Saturday, January 15, 2011

Yes! No! Er ... yes?

I found some watches in the Signals catalog to give to Olga and me for Christmas. But gosh, the online comments about similar, cheaper watches were discouraging. It's impossible to reset the time. The battery only runs for a month. But the Customer Service Rep at Signals and I decided that the catalog's watches were more expensive and therefore higher quality. Also, I could always send them back. Also, they were made in Italy, the home of half my ancestors and much good design.

Well, Christmas came and went without the watches. I finally called. Signals had sent them, but they were probably languishing in a USPS warehouse. I was just about to ask for a credit, but Signals said it would send out another two promptly. It did. They arrived in clever little jars. Those Italians!

But you know what? I couldn't reset the time. The instructions – in more languages than I knew existed – said to "press" buttons on the back, but I pressed like crazy, with no result. I also poked but that began to seem dangerous, plus it remained useless.

I wrote to the manufacturer. A perky CSR wrote back, simply repeating the instructions from the card in the jar. She ended with, "Have a Thriving Thursday!" I'm not kidding. I wrote back and asked her to actually read my original email. She wrote back and told me to pull the watch out of the silicon (not silicone) strap, and send it to them. I wrote back and said no. She wrote back and said they're here to help, and to have a Whimsical Weekend. (Still not kidding.)

In the end, I'll return the jars of watches and Signals will refund everything, including the return shipping, so all is well. Still,
it's not like me to want something and then not want it and then want it again.

Or is it?

I signed up for St. Petersburg's amazing curb-side recycling pickup because ... well, because it was 2010, after all. They take all manner of office paper and junkmail and tag board, and any plastic at all if it's got a recycle number on it. When I lived in Gulfport, lo, these nine months ago, they didn't even pick up glass or any plastic except #1 and #2. So I should be happy, right?

Yes. But.

I had to have the bin out there by seven o'clock on Monday morning. I could do that right up until it got so cold. And if I put it out the night before, all my junkmail would fly away in the blustery winds we've been having. And, really, if I skip a week – because I really don't have that much stuff – I feel guilty because I'm pretty sure I'm the only recycler in a seven-block radius.

I got a notice from Waste Services of Florida, Inc., saying I owed $7.59. I had paid for a whole year, so what the heck? I called. It turned out that the year I paid for was 2011, but that I hadn't paid for October, November, or December of 2010. Well, that's just weird. The clerk said it appeared that no one had been told about that. So I did what any red-blooded American would do: I cancelled the service.

This painting was done by Angus Macaulay (
with my colors in mind. How wonderful! Cups by Meow Mix.

I've left my tub out there in the cold sand for two weeks now, and no one has picked it up. My orange plastic cups from Meow Mix are multiplying, though. And really, it was pretty convenient to just toss it all into that bin. The handful of workers would race out of the truck and separate it themselves. That's easy. (For me.)

I checked my bank account and saw that the money hadn't been refunded yet, so I called and – yes: I reinstated my service. I asked specifically if they'd throw rocks at my windows if I skipped a week and was assured they would not. Yay.

Have you ever swept a floor with a broom when there are kittens in the house? If you have, you know exactly how pointless that is. The kits think it's a new game. They love the scritching noise. They love the motion. They love jumping into the pile of cat hair and – let it be said now – Barbara hair and litter trackings and kibble crumbs that you've swept together. They roll in it like it's catnip, like they're six-year-olds in a Northern autumn pile
of leaves.

I told a friend about the wisps of cat hair that float up to the ceiling like elfin clouds in a miniature heaven when I'm sweeping. She said I should vacuum my wooden floors. Oh. But I gave my vacuum cleaner to Mike when I moved here. And the cats hate that noise. And I'd knock all manner of things down with the cord. So how about a carpet sweeper? Yes! That's the solution!
It's non-electric, just like my beloved clothes line, and will do
the trick.

I almost bought one from the Vermont Country Store catalog because I'm an idiot. Let me stop right here and say that I am all about shopping locally. I mean it. I don't even quite approve of cantaloupe right now. It's January. Even Florida doesn't have cantaloupe. It's just not right. I think you should buy your stuff from local artists (ahem) or at least local merchants. It's getting to be a habit to stop by the Gulfport Hardware Store before I check out to Home Depot.

Except that, well, gosh, online shopping is so much fun, isn't it? You're sitting there in your at-home clothes (or not). It could be six a.m. or midnight. Who cares? It's so very available, you know? And it's not like I'm using any gasoline, right?

So I found the model of carpet sweeper I wanted. Then I
checked other online sources and found that Lowe's has one for twenty bucks cheaper and no shipping if I pick it up. Please. This was clearly divine intervention from Saint Martha, patron saint
of maids.

It was ready for pickup on the twelfth, but when I showed up on the thirteenth, it wasn't there. New paperwork said it would be there on the nineteenth, but it showed up the next day. And guess what?

Yeah, it really doesn't clean that well. There are settings for
  • long pile
  • short pile
  • carpet tile
  • floor
And here's where this blog takes a sharp corner. Of course I was thinking about returning the inefficient carpet sweeper, but I'm a nut for details, and so I checked the sweeper before telling you about the settings. I wanted to get the words exact. I never would have remembered "carpet tile" on my own. I never heard of such a thing. It turns out the sweeper was set to short pile instead of floor. When I corrected that, it swept nicely. Yay! A return, a change of mind, a dithering averted!

Now, according to Levine and Jawer, this nation's premier astrologers, "Irrepressible Mars prances into [my] 5th House of Fun and Games to lighten [my] heart and brighten [my] spirit," on this very day. Therefore, I'll scrape around for an appropriate picture (or three) for this blog, and then go forth with a light heart and bright spirit. Whew! I'm really ready for some of that!

Here's a picture of Henry just because he's so cute.
With his sleeves rolled up he looks like a professor inside and
a git-r-done kind of man outside.


Melanie said...

"Cups by Meow Mix". Love it!

Anonymous said...

I guessed Henry and it was in the photo; and I didn't get my name taken in vain, I'm disappointed? No. Thanks for writing your Blog; I just read it and loved all of it; I love that you mention about your clothes line not being electric etc. and fearless with all the stuff floating up in the air and what am I doing? Critiquing? No, hardly. Just love to read your Blog when I do and am functioning.

Anonymous said...

I hope you didn't recycle your Meow Mix cups! They're the perfect complement to Macaulay's wonderful painting!

I was going to suggest a Swiffer for your hairs, even though it's not the most economical way to gather them up. Effective, but you have to keep buying the replacement "cloths." So the carpet sweeper (that works) is a much better solution. I do like the replacement cloths for dusting ~ they're great for people who dust once a year or so (as I am wont to do).