Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Long way home.
6:30 work departure, followed by sliding twenty feet uphill and then back down, followed by an attempted walk up the hill. After that I decided to wait in the car until the salt truck came by.
Podcast and tortilla chips, followed by Dinner at Culinary School with friends, after which I came outside to find it raining.
In my mind this meant that the snow would be melted and driving once again possible on our street. Not so. This time I got halfway up, slid backward into the guard rail, pressed timidly on the gas while the car turned 45 degrees on the hill, slid into a neighbor's driveway, backed up to try and leave room for them to get out. At which point I slid into a ditch, got out and knocked on their door to let them know it was me and that I would be back after the salt truck came.

Walked in the ditch to the top of the hill, took one and a half steps, looked up to see the b.h. sliding at me, arms outstretched as if he was going to take my hand, and then I fell forward onto my knees.
I was clawing upward across our street, literally dragging my purse and bag of groceries behind me, trying to dig my gloved fingers into the ice enough to get a grip, all the while laughing my ass off. He drifted past me, arms still outstretched, arcing away from me and down the hill, until at last his legs slid out from under him and he sat down, slid still further, and landed where I had started in the ditch.
If we had video, I'm fairly certain we would be in the midst of our fifteen minutes of y0ut00b fame right now.

We finally got in the house, where both of us peeled off our wet clothes and showered, and we were in the middle of "Top Chef" (which the b. h. Refers to as his "stories") when there came a knock at the door.
"You should be able to get your car now," the policeman said non-chalantly. "The salt truck has been by." That was it- no explanation needed, I suppose, and no accusation of drunkenness, recklessness, or any other ness.
I still wish we had video.
Christmas was lovely and quiet. The b.h. made cranberries, roasted tomato soup, and a gallette with mushrooms, leeks, and gorgonzola cheese. It was delicious. I also got a bottle of sparkling Austrian Zwiegelt, of which we shared the better part. Movies were watched and presents opened, and dogs walked and snuggled. It is still odd to spend the holidays without my family, though. Despite their general goofiness, I don't feel like the holidays are really complete without all of the cousins and aunts and uncles and kids whose names I can't remember. I'm thinking we should probably hat up and head back home in the near future. The prior post is making this feeling even stronger.

New Years promises more quiet. The neighbors have invited us up the hill again, and so long as the street isn't too frozen to go the hundred or so yards to their door, I can't imagine what else we would do. In case we don't talk before then... cheers.

I am writing to say that I was surprised and dismayed when I arrived at The
Local Grocery this past Friday morning (December 23rd, 2011) to pick up the remainder
of my parents' large wine order, only to discover that the order was
incomplete - again.

This was your second attempt at filling an order which was originally placed
in late October/early November (the string is saved in my work email
account), for a total of 8 mixed cases of wine. Before the agreed-upon
pick-up date in November, you had assured me that all 8 cases were "ready
for pick-up in the Wine Department." When my parents and I arrived at The
Coop, however, we discovered that that was not the case, and that for some
reason only half of the order was ready for us. My parents and I were
surprised and disappointed. I did not know what to tell them, because I
thought that you, as the Wine Buyer, HAD filled the order as you had told
me. Sven, who helped us when we reached the Wine Department, was
obviously caught off-guard and was put in an uncomfortable position.

(On a positive note, my parents were/are impressed with how professional and
helpful he is, and I was grateful for his help in that unexpected situation.
He exemplifies excellent customer service, and I will be sure to forward
this email to him as well.)

You and I spoke after that incident - you apologized profusely and assured
me that you would have the remaining 4 cases ready for me on December 23rd.
We exchanged several emails about the order over the course of the last
10-14 days, and you stated clearly at the end of last week that the order
was "all ready for pickup." What happened?
There were NOT four complete cases of wine, so not only was I unpleasantly
surprised again, but Sven was (again) put in a very uncomfortable
position. Then, I had to explain to my parents that you had not completed
the order correctly, and that I had no idea why.
They were predictably unhappy.

The whole thing is especially unpleasant for me because the customers who
have now twice received bad customer service are my parents. They have been
loyal Local Grocery customers for many years - in fact, the full 15+ that I have
worked at The Local Grocery. The orders they place are sizable - 4 to 8 cases at a
time. Good customer service ensures that The LG will continue to have
customers like my parents. Bad treatment will obviously make customers go

Good internal customer service is important too - and in this case it didn't
exist. Sven was put in a difficult position, I was put in a difficult
position for the reasons I have given, and now you and I are in a difficult
position because we have to work together at The LG.
I did not want to have to write this email, but you have given me no choice.
When the first mistake was made, I wrote you an email and you and I spoke in
person. You assured me that it would not happen again.
Because it has, and because it has had an impact on the same LG customers,
I have had to take a different approach.

What do you propose happens next?

Silly Twunt

This, dear readers, is an *actual e-mail* (names have been changed to protect the innocent as well as the mentally unstable) that I received upon arriving to work this morning. Needless to say, I was somewhat "surprised and dismayed" myself, since it was carbon copied to both my boss and the General Manager of the store. My response, after the initial shock and horror, was to seek out this author and ask her what exactly had been the problem with the order. I had been to work on both Friday and Saturday, and Sven did not so much as mention it to me.

"Half a case was missing," she virtually spat at me.

"Wow. I'm really sorry. I have no idea how that could have happened. I swear that I have double and triple checked that order. I will look into it. Can I get a copy of your receipt so I can see what was missing?"

This is an order that was given to me with very little detail via an e-mail last month. When I replied to the initial request for 8 cases, I asked her "Do they still want the wines to average ten dollars a bottle? And do they still want only wines from the Western United States?" That was the order last time. Four cases, all American, average ten bucks a bottle. She answered in the affirmative. Had I not asked, though, I could have filled that order with four cases of white and four cases of red at any price from anywhere, and it would have technically been what she asked for. Instead I made the right choices in the wrong amount, and in-between had sent her a message saying "Your four cases are ready." After the screwup we talked and she admitted that she had missed the fact that I said four, and she accepted my apology.

In the interim, she has screwed up more than once on things that I needed from her as part of her job. Each time, I have gone to her directly and very politely asked for her to fix the errors, never bringing in her boss or anyone else. Also, since I had been asking a lot of her recently (even though what I asked her for was always within the scope of her job description to provide), I bought her a bottle of wine two weeks ago and left her a note, saying that it was similar to the kind that her boyfriend had liked and I hoped they could enjoy it together, and "thanks for your support blah blah blah." Seriously.

The fact that her parents can't come in and pick their own wine, but want it ready and waiting for them when they show up, is enough to tell you what an entitled bunch of cunts they are. I don't have any problem doing this, mind you, but I am not required to. And their parameters are not easy to work within. Also, I would point out that she realized the error while she was checking out, and rather than simply asking Sven (who said that she seemed completely unconcerned at the time she picked up the order) to go and grab her two more bottles (which is what was missing, and which is not half a case)she drove all the way to fucking Maine with three and five-sixths cases of wine to tell her parents that I fucked up their whole holiday.

My response to follow, of course.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Well, shit. I guess I hadn't realized how I left that last post dangling. Sorry. The shoulder is likely going to require surgery, but I won't know for sure until I see an Orthopedist. I have been referred by my doctor and am awaiting a call. The good thing is that yes, Z, I do have insurance, and since this is a work-related injury (there's something hilarious about "I hurt myself cutting the cheese") I won't have to pay for it. Which is great, because even *with* insurance, I have just received a nearly $800 bill for the MRI. Yikes. So now I wait.
Work has been busy, and although the wine portion of it is mostly fun for me, Oddfellows Local 151 has been driving me crazy. We have lost the only good President we've had since I started (there have been at least four in the last two years, and this one was driven away by the sheer craziness of our most active members). She was replaced by one of said crazy people, who is now driving *me* crazy. I can't go into details, but I will tell you that I tore into this one twice on Saturday and it's nowhere near over. Things are going to get ugly.
Another of my co-workers (I use this term loosely, because in both of these cases I am hard pressed to call what either of them does "work." Mostly they do that cliche' Union Member thing you see where they spend most of their time complaining about one thing or another and somehow manage to make more money than their harder-working counterparts) asked me for help with something. I helped her and now she's bitching about the way in which I went about it. Honestly, there is no pleasing some people. The upside is that I now have an excuse to tell her to fuck off rather than making myself miserable trying to be nice, and I never have to deal with her again, which should make my job and my life a lot better.
The b.h. and I agreed to go easy on Christmas presents to each other this year, what with our impending European Vacation and all, so I got him some kitchen-related goodies and t-shirt from a show in Athens that neither of us was able to attend. It was a tribute to R.E.M.'s album Fables of the Reconstruction, performed by many people we know and love in Athens, and I am very excited because I am absolutely sure it will be a surprise. Also our friend at was kind enough to throw in a CD of the show. Now if I can only have the patience to leave it wrapped until Sunday...

Friday, December 09, 2011

I've started taking a sewing class. My mom bought me a machine a couple years ago for my birthday. We set it up together, and she showed me how to thread it, make a bobbin, and do very basic sewing. After which I took it home to Georgia, left it in a box for a month, took it out once and couldn't get it threaded, and promptly returned it to the box, where it has been glaring at me intimidatingly for some time. My first project was a pillow case. I came to class with my machine, opened the box to find that the pedal was missing (shit!), and then used one of theirs. It was so easy that I was embarrassed at how long I had waited. The next week I had found my pedal. I was only going to class for a short time, because I had to go across the street to the hospital for an MRI (more on that later). I came in, plugged in my recovered pedal, threaded the machine, and then found that the set of bobbins I had were the wrong size for the machine. Shit. But the teacher had an extra of the right size, which she gave to me. She looked at my thread.

"That might be enough. Just don't fill the bobbin."

I didn't. I threaded the bobbin and the machine, and started sewing. There was a lot of oil in the thread, and it was much darker than the material I was using to make my valance. I stopped sewing, grabbed a scrap of cloth, sewed until the thread was clean. Then I put the valance back under and started sewing. The thread broke, but it was a minute or so before I realized that because I was concentrating so hard on keeping the fabric straight. When I did see it, I stopped sewing, put the valance aside, tried to extract the thread from the machine. It was very, very gummed up. The thread was frayed and broken. I couldn't reach it. My teacher came over.

"Oh dear. I have never seen that before. I think the thread is just really cheap."

She said she's find a screwdriver so we could take the back off and get the thread out. I didn't have the time, what with the MRI and all, so I said I'd take care of it at home.

I rushed into the hospital with three minutes to spare. It looked closed, honestly, which was a bizarre experience for me. I have spent all of my life in big, crowded places, and any hospital I've ever been to has been teeming with people and sounds and chaos. Not so here in Vermont. It was several minutes before I could figure out where the non-emergency entrance was. There was no one in reception or at the information desk, so I followed the signs to the imaging department.
I was given a lovely pair of hospital pants, as well as the standard gown and a robe. I kept my knee-length wool socks on. I looked hot. I had brought along my iPh0ne, which was lucky, since the only other music options were radio stations. It's bad enough being claustrophobic in one of these things; I didn't need the some crap pop music and an irritating DJ adding to my discomfort. It wasn't as bad as I had imagined. It was long (35 minutes) and the machine was loud, but between Centro-Matic and Lyle Lovett I managed to get through. Relaxation techniques taught to me by my former yoga instructor and good friend Rob were key.
I got the results back in writing a few days later, and I will be bringing them to my Physical Therapist on Monday for review. Mostly I didn't understand the document (the b.h. swears that half the words are made up), but the words "tear" and "cyst" jumped right out at me. Really, really hoping this is not going to mean surgery. Mostly just trying not to think about it right now.