Day One — Kentucky

Got to Kentucky in one piece.  Tired.  But in one piece.  The last leg of the flight was not a prop plane all was good.

Got to the hospital.  My aunt looks awful.  Awful. 

But.

She almost jumped out of the bed when she saw me.  No one had told her I was coming.  I planted myself at the bottom of her bed and I stayed there most of the day.  She’s alert and aware.  But she’s very disoriented.  Sometimes she knows she’s at the hospital.  Then she’ll ask you who moved the furniture in the living room.  She became focused on a box of gloves today insisting that it was a doll in a box.  Even when we took the box to her she still didn’t quite comprehend what we were saying.  This all got worse as the day went on and she became more and more tired.

We still don’t know what’s going on.  They first thought it was a stroke.  Then just seizures.  Then big time seizures.  Now they just don’t know.  She was ho0ked up to all sorts of machines today.  Tomorrow morning they are doing a MRI of her head.  Hopefully by midday we’ll have been told something.  In the meantime just keep her in your thoughts.

And for the crappy part of the story.

I HATE MY FAMILY.

I HATE MY FAMILY.

I HATE MY FAMILY.

They were mean to her today.  They talked about her while she was in the room listening.  They had an entire conversation about the power of attorney of both my aunt and uncle while she was in the room.  Of course they were whispering which made it okay in their eyes, all the while my aunt is there trying to figure out what they are saying about her.  When ever she was disoriented, instead of gently leading her back to where she was, my mom would yell at her.  I’ve already told you.  YOU ARE IN THE HOSPITAL.  NOT AT HOME!!!!  Ugh.   One of my aunt’s went to a nurse and told them that part of my aunt’s problem was the stress of taking care of someone with advance Parkinson’s Disease.  She then suggested to the nurse that the process be started to put my uncle in a home.  The way they started the process was to go to my Aunt Doo and repeat all of this.  The same aunt went to the nurses again and told them they should not let Doo’s son Tommy in the hospital.  That he’d been known to cause problems.  (Tommy is slow.  He’s never been officially diagnosed with anything just he’s just not all there.  That being said he’s very sweet and means well.  And at least he has a job that he goes to every day unlike my noisy aunt’s children).   So my Aunt Doo got wind of this conversation, fixated on it, and developed the scenario that if Tommy came to the hospital he’d be arrested.  So she spent the whole day worring about this. 

I pulled my mom aside and told her to stop talking about my aunt when she’s in the room with her, and to stop being mean to her and now my mom’s mad at me.  I also voiced my displeasure to my mom about the noisy aunt.  And what does my mom do?  She confronts the aunt and tells her what I’ve said.  So now we have my mom and  her sister, my two cousins and shit load of other people mad.  Mostly at me. 

Meanwhile, while they are in the waiting room airing all of this dirty laundry for all to hear, I’m in my aunt’s hospital room chatting with her.  Trying to get her to calm down and go to sleep.  The thing that struck me at one point was that my aunt’s illness was no longer about her.  It was all about the other 64 personalities in the room.  

I finally told them all that it didn’t matter what happened to Uncle Tom.  That it didn’t matter how Tommy behaved when he came to visit.  No one gives a shit about power of attorney.  The most important issue in the room that no one seems to be aware of, is getting her well.  None of the rest of this shit means squat if we don’t find out what’s going on and get it fixed.

I’m still mad.

They are still mad.

I have four more days of this.

Fuck!

Advertisements

An Unexpected Trip…

It’s 4:52 a.m.

I’m about to jump in the shower.

To go to the airport.

To fly to Kentucky.

When I got off work tonight, I followed my usual routine.  I bought a Diet Coke, walked to the subway, found a seat and took out my book.  I usually check my voice mail on the way to the train, but tonight I was late and I was afraid I’d miss the 1:40 train.  When I was comfortably planted in a seat, I pulled out my phone to see if I had messages, both text and voice.  The phone said I had four text messages and six voice mails.  What was even weirder was the last call was from my mom at 12:55 a.m.

I debated leaving the station to check my messages to find out what was wrong.  I finally decided that whatever it was could wait till I got home.  I had to go home no matter what the situation.

When I got off the train and was waiting for the shuttle bus (it’s an “A” train thing) I checked my messages.  My cousin Vicki was one of the calls but she didn’t say what she wanted.  She never calls so I had no idea what that was about.  Finally I get to my mom’s message and it just says to call her as soon as I get the message.

So I call.

And it’s my Aunt Doo.

My favorite aunt.

She had been rushed to the hospital tonight.  At first they though she’d had a stroke.  They still haven’t ruled this out.  Then she started having seizures.  As of right now they have no idea what is wrong with her.  My mother said she looked awful.  She did say that she was awake and aware of her surroundings.  She’s also being a little cantankerous, which is probably a good thing.

I talked to my mom for 30 minutes or so.

Mostly I listened.

My mom is a worrier.  A BIG worrier.  So it’s hard to know how things really are.

My mom said that she kept asking if I’d been called.

The thing is that she’s been my favorite aunt for forever.  I’m one of the few family members who goes out of the way to see her on a regular basis.  I live in NYC and I see her more than most of my family.

I also know that if something happened to her and I hadn’t tried to get home, I’d never forgive myself.

So I got home, woke Adam and told him what was going on.

He was a dear.  He got up and helped me find a flight on line.  Helped me pack.  Made sure I had everything I needed.

And so now I’m waiting to get in the shower.  The car is picking me up at 5:30 to take me to the airport.  My flight is at 8:00.  I fly to Charlotte and then to Lexington.  The flight from Charlotte scares me.  I have this horrible fear that it’s a prop plane.  I’ve always sworn I’d never fly in a prop plane again.  I HATE them.  HATE.  HATE.  HATE them.  Keep your fingers crossed that it’s not.

I get to Lexington around 11:30.  I’ll be there till Tuesday.  I picked a random date.  I may try and come home early if everything turns out to be okay.

In the meantime keep my Aunt Doo in your thoughts.

I’ll let you know tomorrow night how she is doing.

 

Wednesday Night…

My headache is mostly gone.

Mostly.

It had quadrupled in size by around 4:45 tonight.  I was sitting in pre-shift thinking that I might just have to go home.  By 5:15 it was insane.  I was dizzy, nauseous and feeling like crap.  I finally  took one of the pills that my doctor has prescribed and about 90 minutes later it lifted.  Up to that point though I thought I was going to scream.   I’m still not 100% but I’m hoping that a good night’s sleep will take care of it.  I’ll keep you posted.

Do any of you care if the Yankees win the World Series?

I sure as fuck don’t.

I’ve never seen so many adults act like idiots as I did tonight.

We only put sports on the TV’s in my restaurant when it’s a NY big game or some other REALLY big game.  And we never have the sound on.  This of course pisses off everybody.  What I’d like to say but don’t is that the Fucking ESPN Zone is across the street.  Go watch it on 47 televisions all at the same time.  Of course they probably won’t let you sit at a table for 2 hours and not buy anything but that’s a whole other story.

So with the game only on two televisions, without sound you might think it would discourage people from watching.  It doesn’t.  And the worst of the bunch.  The staff.  Our assistant GM did nothing tonight but stare at the TV.  At least two dozen times tonight I had to force servers away from my counter so that I could actually wait on the people that were wanting service.  I stopped counting how many times people ran into me tonight.  You should NOT walk and stare at the TV at the same time.  And don’t look at me like it’s my fault.  If you watch where you are going it wouldn’t be a problem.

Full grown men  staring at the TV as though the world is about to end.  IT’S JUST A FUCKING GAME.  No one dies.  No one is curing cancer.  No one is going to solve the world’s hunger problem.  It’s a bunch of grown men in tight pants hitting a ball with a stick.  If you want to watch the game so badly then ask off for the evening.  Just get the fuck out of my way.

Can you tell I’m annoyed?  I just want the Yankees to lose and get it over with.  They won’t but it’s what I’d like.  Of course the big news in NYC right now is that the tickets are too fucking expensive.  As a co-worker asked tonight, “How many people in da Bronx can afford tickets to the stadium in the Bronx?  I think he might have a point.

Hopefully the Phillies will win it all very quickly and we can put this whole mess behind us.

 

 

 

Tuesday Evening.

My head hurts.  No seriously.  It does.  I’ve had a migraine all night.  It started around 6:00 and only got worse from there.  I got home from work a bit ago and as soon as I finish eating the peanut butter and jelly sandwich Adam made me for dinner I’m going to call it a night.

I don’t have a clue what to complain about tonight.

Work sucked.  We aren’t nearly as busy as we were this time last year.  Which means I’m making less.  Which means I have to work more.  Which sucks.  Why can’t I just be rich like other people are.  Seriously.  Would it have been so bad for me to have won the lottery and not have to work anymore.  I’m just saying.

Speaking of money.  We ordered the paper for our Christmas Cards last night.  It should be here by Friday.  We bought the embossing gun last night as well.  Now I just have to get Adam home from work on time so that he can start making the cards.  My plan is to come in at the last minute sign the things, “Happy Holidays!  Love Maddog.”  See how easy that is.  Then Adam will add the stamp and drop them in the box.  This boyfriend thing is great.

All kidding aside, the boyfriend thing IS great.  By the end of next weekend our apartment should finally be done.  We have a load to take to storage, a couple of bookcases to arrange, a bathroom to paint and all will be done.  I promise to post pictures when it’s all finished.

I’m a die hard real Christmas tree fan.  I haven’t had a fake tree in years.  But I think we are going to break down and buy a fake one.  I know, I know, I know.  It’s not the same.  BUT.  It means we can put it up early and take it down late.  It means we don’t have to worry about the fire hazard while we are in Texas.  It means we won’t be cleaning up needles for six months after Christmas.  And in the long run it’s an investment.  Of course it wasn’t until we started looking that we discovered that fake trees are fucking expensive.  The tree we’d like to have is almost a thousand bucks.  Who spends a grand on a Christmas tree.  So we are going with the less real but far less expensive tree from Home Depot.  I have also discovered that you can’t really buy an 8’0″ artificial tree.  It’s either 7’6″ or 9’0″.  We’d like an 8 or 8.5 footer.  A 9 is just too tall.  Hmmm.  Who decides these things.

My sandwich is gone.  I’m going to bed now.

 

A List To Live By:

1.  It’s not my fault that you can’t taste the fucking rum in your strawberry daiquiri.  (Who invented the spelling on this one?)  If you want to taste the rum order a rum and coke.  Or even better rum on the rocks.  The whole fucking point of a strawberry daiquiri is to NOT taste the rum.

2.  If you can’t taste the alcohol in your Long Island Tea it’s because you are a fucking alcoholic and need to leave my restaurant immediately and check yourself into rehab.

3.  SERIOUSLY.  You are NOT 21.  And SERIOUSLY, you did not get served here last week.  And SERIOUSLY do you think telling me this is going to get me to serve you?  SERIOUSLY?

4.  Do not get mad at me because your appetizer and entree came out together.  I told you at 1:20 when you placed your order that the kitchen was closing and it would all come out together.  If you wanted a slower paced meal then go to the fucking diner on 46th and 9th.

5.  It’s not my fault that your food took 30 minutes to land on the table.  So don’t yell at me!

6.  Don’t ask me why I live in New York.  Why the fuck do you live in Des Moines?  Or Wichita?  Or Tuscaloosa?  I wanted to live here, I moved, and I’m happy about it.  It’s a stupid fucking question.

7.  Please.  Pick up a tour book.  A newspaper.  A computer.  It is no longer 1985 in New York.  There are no prostitutes in Time Square.  You are not going to get gang raped on the subway at 4:00 in the afternoon.  Yes it’s safe to walk back to your hotel after the theater.   And yes I ride the subway to and from work.  Every day.  Every night.  No I am not scared.  No it is not scary.

8.  Don’t ask me if I “make bank” at my job?  I don’t know.  Tell me.  Do I make bank?  You are the one writing the fucking paycheck.

9.  Yes New York is expensive.  It is.  But it’s not outrageous.  I do NOT have to work three jobs to pay my rent.  Besides it’s rude to ask that question.

10.  If you are NOT going to tip me, then don’t come back three days later and act as though I’m the best server ever.  You are a FUCKING ass.  And might as well sit back for the ride because I’m not offering you shit.  You want it, you ask for it.  And then sit back and enjoy the ride because I’m not getting it till everyone else has what they need.

11.  Don’t complain to me that the prices aren’t in the menu.  And fuck you for saying, it’s my job I should know this.  I know what the prices are.  I don’t fucking make policy about what is and isn’t in the menu.  If I did, I sure as fuck wouldn’t be talking to you on Friday night.  I’d be out spending my six figure income.

12.  You didn’t know there was a waiter.  Really?  REALLY?  When was the last time you went into any fucking restaurant and someone didn’t wait on you.  Especially a restaurant this big.   You get table service at Jimmy’s the dive bar across the street that WE all go to.

13.  REALLY.  You didn’t notice the hundred other people out in the lobby waiting.  You thought it would be okay to just come in, find an empty table and seat yourself.  And now you are indignant that you have to move.  REALLY!!!

14.  Why if your bill is 89.37 cents do you tip 18.54 cents.  The number is completely random.   Just curious about that one.

15.  No you can not go to the bar and get your own drinks.  You have to sit there and wait for me to get them for you.  No you are not doing me a favor by doing this.  But I can do you a favor by letting you move to the bar so you can get things directly when ever you need them.

16.  You are NOT the first person who doesn’t speak English as a first language that I have ever waited on.  In fact you aren’t the first person who doesn’t speak A word of English that I have waited on.  We’ll get through this.  It’s my job.  I’ll make sure you get what you want and I won’t take advantage of you.

17.  If you know to tip 10 dollars on a hundred then you know it’s not an appropriate tip.  In fact if you know enough to leave a tip at all you know what’s enough and what’s not enough.

18.  What do you mean you don’t understand percentages in America.  It’s fucking math.  It’s the same everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  Especially in the UK.  The language is the same.  The numbers are also the FUCKING SAME!!!

19.  Yes table 61 is my table.  But why do I have to spend 15 minutes in the kitchen explaining that I did NOT order a jumbo combo for the table.  I don’t know who put the fucking order into the computer.   I don’t know where it’s supposed to go.   I don’t know who made the fucking mistake.  But I don’t need two waiters, a food runner, an expo, and a manager tell me to come to the kitchen to fix the mistake.  IT’S NOT MY FUCKING MISTAKE TO FIX.

20.  Do NOT assume that at 1:12 (we close at 1:15) that I want all five tables that are waiting to be seated.  But did it matter to you that my station was empty.  My side work was done and all I had to do was wait three minutes to run my report.  Fuck NO it didn’t.  So instead of leaving work at 1:15.  I left at 2:35.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.

Fuck.

(and two of those last five tables stiffed me completely).

FUCK!!!!!!

A Hole in One.

I had a VERY stressful night at work.

Very.

Stressful.

VERY!

Tonight around 11:30 I was working trying to get through the end of the night.  I picked up money for a check.  Went to the wait station and counted out the change, put the money back in my pocket, dropped off the change and went to the bar to pick up drinks.  When I got to the bar, I did what I often do and put my hand in my pocket.  And my money was not there.  I panicked.  I went running toward the wait station and as I turned to go in someone yelled my name.  I looked back and there was a trail of money all over the floor.  Several of us picked up the money as quickly as we could.  Picture one of those machines that’s blowing the money around and you are grabbing it as fast as you can.

I get all the money back in my pocket and go back to work.  About 30 seconds later I panic.  What if somehow we missed a twenty dollar bill, or a fifty or even worse a hundred.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.

I realized there was nothing I could do about it.  I just had to finish my shift and pray for the best.

Just a note to all you non-restaurant people out there.  Most waiters carry their banks in their pockets.  Not just their tips but all the revenue they’ve collected for the evening.  At the end of the night they run a report.  The report totals up all your sales, from that amount it subtracts your credit card payments and then you get a total due.  You give the restaurant it’s cut and what ever is left is yours to keep.  If by chance you lose your bank you are responsible for it.  So let’s say I hadn’t found my money tonight.  I would have had to cough up all the money I owed out of my own pocket.  To put this in perspective as to how much money we are talking about.  I’ve had to pay as little as a couple of hundred dollars.  And one night I had over 2300 dollars in my pocket.  It’s a little scary when you think about it.

So as soon as I ran my report.  Before I’d even finished my side work or gone to the office where everyone else was doing their cashout, I counted my money.   I owed the restaurant 900 dollars even.  I had 927 dollars in my pocket.  I counted again.  And again.  And again.  And again.

FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK. FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK.

I counted one last time and realized that basically my whole night had been a waste of time.

I went in to the cash out office, pulled out a chair, plopped down in it and started doing my paperwork.  As I was doing it I told everyone in the office what had happened.  They were all very compassionate.  Not compassionate enough to offer me money, but nice all the same.  So I’m sitting there counting my money again and Melissa says, did you drop some money on the floor.  I look down and there’s about 50 bucks on the floor.  I assume in my despair I’d dropped it.  I count it all out again and now I have 975 dollars.  Perhaps I’m just stupid.  I count again.  And yep.  It’s 975.  So I made 75 dollars not 27.  Big fucking deal.  I stand up to go turn in my money and Nick, my fellow cocktailer says to me, “Yo fucktard.  You dropped your money on the floor again.”  I pick up the money and what do you know.  I now have 1045.  What the fuck.

And then I realize what has happend.

I’ve told you guys a lot about my restaurant.  Some of you by now even know where I work.  My restaurant is big.  There are 130 servers on the schedule.  With so many people and so many shifts and so much stuff to cover most of the time their is very little attention paid to our uniforms.   I should also say that as a rule, I’ve never met a waiter who has a clean uniform every day.  A clean shirt maybe.  But never new pants every single day.  Some of the people I work with wear the same pants for weeks at a time without washing them.  I know it sounds gross, but in the big scheme of things that would gross you out a lot less than some of the other things I could tell you about.  I have a pair of pants that I wear to work that I’ve had since I started.  They fit me better than most of my other pants so I wear them a lot.  I’ve worn them a couple of times this week and since there were no ranch dressing splashed all over them I decided to wear them again today.

Now the thing about the pants is that they are two years old.  And have been worn to hell and back.  The cuffs are ripped and torn.  The right side is bleached a lighter color because of the towel I carry.  And there are four of five holes in them that are mostly covered by my apron.  One of the holes happens to be a rip that is parallel to my right pocket.

So tonight I’d put my money in my pocket.

Only I’d missed my pocket and put the money in the hole in my pants that runs parallel to my pocket.  When I went running the money fell out of my pants leg.  I picked it up not realizing that there was more there.  When I sat down more fell out.  When I stood up to take my money to the cashier more fell out.  When I realized what was happening I shook my leg and a whole pile of bills fell out.

When it was all said and done I counted my money and although it was not as much as I’d have liked it to be it was a realistic amount based on my sales for the evening.

So.

Those pants are going in the garbage tomorrow.  And even though I don’t have any other clean pants, I’ll be scrubbing the ranch dressing off another pair so I have pants that are safe to wear to work.

I’ll take the money I didn’t lose tonight and buy new pants on Saturday.

Whew!!!!!!

A Weekend in the life of Maddog.

The ceiling is patched.  The wall is patched, damp, but patched.  The bathroom ceiling is patched.  The bathroom door now closes.  The foyer door now closes.  With any luck at all we will be all unpacked and ready to move on to new projects in the next couple of weeks.

Actually our schedule is insane from now till the end of January.

It is.

This weekend 10/24:  Paint, put things away.

Next weekend 10/31:  Hang paintings.

Next weekend 11/7:  Finish up all apartment things.

Next weekend 11/14:  Arthur comes to visit.

Next weekend 11/21:  Adam has a cake due.  Plan for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving weekend:  My mom, my aunt, my cousin, her husband and their three kids are driving up from Kentucky. (They are all staying with us as well).  Adam is cooking dinner for all of us.  While he’s cooking I’m taking them all to the parade.  On Friday will be a whirlwind tour of the city.  We’ll go until they all drop over from exhaustion.

They leave on Saturday.  On Saturday and Sunday we put up the Christmas Tree

Following weekend 12/5: Michelle comes to visit.  We finish decorating for Xmas.

Following weekend 12/12:  Christmas open house.  (You are all invited)

Following weekend 12/19:  Drive to Kentucky, then to Texas.

Spend the week in Texas.

Following weekend 12/16:  Drive to Kentucky and then to NYC.

Following weekend:  I have to work.  To be off for Thanksgiving and Christmas I’ve agreed to work New Years.  I won’t celebrate the New Year with Adam but spending the other holidays with family makes up for it.

The next weekend is our one year anniversary.  We are hoping to go away that weekend.

The next weekend:  We have nothing planned.

Following weekend:  We drive to Kentucky to spend four days with my family.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  And none of this includes things like plans with friends, theater, dates, etc.  It also doesn’t include things like making the 200 handmade Christmas cards that Adam has decided we should make.  I suggested sending them, he suggested making them.  So sometime in November we have to spend a day making them, so they can be signed, addressed and mailed in time for Christmas.  Let me know if you’d like me to send you one.

And now, I think I should go to bed.  It’s going to take all the energy I can muster to get through all of this.

Can you hear me now???

By the time you read this, Luis should be knocking on our door to finish the last of the repairs to our apartment.  Since I worked tonight and have to work tomorrow night, Adam has taken the day off to oversee the repairs.  Keep your fingers crossed that it’s all done relatively painlessly.

I’m drawing a blank.  I’m going to get a Diet Coke and hope that I’m inspired to write more than two sentences.

I now have a Diet Coke and three Oreos.  Let’s see if that does the trick.

Not really.

Hmmmm.

This doesn’t happen often.  As most of you know I ALWAYS have something to say.

Work is going okay.  I’ve started getting regular shifts again.  Management seems to like me.  No one is complaining.

Adam and I are okay.  Actually we are great.  I really couldn’t ask for a better boyfriend.

I just realized that I never told you my Verizon Wireless story.

Sooo.

About a month ago I got a new phone.  I had wanted to wait, but I was so completely tired of the phone that I had that I needed a new one.  I was not tired of it because I wanted something new.  I was tired because it was a useless piece of crap.  It was the LG Dare and the only thing good about it was the battery life, which is not a reason to buy a phone.  It’s a touch screen and it’s sensitivity is so good that when you press the “a” an “s” pops up.  Or you press the “t” and the “e” pops up.  Makes texting a little difficult.  It also didn’t lock itself very well and one day I pulled the phone out of my pocket and the screen said, “Press yes to delete all contacts.”  Hmmm.

So I could do a one year early upgrade and I did it.

I bought an LG Env2.  It’s the old model but based on the reviews I read, the only real difference between the 2 and the 3 is the screen size.  I might add at this point that I’m holding out hope that what I’ve been hearing is true and that Verizon strikes a deal with Apple. I’ll have an I-Phone lickity split.

Back to the story.  I get my new phone and two days later, I promptly drop it into the toilet.  FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK…

For years I’ve been told that if you just let it dry out for a few days and then turn it back on it should work just fine.  So I reactivated my DARE and waited.  And three days later I turned on the toilet phone as Adam called it and it was DEAD.

I had not bought the insurance.  I’d just renewed my contract.  So I wasn’t eligible for a new phone.  The way it looked to me, I was either stuck with the DARE or I was going to have to shell out a couple of hundred dollars for a new phone.  The question was how to proceed.  I had a couple of friends who said I should just take it in, tell them it stopped working and get a new one.  I had other friends say to order the insurance, wait a couple of weeks and then report it damaged.  I’d like to think I did the right thing.  I called up customer service and told them what happened.  I explained that I’d damaged my phone and asked if there was anything that could be done.  I didn’t mind paying but I would like to not HAVE to pay full retail price for a new phone.  The person on the phone said she didn’t think there was anything she could do but she’d check.  She came back and said that since my phone was new I could take it to a store and tell them it was damaged and under the 30 day no worry guarantee I could just exchange it.

So I did just that.

And the lady at the retail story looked at me like I was crazy.  So she pulled up my account.  And sure enough it showed that I’d called earlier in the day.  And sure enough it showed that my phone was damaged.  But there was not a single mention of me replacing my phone with a new one.  She told me she was sorry but that was the way things were.  I suggested that we call the call center and talk to them.  So she called.  And was told the same thing by the call center.  By now I was getting annoyed as I’m want to be.  I tell the girl at the counter that I understand what they are saying but it was not what I was told.  Finally the girl behind the counter asks to speak to the manager of the call center person.  She is told “NO.”  So the counter girl says, “Here you tell him” and hands me the phone.  As she hands it to me she gets up to get her manager.  Basically things disintegrate from here.  I finally ask to speak to her girl on the phones manager and she says, “He’s going to tell you the same thing.”  To which I reply, “I SAID I’D LIKE TO SPEAK TO YOUR MANAGER.  IS THERE SOME PART OF WHAT I’M SAYING THAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND.”  So there is the 20 minute wait while she explains her side of the story to some off screen person.  While I’m waiting the store manager tells me that he can get me a new phone under some plan but it’s going to cost 200 bucks.  Fuck that.  I can walk across the street and get an I-phone for 200 bucks.  Finally telephone manager comes on and he’s worse than the person I was talking to in the first place.  He gets bitchy.  I get bitchier.  He get’s bitchier and I get even bitchier.  I feel like I’m negotiating a car deal.  He keeps coming back to the phone with a new price.  H finally tells me that he can get me the same phone for 70 bucks.

Now.

If I’d been told that earlier in the day I would have said, YIIIPPPPEEE.  Gone to the store paid the 70 bucks and had a new phone.

But.

I was told I could get the phone replaced for free.

And.

The jerkoff on the phone had been an asshole.

So I finally said.

“I’m sorry.  But at this point I’m unwilling to accept that offer.  I was told that I could replace the phone for free.  You are telling me I can not.  I was told to replace the phone it would cost me 200 dollars.  Then 150.  Then 100.  Now it’s 70.  It seems to me that it’s in your power to give me to replace the phone at no cost.  Since you are no longer willing to discuss this I feel that I have no other options.  I’ll cancel my account and move to ATT where I can have an I-phone which I wanted in the first place.”

He tells me, “You are free to do whatever you feel is best for you.”

To which I reply, “I’ll be happy to do that, but just know that I’ll be sending a few well placed letters so show my displeasure with you and your company.

I forgot to mention that I asked at one point I asked why they couldn’t just pick up the phone and call the person I was speaking with earlier.  They are a phone company.  They have phones.  They have her information.  Pick up the phone and call.  I was told that it wasn’t that simple.  Hmmm.

So I came home.

Spent about 3 minutes on line and found the following information.

The fax number to the CEO’s office.

The direct phone number to his office.  Not his assistant’s but his.

His direct company email address.

And I faxed and emailed the following letter.

Mr. Ivan G. Seidenberg,

I have been a loyal customer with Verizon for about five years.  I currently have a family plan with three lines that I share with my mom and my aunt.   I have been very happy with your company, until today.

Approximately two weeks ago I used the early contract renewal option to purchase a new LG ENV 2.  I purchased the phone for approximately 20 dollars through an online purchase discount.   I received the phone, activated it, and was immediately happy with my purchase.  Unfortunately on Friday I dropped my phone into the toilet.  I let it dry over the next several days hoping that it would eventually work.  As you can guess it did not.

Over the weekend I debated on how to deal with the situation.  I had friends who suggested I return the phone, say it had stopped working and let Verizon replace it.  I had other friends suggest that I call and obtain the warranty, wait a couple of weeks and then report the phone as damaged.

I’d like to think that I made the right choice by calling Verizon and reporting the damage to my phone. I have no idea who I spoke to when I called customer service.  She listened to my situation and as I expected told me that there was nothing she could do for me.  I then asked if there was any thing that could be done to help me replace the phone without paying full price.  I was placed on hold and when she returned she told me that her manager had informed her that I could take the phone back to a retail store, tell them I’d like to replace the phone using the 30 day worry free warranty and all would be well.

I tried to do just that.  Around 3:15 p.m. yesterday afternoon I arrived at the retail store on the corner of 6th Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan.  I was called up to the counter and told the person behind the counter the situation, what I was told on the phone and that I’d like to exchange my phone for a new one.

First, I was told that the LG ENV2 was no longer sold in the store and was only available online, therefore they could not replace my phone.  I was then told to wait while she looked up my account information.  She told me that not only could they not replace my phone that in fact I did not qualify for the 30 day worry free warranty because there was water damage to my phone.  Therefore there was nothing they could do for me.  The information on my account clearly stated that I had water damage to my phone but did not mention that I had been told I could replace the phone with no problem.

The person at the retail store offered to call customer service for me.  She placed the call and the situation took a turn for the worse.  Because she could not get clear answers from the call center, the retail person asked to speak to a manager and was told no.   I was then given the phone and was told that although I had been told I could replace my phone, and been given wrong information, there was absolutely nothing they could for me.  I asked to speak to the call center person’s manager twice and was told no.  It wasn’t until I threatened to cancel my account that she let me speak to her manager.  He was no more helpful than she was. After arguing with him he finally offered to give the 1 year renewal plan pricing but that was well over 100 hundred dollars. After the phone call telling me that I could replace the phone with no problem and then being told that I couldn’t speak to a manager, and now having been on the phone for more than 25 minutes, I was not willing to accept the offer.

If I’d been told yesterday that I would have to pay for a new phone, I would have gone to the store, paid the price and left with my new phone.  However, I was told that it would not be a problem to replace the phone, and then spent more than 40 minutes arguing that in fact that was what I was told.  I even suggested that they call the original person and verify the information.  I was told they were unable to do that,  I even went as far as to ask to pay the same price I’d paid originally and was told “that was the pricing then, not today.”  After being treated poorly by both the call center person and her manager, I was not willing to budge.

When it was all said and done I spent well over an hour trying to get a satisfactory answer.

I now feel like I have two options:

Spend the money to buy a new Verizon phone, regardless of the information I’d been given.  Ignore the treatment I received and chalk it up to poor customer service on your part, and then be stuck with your company for two more years.

Or.

I’ve done the research and after the second week of November I can cancel all three lines on my phone for an early cancellation fee of 175 dollars.  Then instead of spending 200 dollars on a Verizon phone, I can go to the Apple store and for 200 dollars buy an I-phone.   I was told that I can have all three lines, plus the data plan at ATT, for the same price I’m now paying at Verizon.   I asked about ten friends today what I should do and all of them said to go with the I-Phone.

I’d appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about the situation.  As I told the girl at the retail store today, it seems crazy to me that you would be willing to spend millions of dollars to win one customer and yet be willing to lose a customer over a 20 dollar phone.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Maddog

I sent the email at 2:00 just before I left for work.  A person with the title “executive correspondence, customer relations” called me around 5:00.  I spoke to her the next day and the following day I had a new phone.

I think Adam was surprised they responded at all.

As I told the person when the called me.  I’d have been happy (not happy, but I’d have understood) to pay for a new phone if that’s what I’d been told I needed to do.  Not only did I get a new phone but I was also told they’d reviewed the calls I’d made and appropriate actions were being taken.

Chalk one up for the little dog.

Cloudy with a chance of rain.

Adam and I will have lived together three weeks on Sunday.  The whole thing has been amazing.  He’ll call to me from the kitchen and say, “I really like our new home.”  I text him and say, “I really like our new curtains.”  Our home is really starting to come together.

When we first started talking about moving in together I insisted we move to a brand new space.  After some research I realized that we were never going to have six or seven thousand dollars that was needed to move to a new space.  We started discussing the pros and cons of each of our spaces.

My space:

I have a roommate.  Do I just tell him to get the fuck out.  I have about an eighth of the closet space.  I only have one bathroom.  My grocery store sucks.  You can’t buy the NY Times in my neighborhood.  The kitchen is okay, but for Adam to be able to use it, we’d have to do some serious work.  I didn’t have an elevator.  I do have to admit that my rent was cheaper and my landlord was better.  Overall my apartment was in much better shape.

Adams:

Not as much light.  It’s on the first floor.  Second bedroom is tiny.  It was Robert and Adam’s apartment.

Not as many cons as I had.

Adam has lived in this building since 1997.  He’s lived in this apartment since 1999.  It’s his space.  I insisted that if i move in that we had to make it our space.  I didn’t want it to be Robert’s space that I was taking over, and I didn’t want it to be Adam’s space that I was encroaching on.  We had to paint, move the furniture around.  Make it ours.

Adam agreed to all of this.

AND:

We HAD to get  some repairs done to the apartment.

So we put a list together and sent it off to the landlord.

Adam landlord is pretty much as a slumlord.  He only fixes things when it becomes too hard to ignore them or until you really start to complain.  We weren’t sure how he would respond to our list.

He was actually okay.

Most of the stuff was easy.

The BIG thing:

Adam has had a leak in his foyer off and on for the past five years.  They fix it, repair the ceiling, and then it starts all over again.  I insisted that the foyer leak be repaired before I moved in.  So he sent in the request and thus began the four months of insanity.

The landlord agreed to come patch the ceiling.  That was fine, but we wanted the leak fixed first.  So he said he’d look into it.  And it leaked and leaked and leaked and leaked.  It’s not like it’s pouring into the apartment but it fills up a bucket over the course of a week.  And it leaks and it leaks.

Then one Friday he comes home and discovers that it’s not leaking.

It’s raining.

It rains.

And rains.

And rains.

And this is what it looked like:

7-8-09 WALL CEILING DAMAGE

7-8-09 WALL CEILING DAMAGE 2

As you can see it’s not pretty.  We ended up moving the white cabinet to the other side of the room.   The big leak stopped but now the little leak was worse.  Every time the upstairs neighbors showered it rained in our apartment.  Especially at 2:00 during the week because someone always showers then.

I should say at this point that for most of the time it was leaking Adam just ignored it.  He’s pull out his bucket catch the water and hope that it didn’t last long.  Me being me, I wasn’t willing to do that.  I was the instigator and I prodded Adam into being aggressive with John the landlord.  John wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.  Adam had been the passive tenant for so long, that for a while he just ignored Adam.  After the big leak we finally got his attention.  We wanted compensation for the damage and once and for all we wanted the fucking leak fixed.  Adam didn’t say it but he alluded to us not paying rent as long as the foyer was not habitable.

SO.  They came and checked things out.  And it continued to leak.  We sent another email. And they came and checked things out.  And it continued to leak.  So we sent more emails.  And they came and checked things out and it continued to leak.  All this time Adam is insisting that the problem is with the shower upstairs and that it’s the shower surround that’s allowing the water to leak into our apartment.

Finally they tell us they are sending a plumber out to look at the problem.  So the carpenter Luis shows up…but with out a plumber.  And he tells us he’s there to fix the ceiling.  I was about to lose my shit.  I explained that he was to open up the ceiling and that nothing was getting fixed until the leak was stopped.  So he opened up the ceiling, which only made things look even worse.  For about three weeks we had a four foot by four foot hole in the ceiling in the foyer.  (I forgot to take pictures). And the leak was worse now that there was no ceiling to catch the water.  It was also a wider area since there was nothing to direct the water.  And we sent more emails.

I should say, Adam sent emails.  Since I’m not on the lease yet, it was his job.

Finally they send a plumber out to check things out.  I’m asleep for this visit so Adam was in charge.

They go to the second floor and fill the tub and let the water run and there’s no leak.  The turn the shower on, there’s no leak.  They turn the shower on and point the water toward the wall and in about three seconds it’s raining in our apartment.  If I didn’t know better it was exactly what Adam had said it was.

So last week they retiled the upstairs bathroom.

And yesterday they came and started the process of patching the ceiling.  They would’ve done it all, but Luis discovered that the wall and ceiling is still very wet.  They redid the caulk in our bathroom.  And hopefully with any luck we’ll have a brand new ceiling by the end of next week.

Of course last Friday at this time when I got home it was raining in the bathroom.  Seems from the bathroom work upstairs someone had used the water before they were supposed to and so it rained and rained and rained.  In any other part of the country they would have turned the water off, called a plumber and it would have been fixed immediately.  In our world, it rained for about 15 hours before they finally turned the water off and did the repairs.

So next week when they come back they are supposed to do the bathroom ceilings as well.

I hurt Adam’s feelings last week when I said, “you know the kitchen would have sucked, the closets were small, but at least it didn’t rain in my apartment.”

Maddog at Work

Here’s a run down of the end of my night tonight.  My last table of the night was a doozy.  They sat down, all five of them.  I brought over menus and then immediately four of them got up and left.  I said hello and told the girl that I’d be back when everyone was there.  They finally get back and here’s basically the gist of the conversation.  How much is a beer?  7 dollars.  How much is a big beer?  8 dollars.  How much is a small beer.  7 dollars.  I want a bottle of beer, slamming her hand down on the table.  How much is a bottle of beer.  7 dollars.  How much is a small beer.  7 dollars.  I want the cheapest beer you have.  They are all about the same price.  Yes, but which one is cheaper.  I don’t know they are all about the same price.  How much is a bottle of beer?  7 dollars.  How much is a big beer 8 dollars.  How much is a small beer.  7 dollars.  How about a pitcher of beer.  We don’t have pitchers of beer.  How much is Budweiser.  Around 7 dollars.  A Stella.   About 7 dollars.  A big Stella.  About 8 dollars.  A bottle of Stella.  We don’t have bottles of Stella.  But there is a picture in the menu.  I know but we don’t have bottles of Stella.  How much, how much, how much.  I finally said, how about this?  You guys discuss what you want and how much you want to spend and I’ll be back.  Of course they wanted me to come back almost immediately and I was busy by that time and they’d lost their prompt opportunity so I told them they’d have to wait.  Then they called over the manager in training and told him that they’d ask me how much beers were and had never come back.  By this time I was done with them.  They ended up having 3 beers they split between five people and two appetizers.  They also complained because the food was taking too long.  I pretty much ignored them and of course they stiffed me.  I really didn’t care I have to admit.

I do have to admit that my favorite part of the experience was when the guy asked me why there were no prices in the drinks menu.  I told him that I didn’t know.  And he very smuggly said, well if I worked here I’d make sure there were prices in the menu.  I guess he’s going to get a  job at corporate next week.