Category Archives: gas prices

Bureaucracy

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This will be an angry post, one where frustration sometimes is best

relieved by venting! It can be about the fact that it’s quite challenging

to get a hold of an actual human being on the phone! It can be your

own disappointment or disgust at the way businesses seem to give you

the ‘run around!’

I can only hope you will add to this, with your own examples of

“Bureaucracy!”

(There is a reason why there are so many people throw the word, “idiocy”

around! Also, I do know there may be some people who may mention the

dreaded word, “politicians, ” too.)

Tomorrow will be my smiles and chuckles post. . .

 

I would like to start the ball rolling with a look at a small example of how

business in my workplace, at the good ‘ole warehouse, is run.

Last Monday, while about 20 people were lining up to ‘clock in,’  at our

time clock there was an obstacle to walk around to get to the clock. It is a

small ‘vehicle’ or ‘cart’ that has an engine, which the ‘bosses’ scoot around

on.

It would ‘crack you up,’ to see them get on one of these, only to go about 30

paces, to get to another office or to use the rest room.

In each of these cases, no one else is allowed to ‘touch or move them.’

On last Tuesday, at the morning meeting, a fellow coworker mentioned that

whoever is parking their little mode of transportation in the way of the time

clock, was actually ‘breaking a safety rule.’

Then, my friend added, it is unsafe, due to the way people have to ‘clock in’

and then try to get out of the way of the next person in line. ‘There isn’t any

room to do this safely.’

Then, he mentioned that someone ‘almost tripped over it!’

Well, what do you know?!

That darn cart was once again parked in the location directly under

the bins order fillers’ time clock. I wish to note, at this time, I never get

in this long line, no patience for such nonsense. I enter the hallway by

the lockers, ‘clock in’ where there is usually only five people getting

their last sips of coffee, filling their water bottle, or something like this.

It is located by the break room.

No one blocks the break room!

Anyway, at the morning meeting on last Wednesday, one of our immediate

bosses, (one is for heavy bulk fillers and the other regular ‘bins’ order fillers)

made a proud announcement,

“We sent out a memo to whoever is leaving their cart by the time clocks.”

(In this case, he meant an ’email.’ There are no more memos, unless the

boss’ boss prints out an email and checks it for any facts that may not be

disclosed to us, (‘paeans.’) By the way, how many people would have put

an ‘o’ in that? Since everyone says ‘pee-ons’ I struggled with the spelling!

Out of practice!

On last Thursday, the cart was moved, presumably due to the ‘efficiency

and effectiveness’ of the email!

Another minor example of ‘Bureaucracy,’ came in a rather smelly way!

I went away to my Mom’s on June 27th and arrived home on July 6th.

I had a grand time, some challenges but overall, a nice escape from my

everyday life.

When I arrived home, I smelled an odor in the hallway, quickly sped up

to get into my apartment, presumable to be in my old, familiar, cinnamon

and other kinds of homey smells. (I love Yankee Candle Company’s scent

of “Home Sweet Home,” use it in my candles, warmers, and in my car, too.)

Oh my!

It was my apartment that truly stank! Yuck!

I quickly went to the nearly empty fridge, it held only pleasant condiments

and the baking soda box held any of the odors. No spoiled foods, check!

I then ran into the bathroom, and as I got there, I was splashing in the

hallway! The carpet was soaked and yes, it smelled horrific. Like a dead

animal, no none of those in evidence!

I called my apartment manager’s phone number, leaving a message.

I went out into the hall, stopped across the hall. The friendly woman, who

is still nameless, since my good friend, “Bo” and daughter “Amyah” moved

out, I have not attempted to know this one. I miss the grandmother friend

and her granddaughter, too. (I gave her a lot of my Dad’s porcelain light-

houses and other nice things, like a ‘throw’ blanket with the 12 Lake Erie

lighthouses on it.)

The neighbor opened her door, asked me had I been gone long? She had

noticed my absence and admitted to smelling my odor. She also told me

that her air conditioner pipe from the upstairs (floors 2 and 3) had somehow

gotten clogged. The overflow or pressure had leaked into her apartment,

hallway and into her bedroom, too. She said this happened on June 30th,

that the manager had provided a fan to dry it, would be cleaning her carpet

sometime around July 11 or 12th.

I was ‘freaking out!’ That meant he clearly knew others were having this

problem and had not bothered to knock and check around to see if there

were other instances of this. Just while I was talking to her, Pete called.

He lives on the second floor with his wife, Nancy. It is not like he is off

the premises, surely he would have smelled this, since they are supposed

to vacuum the halls and wax the chair rail in the hallway.

I approached this with caution, remembering my Mom’s favorite expression

for handling irksome circumstances:

“You can attract more positive responses with honey than with vinegar.”

(There are variations on this but this is how she would say it.)

I told Pete, that I had come home from vacation and found my apartment

very ripe smelling, think it has to do with the water heater leaking or the

air conditioner pipe. He said he would bring me a fan.

I called my oldest daughter, she came over. I was sure I would have a fit,

if someone would not be there to keep me from over-reacting!

I boiled tea for the two of us, I lit about ten candles around the apartment.

I put a little of my vanilla scented lotion inside my nostrils.

When Pete came down, he knocked and then opened the door. He did not

admit to me that there was any odor. (I miss my old landlord, Ron, he would

have sympathized and also, maybe offered to help find out the root of the

problem.)

Pete said, “I will have to call a maintenance man tomorrow. He is also good

with the electrical stuff. He can check your heater and air conditioner.”

Carrie was walking in, saw my look and asked me to come in the hallway

while Pete set up the fan to blow air into my wet carpet and then he opened

the doorway to the ‘electrical stuff.’

Carrie ‘admonished me:’  “Don’t use your teacher look or your teacher voice,

Mom! But you may ask him if there are any avenues to proceed to, if it were

an ’emergency,’ mention that mold is not healthy for you to sleep in.”

I re-entered my apartment, almost knocking him down. Pete was going to

leave! I had to take a short breath not to let my steam blow!

“What would you do if this happened to yours and Nancy’s apartment?

Would you think there may be a solution that could be chosen tonight?”

 

(Inside my head I was yelling,

“So I won’t have to sleep knowing that there is water with possible mold

or e-coli, lying inch thick in my hallway!!”)

Pete asked me twice in quick succession, had I run my air conditioner

while I was on vacation?

Each time, I answered, “No.”

I am not sure if that would have somehow made it ‘my fault’ that the air

conditioner’s condensation had run into my apartment, but he seemed to be

focused on this point. Now, later, I wonder if I had it so that it would run

while I was gone, would that have somehow alleviated their responsibility?

 

An emergency plumber came that night.

 

I am thankful that he said to Pete, “This place smells disgusting! It would

be hard to sleep with this in the hallway!”

He said to me, “Maybe you could spend the night at your friend’s apartment,”

looking at my 34 year old daughter. (God bless his heart!)”

He also explained how there is a perpendicular pipe, that had filled with

mold, where the condensation from others’ air conditioners siphons down

into this. Normally, going into a drain. I was glad he explained that the

whole thing was ‘not your tenant’s fault’ to Pete.

In this case, as I talked to my coworker the next day who also happens to

live in my apartment building, he feels that Pete should have offered to

pay something towards a motel room. Another coworker says, he would

have insisted on getting the carpet cleaned and suctioning off the water,

too.

I have a good thing to tell you! My carpet did get cleaned on July 1oth,

so I only had to live with the stench for Sunday through Thursday nights.

Another good bureaucratic occurrence is to be announced.

I got a refund from the Cable company!

What? You heard me right!

I called them to tell them I did not get my Time Warner Cable Channel

Guide for the months of June or July! I wondered if I needed to go to

the Post Office and ask for a trace on it? The first woman that I talked to,

used a businesslike tone, saying that they were no longer publishing this

lovely television guide, that was quite a bargain for less than $3. It had

the look of a magazine, with at least ten pages of colored paper, then the

rest of it, in black and white newsprint. I would pore over that, circle and

use two different colors of highlighters, too!

When I did not get a significant explanation nor confirmation of the bill

being changed, since I had sent both June and July payments by this time,

I asked for a manager!

I used a plaintive tone, almost whiny, but was almost beside myself, really

upset about this. I wanted to know if there had been written notice of its

discontinuation? I wished to have an explanation why this happened? I

wondered was I the only person who felt it was well worth paying for this

monthly guide?

The manager was like a psychiatrist, she had a bell-like tone to her voice,

very sympathetic, kind and saying, “Oh, that is too bad!” and then, “Oh,

I can understand how important this was to you!”

I actually got a $30 refund, she felt this was well worth using her power

to use “discretionary funds.”

She was looking at my years of being an “Outstanding customer,” and

telling me she did not want to lose me, that I was “Valuable” to Time

Warner Cable!

I may have to call HER next time something else goes wrong, somehow

she imparts some warmth and love to the whole ‘bureaucracy’ and gives

me hope after all!

Let me know you worst case scenarios with bureaucracy and I will kindly

impart my “Oh, that is too bad’s” to each and every one of you! I have a

good feeling that this post may help you ‘vent’, ‘rant’, and you will feel

much better!!

Fellow bloggers ‘therapy’ begins when I hang my ‘shingle up!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greener Choices

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In only a few days, April holds two important ‘green’

days: Earth Day and Arbor Day. I thought it may be

pertinent to make a list of progressive choices for a

healthier lifestyle. They may make the world a better

place, too!

While the Spring sales are still going on, you may wish

to stock up on cloth towels and cotton sheets. Cloth

towels to wipe up things are much better for the

environment than using lots of paper towels. Cotton

sheets are able to be dry quicker, reducing energy

usage, than ones that have polyester fibers.

Once you have stocked up and chosen which ‘rags’ to

discard, consider the following places who welcome old

towels, along with old blankets. Homeless shelters and

battered women’s shelters appreciate clean towels, as

well as ones to wipe up spills. They are happy to receive

donations of clean sheets and clothing items, especially

warm coats in the winter, as well as cotton t-shirts that

are clean for summer wear. Check on their ‘needs lists’

and you may have some of the necessities around the house

going to waste. Local animal shelters also are happy to

receive towels and cloths that look a little ‘raggedy.’

They also appreciate other donations of pet food, kitty

litter and unused leashes. I mentioned this to a friend

who is insisting that she will ‘never own another pet,’

since her beautiful golden retriever died of cancer.

Another ‘switch’ from good choices to better choices,

is to replace your toothbrushes with more eco-friendly

ones. There are ones now on the market made of castor

oil plants instead of petroleum (plastic ones). Look

for BPA-free and recyclable on the label.

I could not believe this figure that I found in the

Central Ohio “Natural Awakenings” magazine! Our library

has them in a stack, labeled ‘free.’ The statistic that

had my jaw drop open, thank goodness too early for a fly

to be caught, was that Americans use 500 million disposable

straws in ONE DAY! The founder of the Be Straw Free Campaign,

Milo Cress, accumulated this horrifying data. As you may

know, at parks, zoos and other natural wildlife preserves,

you are requested to not even drink out of plastic straws.

This is because they have accidentally flown out of trash

barrels, been dropped or otherwise gotten into the beaks

of animals. They can be caught and not able to be dislodged

by the animal, sometimes causing death or horrible pain.

The Ocean Conservancy has straws on their Top 10 list of

debris littering beaches. Paper straws are an alternative

since they do compost within 45-60 days. Otherwise, using

a sippy cup for kids and a twist up or down lid for adults

can keep animals and sea life ‘safe’ from harm of plastic

straws.

Of course, we have covered this in other posts of mine,

where I mention that I walk to the local Delaware Community

Market and also, during three seasons of the year, go to

the Farmer’s Market that is on the sidewalks downtown during

business hours on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

By purchasing locally grown foods, whether they are fruits,

vegetables or baked goods, you are supporting the farmers

and you are saving the environment. You carry a cloth bag,

which eliminates plastic or even, paper bags. You also are

getting healthier food choices, which is good for the body.

The planet appreciates your efforts to buy local, since

there is no need for shipping, warehousing, and boxing up

these products. Local purchases save gas!

A great and easy way to go ecological is to buy several

power-saver energy strips. They can be turned off when

machines are not being used. Also, unplugging things like

the toaster, coffee maker or blender can do a lot of good

by such simple actions. Completely shutting down computers

saves more energy than using sleep mode.

The Appliance Recycling Centers of America, in conjunction

with your local electric company, will come and pick up your

discarded appliances. You may find yourself purchasing a

more energy-efficient refrigerator or freezer in the

future, or your old one may just ‘conk out.’

In the states of California, Connecticut, Maryland,

Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont have

pledged to increase production or construction of the

charging stations needed to use for battery powered

cars, plug in hybrids and other ‘clean’ burning vehicles

by 2025. Consider buying one of these, when you have your

old car ‘bite the dust.’

There are companies that can help install solar panels

in your home, making renewable home energy cost-effective,

along with increasing your home’s property value.

There is a company that you may find on the internet,

that incorporates a “1% for the Planet” logo. You also

will find participating ‘green’ companies at Tinyurl.com/

OnePercentPlanet.

Some green tips for cooking are always helpful, sometimes

you may have already read them somewhere else. This can

help remind you of better eco-friendly kitchen processes.

Slow cooked soups and stews, a meal within a pot or pan,

covered to use the heat within the structure, is both

ecological and saves energy when it comes time to wash up.

This can be helpful to the budget, too, since you can use

a less expensive cut of meat, while it tenderizes in the

slow-cooking process. If you are a vegetarian, it is also

a delicious way to bring out the flavors of the foods and

softens root vegetables that need time to simmer.

Lastly, it is also a really nice way to come home, the

aroma wafting through the entryway to your house. In my

case, the hallway leading to my door. I adore smelling

the food that has been cooking on low heat while I have

been away at work!

I sometimes use a covered dish in the oven, which has a

similar economical and ecological purpose.

A company called Microban Europe, UK, has been testing

produce and finding it challenging to keep them fresh.

Unfortunately, I found this fact quite gross! our average

refrigerator harbors millions of bacteria! Yikes! There is

a eco-friendly product, called “The Berry Breeze” in-fridge

automated device. This circulates activated oxygen to

prevent mold, keeping produce fresh longer and reducing

spoiling to save your grocery money.

Another interesting ‘take’ on buying food that is healthy

and ecological, is to eliminate canned goods. I was not

sure I could get ‘on board’ with this plan! I have a limited

budget, so canned goods are more economical for one person.

Instead of a whole bag of potatoes or the singular, more

expensive one potato, I buy canned potatoes and rinse them

twice for the salt and metal taste to be rinsed off. I

then proceed to recycle my cans. There is a woman in the

Natural Awakenings magazine, Hannah Helsabeck, who is

president of WildMintShop.com, who shares “can-free”

meal tips online. Her quote is a positive and thought-

provoking one:

“It takes a little planning, but we can now avoid all the

toxic chemicals used in processing foods and making cans.

Let’s kick the can!”

I say, “Go Green!”

and

“Let’s get become a little more aware of how our actions

affect the environment and consequently, the world.”

Good Friday Morning?

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If you got up on Friday morning and drove past the

central Ohio gas stations, you will have seen a huge

jump in gas prices! You would be outraged, as I was

while driving to work. But my anger started way before

that moment of seeing the increased gas prices, that

rose from $2.17 to $2.45 in only one day!

So sad to hear, while eating my cereal, sipping on my

hazelnut coffee, about an 83 year old man’s horrible

experience yesterday morning. This was Friday, January

10th, before most people that work days are even awake.

I get up at 5 a.m. and this poor, elderly gentleman was

delivering newspapers in a big stack to a southern

Columbus Certified gas station.

He walked out of the gas station, having done his daily

routine, around 4 a.m. He unlocked his car and while on

the passenger side of the car, a quickly moving stout

man climbed in behind the wheel. The man shouted loudly,

as he explained to first the police, later the news

reporters,

“Hey, get out of my car, buddy!”

While the driver put the car into reverse, this spunky,

wiry newspaper delivery man, grabbed onto the handle of

the passenger’s door. He held on for ‘dear life!’ Once

the driver swung speedily into forward with a wide arc,

the older gentleman fell into the 2-3″ of snowy wetness.

His coat that was open, his shirt and pants were soaked,

while his indignation and ire were high!

My Grandmother Mattson may have intoned, once again, this

familiar expression,

“What is the world coming to? When you cannot trust your

neighbors to treat an elderly man with respect and courtesy,

somehow this is one of those lows that you wished would not

happen.

Anger at such an outrage, from the man’s verbal and facial

expressions of reliving the experience carried over to me.

Through time and space, traveling through and seeping out

of my television screen, filled me with an equal fervor!

His car, a 2006 Lacrosse was stolen or the new label given,

‘carjacked.’ I had not heard the follow up story being

covered, while watching the 5 o’clock news, later last night.

The guilty party was a white, fat and chubby man, of 5’6”

height approximately, wearing a black vest. His appearance,

thanks to video cameras in such locations showed an average

man, no real apparent scraggly, disheveled look, as you

would expect a thief to have. Stooping so low to take a man

whose retirement income doesn’t stretch enough, so he must

wake in the dead of morning, to deliver papers.

This was some ‘wake up’ for me, filling me with the energy

of a man who can lift a car up off of a caught person.

If you woke up today (or yesterday) and it went uneventfully,

you (and I) are so lucky!!

My Grandfather Mattson would say of such behavior,

“That was a fine howdy do!”