Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I don't remember exactly what I have shared and what I haven't, but I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau concerning this whole mess with Dell. I don't normally do things like that, but a friend of mine from the Facebook said that she had found it to be a solution that worked for her. So being at the end of my rope, I tried that as well, seeing as I really had nothing else to lose.

On Saturday, I received a call from Shuri at Dell. He had been notified of my complaint and wanted to help. Oh really? Now you want to help? And for free? How considerate.

Just to be honest though, and I know what you will think when I tell you this. I had just gotten out of the shower after the race, and I just did not have the strength to deal with Shuri right then. So I told him it was a bad time. He told me that he would call back Tuesday after 5pm. Evidently, Shuri is off on Mondays. You're probably thinking now that they offered help and I turned them down so I must not have been as desperate as I act like I was. Well that may be true, but there really was no way I could handle anymore Dell at that point. And he said he'd call on Tuesday....

I went home yesterday afternoon and waited on Shuri to call. About 5:30, I decided to try to fix it again myself. You can imagine how successful that was.

After about 15 minutes of myself doing absolutely no good, Shuri called. We worked together for about an hour and a half, much of which was spent on hold. So I got laundry put away and the computer printer fixed all at the same time.

Who says men can't multi-task?

And all is well once again.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Running Man

After this weekend, I am officially calling myself a runner. Not really, and if you could have seen my poor self Saturday afternoon, you wouldn't call me that either.

A couple of months ago, I signed up to do the Mayor's Cup 5K. The proceeds benefit Tuscaloosa's pre-K programs, and I could earn time off from work at the same time. I had great plans of getting ready for this. I planned to go to the the Y everyday at lunch and being ready to go by the time the race arrived. I have had similar plans before, and sadly most have ended with nearly the same result.

I did do better with my preparation this time than I usually do though. I think it may have had something to do with the fact that I would be out there with people that I work with and actually see everyday, and I didn't want to make a complete idiot of myself. Also, the Mayor offered any City employee who finished in less than 50 minutes a full day off with pay. Who wouldn't want that?

So if you've seen me huffing and puffing up and down University Blvd and around the quad lately, now you know why.

Saturday was the day, and I was determined to make it in less than 50 minutes. And I finished in 41. I ran a whole lot more than I did getting ready, but being out there with everyone else seemed to make it easier. By the time I finished though, I looked like I had been caught in a storm. I was soaked.

I went home, and after grabbing a long shower at the insistence of my wife (what? stinky people don't need love too?), I crashed on the sofa for the rest of the afternoon.

A couple of times I tried to get up and actually be productive, but there's only so much a person can do. Besides, my legs really didn't want to work so well.

About 4pm, I was able to head to Jalepeno's for some golden enchilada's and margarita's. And that was about it for me.

Now if I can just stay motivated to keep running, I may be the next Jesse Owens.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I wasn't going to say anything about this. I mean, I want reading this to be a positive experience for all of you. Nobody want to hear me bitch and moan. So here's a heads up... that's what this is gonna be. So if you aren't interested in my latest technological frustrations, then stop reading now.

For years, Heather has been buying these cheap printers that last about a year and then won't print anything legible. Our last one had been on the blink for about 8 months. If we needed something printed, we'd email it to ourselves and print at the office. So I decided a month or so ago that we needed a decent printer.

I have a Dell laptop and I love it. I bought it back in August and have had very few problems. It's awesome. So with that in mind, I thought I'd shop Dell for a printer. And I found one and bought it. The thing that sold me on this particular one, was that it is wireless. So I could sit in the living room and print in the office. Cool.... ideally. Not so cool realistically, of course.

So anyway, the struggle began the day after I ordered the printer. At the time of placing the order, the estimated arrival date was March 12th. The morning after I placed my order, I received an email from Dell stating that my order had been delayed and would be sent March 27th. WTH??? I called them to inquire what had changed during the course of the evening and basically got the same run-around that I have gotten for the past month. I should have run then. After telling the Dell rep that I would just cancel my order and go to Office Depot, they were amazingly able to ship my printer on time after all. Imagine that....

So the UPS man brought the printer. I unpacked it and it was all nice and new and pretty looking. I oohed and aahed over it for awhile and began setting it up.

Let me break here for a second. Heather did not want this printer. She somehow thought that there was nothing wrong with our old one, regardless of the fact that each document that printed looked like one of those ink-blot test things. So she didn't ooh one bit. In fact, she kept grilling me about the price in a not so nice way. She has not liked it the entire time I have had it. So I take full responsibility for what I am about to tell you.

The printer didn't work. I spent several hours that first weekend on the phone and online with Dell technical support. Something was wrong with it. So they sent me another printer and I returned the first one.

And it doesn't work either. And there's my problem. I have spent countless hours on the phone with technical support. I have been transfered from regular tech support, to XPS tech support, to printer support, to software support, and even have talked a couple of times to customer service. At one point, the printer worked. Kinda. I've printed a total of maybe 5 things on it. I think 2 times it worked as it should have.

So Sunday night, Heather wanted to print and fax some paperwork to send to the ART fertility clinic in preparation for our first visit. We actually filled out the paperwork by hand and were going to fax it. Heather decided that she needed to add a cover sheet, and when she hit the print button, nothing happened. She immediately began telling me how she hated that printer on how it has never worked even once for her. I took the laptop back to the office and plugged it directly into the printer. That worked a couple of times in the past. Not so this time. I got nothing.

So once again, I called Dell and went through the motions of being passed from person to person. My frustration continued to grow. My last person of the night, after nearly 3 hours, was in software support. It seems that they thought the problem was not in the printer, but in the laptop. Ok. So fix it. They are both Dell products and the software in the computer is Dell software. Makes sense to me. And then they tell me, that for the low price of $69.00, they will make it all work. Come on... really? $69.00? I hate to admit it, but I lost it. Why in the world would I spend additional money with them? I told the guy that what I needed was a shipping label so that I could send it back to them. I still have the box. I'm done with it. Of course, that required a call to customer service, who happened to be closed at the time of my request.

So Monday morning, I called for my shipping label. They tried to pass me off of course, but I was having none of that. So then they tell me that their return policy is limited to the first 21 days. So they won't take it back. I think I hung up on them.

I let it go for a couple of days so that I could cool off. Then Wednesday night, I tried one more time. Again, I went through the motions of explaining the problem to each and every possible department at Dell. Finally I ended up back with the software department. Guess what? The price was now $129.00!

At that point things get a little fuzzy. Remember when we were growing up and we would watch the Incredible Hulk and how poor Bill Bixby would morph into this big green creature that he had no control of? I think that is what happened to me. I freakin exploded. The tech guy put me on hold to speak to his manager.

I completed unloaded a whole month's worth of frustration on this manager guy. He promised that if I paid the money, they would fix the problem. At least I think that's what he said. His English was so bad, that I really couldn't understand much at all. I told him that I no longer trusted anything that anybody from Dell told me. And why should I? I trusted them enough to pay for a printer that should have worked when it came in the door, but now 2 printers, and hours and hours and days and days later, I got nothing. I don't remember what all else I said. There was a lot of comments about horrible service and the most infuriating experienced I have ever had, and I think I even mentioned the Better Business Bureau, which by the way, has been contacted at this point. When I got done, he said that they would fix the printer free of charge.

Well now that's more like it. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I am obviously a fool.

So the tech guy gets back on the phone and takes over my computer. He goes to some website and starts downloading some kind of utility. I noticed that the picture on the screen was of a printer that looked nothing like mine. I pointed that out to him. No problem. He just needs the utility. Ok.

Let me just make this story shorter here. By the time he finished, not only was the printer still not working, but we no longer had internet access. He kept telling me that I had to have internet access for him to be able to help me and that he was unaware that I was unable to connect online. Hello???? Obviously we were connected for him to be able to screw things up even further!

I had to back everything up and reinstall Windows. The software guy told me to call XPS support and have them walk me through it. I didn't even bother with them. I did it myself yesterday.

So at least we can get online again. I didn't want my Facebook friends to get too worried about me. The printer still doesn't work though. Maybe this weekend, I can summon the strength to get it all worked out.

Who knows....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Crawfish and Bluegrass!

There was so much going on this past weekend, and I truly had a hard time deciding what to do. I was pulled in all kinds of directions. When it gets this time of year, and the weather is as nice as it was Saturday, I just want to do it all.

My main dilemma was Crawfish Festival or the Alabama Crimson Tide A-Day Game. I thought long and hard about it. I mean, we are die-hard Alabama fans. So that should have settled it for me. But then again, I do love going to the Crawfish Festival in Faunsdale. I decided that since we are about to shell out an ungodly sum of dough this month for our football tickets, and will be at all of the home games and as many of the away games as we can possibly swing, that I could skip the A-Day game and go chow down on some mud-bugs.

When we woke up Saturday morning, I thought my plans were going to have to be thrown out the window into the rain that was falling. But we decided to drive down anyway, and at least get some crawfish to go. But the further we got down the road, the more the sun came shining through, and we ended up having an absolutely beautiful day.

We ate as soon as we got there. I repeated my plan from last year and got the combo plate... crawfish etouffe, a pistolette, and a mini crawfish pie. I swear, that crawfish pie was so danged good I could have eaten a dozen of them. It was even better than last year, in that I didn't throw up afterwards!

We walked through the arts and crafts but didn't buy anything. Then I went back to the car and grabbed our chairs and we settled in for an afternoon of listening to the bands.

There were a lot of people there, and a whole lot of them were bikers. I am always entertained at all these older people who will pour themselves into black leather and then come out for a day in the hot sun. Doesn't make sense to me. I must be missing something.

Of course, there were some who were dressed more appropriately for the weather.

Yes, her boyfriend's shirt does say "Stroke Me." Hmmmm.....

Heather evidently tried to get into the biker spirit as well, because when we started to get out of the car, this is what I noticed.

Yep, those are black toenails. Hmmmm.....

About 4pm, Rolling in the Hay took the stage. I love some bluegrass, and they have a funky way of making me love it even more. The crowd really got into it, and we kicked back and had ourselves a ball. About half-way through their show, Heather asked if I was ready for some boiled crawfish. So she went and got us a big ole sack of steaming ones, and we ate and ate and ate and actually ate every last one of them! So good!!!!!

It was a great time.

Then Sunday afternoon the rains started. So we laid around and listened to the weather and watched old movies on the TV.

What a life........

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dude, Where's My Phone?

I am a crackberry addict. I've had my Blackberry for 2 years now, and I don't know how I ever lived without it. I'm on it all the time, and if I slip up and leave it at home, well we've got to go back and get it. I feel naked without it.

I've been watching the AT&T website to see when it was time to upgrade. I'm a gadget freak, and I'd been doing a little shopping and product comparing, and had decided to get the new Blackberry Bold. Week before last, when I logged on to AT&T, I saw that it was time to do a trade-in.

I went out to the retail store 3 times last week. The online specials were better than what they were running in the store. I tried to get the same deal as online, but those folks in the store really didn't care. They kept trying to sell me on that 3G network, when we don't even have 3G available here in Tuscaloosa yet. I pointed that out too. Sell me on something relevant, people!

I also got online, had the phone in my cart, had all my info filled out, but couldn't bring myself to hit the Submit button... 3 or 4 different times. So finally on Friday, I just did it. I ordered it. And I have been excited ever since.

The phone should have been here yesterday, but got held up in Opelika. So it was scheduled for delivery at the house today. I left a note for UPS to call me if a signature was required, and I would meet them somewhere. But just a little before lunch, I checked the UPS website and the phone had been delivered.

I took off to the house, all the while planning my afternoon of getting the new phone and my email and calendars, etc set up. I got home and took the box inside and carefully opened it up. Wow... lots of stuff in the box! There was even a phone case, something I hadn't expected. I had manuals, USB cords, earbuds, Blackberry software, and a plastic card that holds the SIM card. But that was it. Where was the phone? I looked all through everything, thinking that somehow I overlooked it. No dice. The phone was not in there.

So I immediately thought that it must be coming in a separate box. I called AT&T to confirm that idea. Nope. "There's no phone, sir? Are you sure?" I'm sure.

The AT&T folks were very nice (and I talked to 3 or 4 of them before I was done.) They have filed a lost/stolen phone report and a new phone is on its way. Hopefully, I will have it on Friday.

Que sera sera....

Friday, April 10, 2009

"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance..."

We ate last night for our last time at The Globe restaurant in old downtown Northport. Why? Because after 17 years of delighting the citizens of Tuscaloosa and surrounding areas with his culinary genius, Chef Jeff Wilson has decided that he must close his doors. Thus, another example of how the economy is affecting us all.

Jeff Wilson has always been a fan of the works of William Shakespeare. That is why he named his restaraunt The Globe, after the Globe Theatre. The walls inside were covered with Shakespearian artwork and framed quotes from Shakepeare's plays. The theatrical theme continued onto his menu, with dishes such as Twelth Night Trout, the Oberon, and my personal favorite, a lobster stuffed filet mignon known as the Prince Hal.

Heather and I are sad to see The Globe close. We have shared many great memories there. It was there that we had our first date. It was there that we ate when we got engaged. It was there where we have celebrated our anniversary every year. And it was there that we have enjoyed ourselves over and over too many times to count. I have shared many a meal with many wonderful friends, some who are no longer with us, and The Globe was my absolute, number one, favorite place to eat.

So we heard through the grapevine that it was closing, and knew that we had to have one more dinner before saying goodbye. Last night I had a filet, and Heather had the shrimp tortellini. The place was packed, just like it used to be before times got hard for so many people. We had to wait a little while, but everything was excellent, as always.

I asked our waiter at one point what they were doing with the artwork and quotations on the wall. He said some were being sold. So when we were done with our dinner, I walked around the entire restaurant trying to find the perfect piece. I thought I had found a couple of things that were close, but just wasn't sure. Then when we were about to leave, hanging beside the door was just what I wanted. It's a quote from Hamlet and was spoken by Ophelia. It was the perfect piece to remember such a great old place.

"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember."

I bought it. Chef Jeff even signed the back for me. And Heather kept a menu that we will add to the back. And we'll always have a piece of the Globe, and we will always remember.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tuscaloosa Air Show

I thought I'd post a few pics from Saturday's Air Show here in Tuscaloosa. It was the first to be held here, and an estimated 150,000 people turned out at the airport to see the Blue Angels, the Golden Knights, and a host of others. The Golden Knights said that it was the largest crowd they had ever jumped for. We had a great day. The crowds were twice what the city had expected, so the shuttles were a bit slow afterwards (it took us 3 hours to get on one), but we didn't let that bother us one bit. We all enjoyed the day and got nice sunburns. My face is already beginning to peel. If you missed it this year, the City plans on this becoming an annual event, so you'll have to make sure and be here next year!