Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Monster on the Move

There is a monster headed this way and its name is Gustav. We're located right to the left and west of the crook in the boot that is Louisiana. Zip 71354. When Katrina came through it was actually east of New Orleans. And Rita came in West of Cameron Parish. So we lucked up both times. In addtion, Katrina slowed down and was just a 3 when it came on shore.

Gustav on the other hand is already a 5 and just entering the warm waters of the gulf. And it's traveling fast so it may be a huge 5 by the time it hits. AND they're expecting it to just sit and dump wind and rain for days. If it comes ashore where they are predicting we will be in the northeast quadrant, the heaviest wind and rain.

To top it off, I'm supposed to run the mail on Tuesday. I was already dreading it because it's the heaviest day of the year for my route, lots of catalogs. Maybe the people in Jackson will decide it's too bad for us to get on the road.

Traffic is heavy, cars with luggage strapped to the roof, caravans of travel trailers, ambulances, so many evacuees. The hotels have been sold out to the Arkansas border and beyond for two days. We're not messing around this time.

On other fronts, the insurance job is going okay. My plan for it to give me a decent income so I can have time to write may work out. It'll be another couple months before I know if things are going to work out long term. Hopefully by Thanksgiving.

I'm entering a couple contests this week with OTHR and one with FIMB. Might as well send them out and get my name out there, while I'm not writing, lol.

Hope everybody is staying safe. Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

TOOoooo Busy

Wow. I don't know how anybody works, raises kids AND writes. I know there are women out there that do it but since I started my new job three weeks ago, I've only had time to critique some for a fellow author and revise 'forward' on OTHR.

Monday through Friday I've been working, training, traveling to our office 80 miles away, and doing online courses (when my internet wasn't down - that turned out to a $95 problem.)

I'm still running the mail on Saturday. Yesterday, we had to run it twice because of a power outage in Jackson. That didn't really make sense, but the postal service has to abide by its contract which says the first class will be delivered if it makes it to the local facility.

Tomorrow I'm headed to Tennessee for a three day school - a crash course so that's another disruption of my writing schedule. I seem to be in revise and critique mode so I'll read Leah's Sam sequel while I'm in this waiting game to get back to my own writing.

Been thinking about what Cori asked me when I met with her about FIMB. She asked why I was doing it as a novella. Ever since, I don't feel that it's finished because in the back of my mind I was wondering the same thing. I've been trying to get the first 5 chapters of it together to send her as I promised but I no longer think of it as finished.

I just have to take everything a day at a time. It will all work out.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Congratulations, Leah!

A Published Author! You go, girl!

Who knew those fireworks last month were for you? (We did.) This is just the beginning. I sure hope I'm right behind you.

For more information on Leah's new book, and the sequel, see her blog!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Oh, let me rant

Two weeks ago, we bought a new flat screen TV. Serendipitously I had received an email from my cousin and a friend both touting the value of the Samsung. One had read that it was rated number one in PC World in the 46 inch size and the other said after two Sony's went out on them they settled on a Samsung. CFM and I sat between three identical 46 inchers and analyzed in minute detail the differences in the blacks, greens and blues. Finally we agreed the Samsung was the best.

In order to use the new flat screen to its full potential, of course, you must have HD so I started looking into our options. We were on Dish Network but they weren't offering anything special to upgrade, pay $125 for the receiver and add $10 to your bill. DirectTV on the other hand was offering the 'free' four months of the premium channels with Football ticket through December - this was very attractive sine we are big football fans - also free Showtime for a year and free equipment and installation, including a free HD DVR. What a deal.

The catch was that we wouldn't get local channels. Well, our local channels stink. The sound quality is terrible and they preempt national programs and special sports "broadcasts at the drop of a hat for local affairs. So I said, that's okay as long as we'll get the national networks. The representative said, absolutely, we could get both east and west, New York and Los Angeles channels which was what we'd had when we'd been with Direct TV before. This was the first of two reps who told me the same thing.

In addition, I asked her, so this is all we'll be charged. Just the $54.99 a month or whatever. She said yes. So I took off from work early to make sure I was here when they put the service in. The technician, a fantastic guy named Mark, completed the installation around 8:00 in the evening and we had all the channels including the networks. The next day, they took the network channels back, no subscription.

I called Directtv about 8 the next evening. After troublesshooting it the tech support guy said, I don't have the 'authority' to fix it. Uh, oh. That was a harbinger of bad fortune to come. He said someone would call me back within two hours. They didn't.

I called back after ten and asked what was going on. As usual with Directv, it's like talking to one of those programmable Roarke drones from the In Death books by Robb.

Drone: I'm sorry ma'am, we will have to send a waiver in so it will be 45 days before we know if you'll be able to get the network channels.

Me: I said, what do you mean it'll be 45 days! I was told I would be able to get them. And we had them last night. I wouldn't have switched otherwise.

Drone: I'm sorry you were misinformed. We have no control over the waivers. We are obligated to submit them before giving you the network channels.

Me: You have control over what your sales people promise.

Drone: We are not allowed to promise the networks until we have the results of the waiver which takes up to 45 days.

Me: And then we might not get them at all, is that correct.

Drone: That is correct.

Me: I wouldn't have switched if I'd known this. We don't want to do without the networks for even 45 days.

Drone: I'm sorry you were misinformed. If you wish to cancel you need to do so immediately - there is only a 24 hour window.

Me: So even though I was promised this, if the waivers don't come through I won't be able to cancel later.

Drone: You must cancel within the 24 hours which has already passed, but I see that they have not put you into the 24 month commitment yet. So if you want to cancel you need to call back and be sure. The commitment would go into effect at midnight.

I was 11:15.

So, I call Dish back (I'd cancelled earlier in the day) and in order to be reinstated, they'd offered to reactivate for free I needed to go ahead and commit) Sheesh. I told them I would call right back - each time you have mention briefly the reason for your call. But in general Dish keeps the records up to date so each support person knows what's going on.

Not so for Directv, I had to call back, go through the entire explanation listen to why I shouldn't cancel, that one of these years they would have local channels, that she's sorry again that I'd been misinformed. And then I listened to a long drawn out version of their cancellation agreement. With their history of ignoring and playing down the actions of their employees and not being responsible for their actions, I fully expect to see charges on my credit card regardless of the situation. THE OTHER THING? It wasn't the only charge. On my account billing online I saw an initial charge for $80 the salesperson conveniently refused to explain when I asked about charges.

So just before midnight I got Directv cancelled and reordered Dish. Then I was told the first appointment for installation was a week from now and we would not have TV for a week!

Do you know what a man without a TV is like? Without that remote in his hand, he's little more than a vegetable. Well, hell, he's a vegetable with it but a happier vegetable.

CFM wasn't handling it too badly, though. Then I thought of trying to take apart the wires and reconnect them. He was jubous as he puts it but after several tries we managed to get the tv in the kitchen working last night. Now, he's as happy as the finest French veggies. After all, in 100 degree heat what else is there to do when you're not working.

Never, never never never again. I thought about telling Dish to put it in my record. No matter what Directv offers I will NOT switch back. (Once they owed me $60 and they told me 'they don't do refunds!' Can you believe it. These people are from Mars.

I've never had bad service or even unfriendly service from the Dish employees at every level.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Feel the Fear

I guess I mentioned that I started a new job a couple weeks ago and yesterday I was hit with the reality of my fear. Of succeeding. Of excitement, change, joy.

Talk about an eye opener. I didn't realize I'd retreated into my turtle shell of comfortability. When had I stopped stepping out for what I wanted? Where had I gotten the idea that all good things have to come to an end? That too much joy is a bad thing?

Now, before you start thinking I've flipped out, I have to say, I've had a long successful history of working with the public in sales, computer training, management and in my own business. But after taking some pretty hard hits in my personal and professional life, I backed up. Lost my faith. Like a character in our novels, I'd been hurt time after time and I guess I disengaged.

Realizing that is the biggest part of the solution. Affirming that I am going to take hold of the joy. Like Maverick in Top Gun, my favorite movie, I'm going to 'engage', get back in the fight, and see where I land.

Click here for one of the coolest Top Gun compilation YouTubes I've ever seen.

One thing I'm sure of. I'll be in a better place than I would be simply vegetating and waiting for life to come to me.

Just gotta believe. There can't be too much joy, can there?

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Haven't been online for over a week because my satellite was down. It's fixed and I have to catch up on bills, blogging and stuff.

I guess the conference is over and everyone is exhausted and headed home. Can't wait to get a listen to the cd.

Last night we had a horrendous storm. A couple people said it seemed worse than Katrina and Rita to them, at least remeniscent of it. Terrible lightning, wind, trees down.

My friend, Elaine, said she got up at midnight and looked out at the moon and stars which were very visible but the wind was blowing about 60 miles an hour, bending the trees almost double. Two trees went down in her yard across her driveway. She told me this story while I was sitting outside this morning under blue skies. I'd called to wish her a Happy Birthday, my life is filled with Leos and Aquarians, lol.

Just then I thought I heard, "Thunder." I said, "No, it couldn't be, the sky is blue and there's hardly a cloud." She'd heard it, too, just a couple seconds later. Is that strange or what? Cool.

Have you ever heard thunder at the same time as someone at least 60 miles away? It takes two hours to get to her place from here, across the Ms. River and through National Forest and yet, we were hearing the same storm. Is that awesome or what? I always thought thunder could only be heard a few miles. You know, even on the weather channel they say, count the seconds between the lightning and thunder, divide by four and that's the approxiate number of miles the storm is from you.

So what were we hearing - some kind of thunder tunnel?