MUNDANE MONDAY ON A BRIGHT WEDNESDAY

Finding beauty in ordinary objects is not difficult when the things with which you have furnished your home are beautiful in your eyes. I’m a collector — or perhaps I should say “reformed collector” —  so there’s a lot of stuff here that gives me joy just to look at it. They serve no other purpose but to be beautiful.

The first genuinely bright day in a couple of weeks made taking indoor pictures much more attractive!

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This is my dining room. More to the point, this is the home of my Dracaena Marginata, the plant I’ve been growing — and cutting back — for more than 20 years.

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It needs to be pruned again as it starts to scrape against the ceiling. These must be the easiest of all indoor plants. The whole dracaena family are tolerant of low light and forgetful watering.

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Give them half a chance and they will keep growing and never disappoint you. And … they are beautiful. Every once in a blue moon, they will also flower, though the flowers are nothing to write home about.

MUNDANE MONDAY CHALLENGE #68 : LEARN PHOTOGRAPHY

This is a challenge created to find beauty in almost everything. The challenge is simple : find beauty in everyday mundane things and frame it beautifully and upload the photographs. And give me a pingback by including the URL of this post in your challenge post.

If you think this challenge helps you to see ordinary things in a more beautiful way and to improve your photography, do help a friend to improve their skills too. You are free to Tag/Challenge a friend to join MMC, so that world around us look more beautiful to more people around us.

ZEN AND THE ART OF LAUNDRY FOLDING

My husband Garry was an award-winning newscaster in his working years. Diligent, determined, fearless, and a very good writer, he strove to be an unbiased observer and reporter of truth. In retirement, he has become a Prince of Husbands … and the world’s premium folder of laundry.

I can fold stuff. But when Garry folds your laundry, it’s like Origami. Art. Perfection. Anyone who has had the privilege of having Garry fold his or her laundry would never argue this point. When Garry folds, you are seeing a master at his craft.

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There ought to be an Olympic Games for Housework. At one time in my life, I could have been a contender , at least in the 100 Yard Cleaning Dash. I could do a thorough once-over of a 7-room suburban house in 90 minutes flat. Especially if Credence Clearwater Revival was playing very loudly in the background. I couldn’t do it now, though I think I might still be competitive in the Speed Floor Cleansing Relay.

Garry? He’d win a gold medal every year in Laundry Folding. There would be no point in fielding a team if Garry were competing. He would retire undefeated, sure in the knowledge that no one would ever surpass or match him.

Last night, Garry remarked that I have a lot of socks. (It’s true. I have a lot of socks. I change them every day, occasionally twice.) I pointed out at least they are all matched pairs. He pointed out he had, in fact, matched every sock and there were no single socks. A noteworthy feat. I responded how much I really appreciate it, and that I’d been extremely careful to make certain no sock went into the laundry basket alone.

I paused. Then I said my problem was it’s hard to carry several dozen pairs of socks without dropping them. Maybe I should put them in a bag. Or something.

And Garry said, “I could roll them for you so they won’t come apart.”

The words hung in the air. Garry was offering to roll the socks.

Garry is a not a “roller.” He believes socks should be smoothly folded in a perfect, fabric embrace. I appreciate the art, but would prefer not have to hunt down the missing halves of my sock teams because when items of clothing enter the chaotic world that is my dresser, more than art is needed to keep them in order. However, to honor the elegance of Garry’s work, I have never complained. I recognize you must never force a master craftsman to do other than his finest work.

Yet, last night in an act of exceptional grace, Garry rolled my socks. He put them in a bag and gave it to me. Today, he bought me flowers. Too. Just because.

WHAT A GUY!

LAYERS AND LAYERS

The other day, my son came over and stripped the kitchen floor of who-knows-how-many layers of old wax and dirt to expose a reasonably attractive pale lemony linoleum. He then added three new layers of fresh, clear wax so that it gleams in the light.

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The dogs, taking this as a challenge, have been doing everything within their power — which is more considerable than you might imagine — to undo all that work.

Thrilled as I was to finally see a clean, shiny floor in the kitchen, I invested in a big “tray” to put under their water trough. They drool. All dogs drool. Our dogs don’t have jowls, so they ought to be minimal droolers.

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But. Since I acquired this protective tray, they have upped their game. They now spread at least twice as much liquid all over the kitchen as before. We now have to wash out the tray and clean the floor under it. Wipe up all the flooding.,

Garry says they’re messing with us. Hard for me to disagree … but why?

These are spoiled dogs. These are dogs that live from handout to handout, sleep wherever and whenever they like. They come and go as they choose through their own door. Fresh water is constantly on hand and we fill that huge pot a dozen times a day. They get top quality food and treats and as much love as they are willing to put up with.

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Right now, they are resting from their labors.

What labors?

The drooling, the barking, the begging for something more?

Perhaps they liked the old layers of dirt. Maybe the dirt was like old scrap books. Odors of food long consumed, other dogs passed on — conveniently embedded in the grunge on the floor. I’d ask them, but I don’t want to disturb their naps.

LAYERS | THE DAILY POST

MUNDANE MONDAY ON TUESDAY: SOCKS

Let us, for a brief moment, consider the subject of … socks.

Socks?

Yup. Socks.

I have, throughout my life, suffered from cold feet. Not figuratively. In the fully literal meaning of the words, my feet are always cold. Even when the rest of me is warm enough, my feet are cold. They used to tell me it was poor circulation and, it turned out, they — all of them — were right. It was and is.

I have tried furry slippers, and slipper socks. I have Uggs for the winter. But in the end, what works for me and makes my feet happy … are socks. I don’t wear any old tube socks. No “12 pair for one low price” specials for me.

I like making a footwear statement. These are my favorites.

MUNDANE MONDAY CHALLENGE #66 : LEARN PHOTOGRAPHY – PhoTrablogger

CUSTOMER — EMPHASIS ON — SERVICE

Our internet connection went down today. I figured it was a routine need to reboot the router and modem, which I did. Still no connection. A few more tries … and still no internet. And no telephone, since our telephone is VOIP and won’t function without WiFi.

Finally, I had to face the horrible reality. I had to call Charter, get through their voicemail system, get a human being on the phone. Without the internet, we are isolated. Everything requires WiFi. Our cell signal is weak, unstable, with frequent dropped calls. WiFi is like electricity these days. A necessity, not a luxury.

I did it. I won’t review the whole day except to say I burned through the entire cell phone battery and finally got someone who understood the problem. And then … as inexplicably as the problem arose … it fixed itself. I then had to navigate the system again to tell them to cancel the service call. I should have just let them come.

I have reached the end of my patience with voice mail systems.

It got me thinking about the whole “customer service experience.” They always want you to do a survey after a call, but they never ask the right questions. They want to know how the person you (finally) spoke did. Which is usually fine.

What no one asks is “how hard did we make work to get a live person on the phone?” “How many times you were disconnected?” “Are you mad enough to dump our service at the earliest opportunity?” That last one should matter.

No matter how many times I go through this, I always come out of it tired, cranky, and frustrated.

VOICE MAIL: LET ME CHOOSE WHAT I NEED

Every voice mail system starts out saying “Our options have recently changed.”

Your options have not recently changed. “Recently” is a few days or weeks ago. After that, it’s not recent. Change your message!

If I know the number I need, let me press it. Don’t make me sit there while you explain in stultifying detail every permutation of your voice mail system. Everyone is familiar with voice mail. It’s not news. I am not stupid. My time is valuable, just like yours. Don’t waste it.

NUMBER 1 – BURY YE NOT THE LEAD

Whatever your organization does, make sure the first choice in your list is the thing most customers want. Probably not your address, business hours, website address, or the opportunity to hear about your new services — or take a survey.

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If you are a personal service provider — doctor, dentist, veterinarian, massage therapist, hired assassin — scheduling should be on top. At least half your calls will be people who need to make, change, or cancel (or some combination thereof) an appointment. Don’t send me to a sub menu with more options. Answer the damned phone.

If you are a utility — cell service, telephone company, ISP, power company, water — why do think most people call? Because our service isn’t working. No power, no water, no cell service, no dial tone. No WiFi. No cable. Do not tell me to use the website. If I could get to the website, I would not be calling you.

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Do not force me to spend half an hour listening to a robot tell me to do stuff I’ve already done (and didn’t work), or misunderstand what I’m saying.

Whoever picks up the call must immediately tell me: “Is this a general outage or is it me?”

  1. If the former: When do you expect service to be restored?
  2. If the latter, transfer me to tech support. Don’t ask me to make another call. Don’t give me that damned robot again.

Today’s outage was their issue, but they assured me they didn’t know it. Really? Seriously? You couldn’t ping the line and know there was a problem? You couldn’t figure out that the phone and modem weren’t working from your state-of-the-art central facility?

NUMBER 2 – IT DOESN’T WORK

Option 2 must be Technical Support. Something isn’t working or not working as it ought. Have a human being answer the phone. Even if it involves waiting, don’t make your already upset, angry customer wade through another set of prompts. Take responsibility. Be a person.

NUMBER 3: ABOUT THAT BILL

Option 3: The bill. Which we already paid, can’t pay, shouldn’t have to pay, is actually someone else’s. If you put us into another voice mail system, it will make us angry.

We do not want to leave a message for someone to ignore and never call back. We want to straighten out what we hope is a simple misunderstanding. If you send us to more voice mail or an answering machine — and you don’t return the call immediately — expect to never get your money, or lose our business. I have dropped providers many times and will do it again.

If you annoy me, I will hold a grudge. I am a paying customer. Act like you want my business.

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A CAUTIONARY TALE

I hear so many companies complaining how bad business is. Never do I hear them wonder if their own action or inaction might have something to do with it. Maybe the problem is how badly you treat your customers.

Consider this. Blowing off customers does not endear you to us. If we can, we will go elsewhere. At the first opportunity, we will drop you so fast you won’t have a chance to say “Hey wait, I’ve got a deal for you.”

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine (finally) got FIOS as an alternative to Comcast. FIOS was (a bit) more expensive and had a smaller offering. She changed services anyway. She said: “I hate Comcast so much, I’d happily pay more to anyone just to be rid of them.”

I feel that way about our cable provider, Charter Communications. They think they are invulnerable because we have no choice, but WiFi based services are coming of age. There are more choices today … and more coming soon. It’s a matter of time. The ill-will you are amassing today will ultimately bury you as it has buried providers before you. The good-will of your customer is your only long-term asset. 

It’s a cautionary tale for corporations who think they “own” the market and the customers.

BE NICE TO US. DON’T BE A STRANGER

Talk to me. Be friendly. Make me feel valued. Calm me down. Avoid throwing gasoline on my fire. If you are in a service industry, provide service. That is why I pay you.

MUNDANE MONDAY: THESE BOOTS WERE MADE FOR …

Mundane Monday Challenge : Learn Photography


From PhoTrablogger:

“This is a challenge created to find beauty in almost everything. The challenge is simple : find beauty in everyday mundane things and frame it beautifully and upload the photographs. And give me a pingback by including the URL of this post in your challenge post.”


Well, it’s a little past Monday. I’m surprised it’s already Thursday. Time surely does fly, even when I’M not doing anything much. It really hasn’t been a particularly busy week, but I’ve been taking pictures and reading a lot … and that does eat up the time. And, of course, writing, answering comments, making comments … and figuring out what to make for dinner.

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These boots sat on my sofa for almost a year. They were my “quick pick” footwear for the entire autumn and winter of last year … and when summer came, I didn’t see any reason to move them. I rather liked the way they looked. I still do. They are, I admit, no longer in their prime, but are oh so comfortable.

Summer has come around again. It’s a bit warm for sheepskin, so I brought a different pair of “quick pick” shoes out here for my convenience. They live on the floor rather than the sofa.

Mundane, yet somehow … artistic. I like the play of shadows, light, soft colors, and various textures. Hope you like them.

NOT CHERRIES

A man, determined to find the meaning of life, sets out to climb one of the highest peaks in the Himalayas. He has heard that atop that peak, living in a cave, lives the wisest man in the world, the one who knows the truth of all things and the meaning of life.

After a long and nearly fatal climb, the exhausted man reaches the top of the mountain. He finds the cave and presents himself to the elderly gentleman residing within.

What life is not.

“Oh Great Wise One,” says the climber, “I have come to hear your words of wisdom. Enlighten me. Tell me the meaning of life.”

“Life,” says the Wise One without hesitation, “Is a bowl of cherries.”

The man is outraged by this facetious answer. “Bowl of cherries!!” he shouts, “What kind of answer is that?”

“You mean,” says the Wise One, ” … it’s not a bowl of cherries?”


They say when the going gets tough, the tough get going. I am not that tough. When life starts to overwhelm me with questions for which I have no answers, I tuck the problem on a mental shelf. I buy a pink plastic flamingo and name him Fred. I take some pictures. Or I write something.

None of this solves the problem, but every so often, if I procrastinate long enough, the problem goes away. Sometimes.

When you don’t have any other brilliant ideas, denial and delay are always worth a shot.