ones who usually hold a big Christmas party can’t this year, because of shutdown rules.  But, if they want a trailer load of firewood, we will tractor it up their driveway for them, and help unload and stack it, for free.  We have plenty to spare.  The others who bring us a batch of Christmas cookies every year sent us a card this year, instead, because I’m sure they’re afraid that nobody would want to eat cookies they hadn’t baked themselves.  We would, but god bless ’em.  Usually, we give them a box of gourmet chocolates in exchange for the cookies.  Every time they send us, or deliver something, it comes with an overtly Christian religious message.  I don’t really mind, as long as they don’t try to convert us to whatever form of Christianity they follow.  We’re secular.

It’s a few days early, but:

Bitchy Neighbor

This woman in in my Nextdoor “neighborhood,” which comprises a few square miles.  We got a snow dump of less than a foot — maybe 9″.  So, the township guys were out plowing overnight Wed.-Thu.  Anyway, the lady logged into Nextdoor to complain about the lousy plowing job that covered her mailbox post in more snow.  From the picture she posted, the snow wasn’t even high enough up the post to cover her house number.  *eye roll*

Within hours, she had upwards of 100 replies, the vast majority of which were snarky, along the lines of:

  • poor baby
  • I’m so sorry this happened to you
  • first world problems
  • there’s a nifty invention called a shovel
  • I feel for you, but I can’t quite reach
  • you must be fun at parties

Hell, she’s lucky.  When I used to live in another town, the plows took out my entire mailbox, snapping the post in half, and smashing the box beyond repair.  We had to go to Home depot to buy a new post, new mailbox, new peel-and-stick numbers, and some quick set cement to put in a whole new one, at our own expense.  The township basically said “deal with it,” so we did.  Fortunately, our mailman was understanding, and walked our mail up the hill to drop it on our front porch before the snow melted enough for us to install the new one at the end of our driveway.

That didn’t even happen to this woman.  But her dander was up, so she called the township, her state rep, and state senator to raise holy hell.  Then she crowed about the response she got, and posted another picture of her mailbox that still has snow around it, but is now accessible without having to wear mukluks.  20:1 says a neighbor came out with a shovel, and shaved down the pile for her.  There’s no way the township would have sent around someone after the fact, just to clear around her mailbox for her.  She really needs to find the neighbor who did that for her, and drop off a bottle of wine, or something.

Heading into Christmas

Because of COVID19, our neighbors across the street are not hosting their Christmas party this year, but they did decorate.  Nothing like the guy down the street, though, who lights up the whole neighborhood.  I do some decoration, but I don’t do much more than wreaths on our doors, and some solar powered outdoor lights on a few evergreens.  Since we got almost a foot of snow on Wednesday, very little of which has melted, those solar panels haven’t gotten any light in the past couple of days, so … no display.

However, the presents I got for my other half, and my mom are here.  Since we may or may not be allowed to cater Christmas dinner for mom as we have for at least 15 years, we’re going to visit this Sunday, to deliver her “stocking,” plus a quart of my bouef bourgignon to keep her going for a day or two.

If we can visit on Christmas, and bring the dinner, we will, but her retirement community still may forbid it, like they did on Thanksgiving.  If that’s the case, we will visit the following weekend with turkey, cran-apple sauce, stuffing, apple crisp, and pumpkin custard.  The leftovers will only be a day or two old, so they’ll be fine.

And … just for the fun of it, this is my favorite Christmas movie short of all time (it never gets old):

Merry Christmas!

More Snow on the Way

This time, we’re supposed to get a good 18″ dump tomorrow, although I’m skeptical.  It’s still sunny-overcast.  Just in case, we’re going to make chicken divan for dinner tonight, and Swiss steak for dinner tomorrow.  They’re both good dishes for sub-freezing weather.  Plus, we’re going to need some calories to go out there to shovel and snowplow the cement/stone perimeter of the house, and our really long driveway.

Our baby Kubota tractor with its snowblower attachment, and front end loader can take care of most of the driveway, but the top is steep where it meets the public road, and that section almost never gets sun.  Rock salt might be in order for that, after the snow removal.  Around the house perimeter, it’s mostly shoveling by hand, although the walk-behind snowblower helps, so that any USPS, UPS, or FedEx delivery people can still make deliveries.  We have to be judicious with our use of rock salt, because we do not want our 11 year old dog burning his paws stepping on it, but we can also walk him on leash, and not let him near anywhere we have to use salt.

I like snow, when I don’t need to go anywhere, but we have to visit my mom on Sunday.  The roads should be clear by then, but mostly I need to ask her what she wants us to bring over besides food and Christmas presents, because visiting her on Christmas has already been verboten by both her governor and retirement community.

Let it Snow!

It’s snowing pretty hard outside.  I like it.  If it’s going to be cold, it might as well snow.  Sure, it’s a pain having to dig out the vehicles to go run errands, ans plow the driveway, but it’s a small price to pay for a little bit of winter wonderland.  One year, it snowed the day before Halloween, which was unusual.  At least this year, it held off until a couple of weeks before Christmas.

It’s already accumulating, and it’s almost impossible to see the pond half a block down the back yard.  Time to fish out the mukluks and pac boots from the closet.  It’s going to be slippery out there until we get a good 4″ accumulation.

Nailed the Dinners

Aside from the spicy turkey curry I made this evening to mask the taste of the dark meat, which, thankfully, was all we had left of the bird, the previous two casseroles I made from leftovers were good.  Brought mom a turkey pot pie in a 6″ diameter Corningware dish last Sunday, along with some cran-apple sauce, and a quart of carrot-curry-coconut-ginger soup.

She did not get any of the turkey tetrazzini I made on Monday, which made enough to reheat last night.  FWIW, when she called me again today to make sure that we will be there mid-morning to chauffeur her around, just to pay a cell phone bill that she now thinks might be correct, she said “That food you brought saved my life!   It was so good.”

Drama queen, much?  I’ve been dealing with this my entire life. My other half is onto her schtick, but my cousins are not, and she’s got them on speed dial, which is hilarious, considering that she can’t figure out how to use her new flip cell phone, and keeps calling me for tech support for it.

Cell Phone and Freakout

No, not our cell phones.  Within 30 minutes this afternoon my mom called me three times, freaking out about getting double billed for her cell phone service.  After listening to her for for several minutes, it was obvious what she needed to do about it, but she won’t.  So, we have to drive over there from out of state to pick her up to get her to the local cell phone store to speak to the manager in person, as soon as the store opens in the morning.

If I’d been double billed for something, I’d have been on the phone with customer service, expecting a half hour wait, then another half hour being transferred from department to department, giving the final person a piece of my mind if necessary.  But, no, my mom’s too afraid to do that.  Why, I don’t know.  Dialing the phone to reach me is not a problem for her.  Dialing customer service is, for some reason.

If I had not committed us to driving all the way over there during frickin’ rush hour to pick her up, serve as her jitney service, and conduct her business for her in a sane manner when she freaks out on the store manager, she would have called one of my cousins to complain about how I won’t do anything for her when she needs my help, complete with teary whining.  None of my cousins have met her more than a half dozen times in their lives.

If she can keep calling me every 10 minutes, she can call customer service.  It would also help if she didn’t read the label on, or look up, every med she was prescribed, to suddenly come down with every possible side effect, and complain about how the medicine is worse than the thing for which it was prescribed, but that’s a different matter.  It’s her excuse for why we have to blow at least half a day, and several gallons of gas to go there to chauffeur her around.  Her side effects problems will disappear the moment we show up; they always do.  Oh, and there’s the bridge toll getting back into our home state.

One thing’s for sure.  We will not stick around for a moment more than it takes to clear up this billing issue, and drop mom back off at her home.  We did a shitload of grocery and pharmacy shopping for her two days ago.

This is not exactly as if we live a few miles away, and can get there at the snap of a finger, even if it were an emergency.  A phone bill is not an emergency, but this is where we are.   Sheesh.