School for Dogs

I never had children. So I never had to worry about schools, tuition, or the scholastic competency of teachers. But, today I had to take my soon-to-be 8 year old Black Lab, to doggie day-care to prepare her for boarding (yes, I said prepare her).  Years ago, when you were planning a trip, you called your Vet, asked if they had boarding services and brought your dog in when you were leaving on your trip. Today, if you are planning on boarding your dog, it is a very different story. You must research, you must do appropriate integration, you must watch your dog on the internet doggie web cam, and ultimately, you must be accepted to the program!

Like any good parent (in Boulder, dog owners are legally called guardians as the term connotes that no one really owns another living being) I decided to check a few places out. I looked for cleanliness of the facility, the caliber of the day care staff, the enrichment programs, disciplinary procedures, quality of the indoor and outdoor areas, the sleeping quarters, the tuition. I drove all over looking at a wide range of facilities and programs. Is this beginning to sound like looking for a child’s boarding school to you? Where did all this come from? Is it a racket, or truly the way we should care for our pets?

One place I nixed because it looked too much like a pound, with dogs spending way to much time in kennels and only getting exercised 10 minutes a day twice a day. Another place I nixed because it was the size of a postage stamp, and with 50 or so dogs in the facility on a daily basis, the dogs were basically on top of one another. Another place I nixed because it smelled like your worst nightmare of a public bathroom.

But I found nirvana about 5 minutes from our home. This facility looked like a white country home with a blue roof and a white picket fence. It

My Mia

had a huge outdoor play area complete with play school equipment, plenty of trees and even strategically placed crates for dogs that want to get away from it all. The indoor area was huge as well, and dogs can romp and play together in a climate controlled environment when the weather is too severe for their comfort. But nirvana is only part of the equation – could Mia cut the mustard, could she behave according to the strict standards of the program, would she be accepted for boarding. The pressure was on. Did I raise her properly?

Mia went there today. Right now she is sound asleep on the carpet in my office and will probably sleep until tomorrow morning.

She passed the entrance exam, she is accepted for boarding privileges. Nothing is too good for my Mia. I thought I never had children?

Credit Card Company Mumbo Jumbo

This situation brightened my day today. We got a letter in the mail from Macy’s collection department that our account was overdue and to call the customer service number or pay what was owed before they turned it over to a collection agency. We are pretty meticulous about paying our bills and have an excellent credit rating, and so this concerned us. I called the number on the letter and was told that the account was current. Ok, then why did I get the letter? The guy on the phone was not sure why we got the letter but was really nice and did a little deeper investigation. Here is what he found out – hold on to your hats…

In November, Macy’s sent us notification that their credit card was now going to be American Express (or so we surmised from what they sent us). We thought, ok – this works for us. We had a Macy’s card and wanted to continue having one. And with the bonus of it being an American Express card, we would now have a credit card can we could use at Costco. What the customer service rep. said to me was that Macy’s was not discontinuing their in-house card program in lieu of the American Express card, it was merely offering The American Express card to current customers with no annual fee. But wait, it gets better. What he said was, if you choose to use the Macy’s American Express card outside of the store, you get a Macy’s American Express card bill. If you use that SAME Macy’s American Express card but purchase something in a Macy’s store, you get a separate bill because that charge is assigned to the Macy’s program. If you are scratching your head, join the club. I repeated this back to him three times, and each time he said yes – that charges are assigned differently from the SAME CARD depending upon whether you use the card in a Macy’s store or outside of a Macy’s store.

Needless to say, with a system as clear as this, I made a payment to the wrong bill and that accounted for the collection notice from Macy’s. I had one bill in arrears, and the other bill (from the SAME CARD) with a credit.  Long story short, it is all straightened out now. Our mistake was in assuming that this would be a clear process with one bill. I guess that is just too much to ask for.

When You Can’t Find Anything Nice To Say…

Why is it that people constantly seek affirmation from others – and normally the ones who do it the most are the ones that need a personal overhaul the most. Why would anyone put someone on the spot ask them “what do you like most about me?”  Do you really want to know?  Maybe what I like most about you is that I don’t have to see you on a day-to-day basis. Maybe I like the fact that what goes around comes around and it has finally come back around to you. Maybe I like the fact I don’t have to listen to your insipid whining. Or maybe I like the fact that I really don’t know you that well and so I am struggling to find anything that I can say that is positive.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many people that I love that I would cherish the opportunity to tell them what I most like about them. I could probably rattle off a million reasons in two seconds. But they never ask me. I think they are secure enough in our relationship to know that I care, that I love them and that they mean the world to me. So, the next time anyone asks you what you like about them the most, if you struggle to give an answer, don’t take the time to reply. Better yet, maybe a heart-to-heart about what has been bugging you the most about them is more in order.  Just a thought…

And Another One Bites The Dust…

Why is it that we all willingly fall prey to planned obsolescence with our technology tools? I’ve had this HP Photosmart printer since 2005 – have loved this machine. It prints, faxes, scan copies and would probably bring in the morning paper if I programmed it to do so. The past few days my technology workhorse has decided that it would no longer copy or scan, and if it prints something, it comes out in the smallest of font that even an electron microscope could not read it. So, I did all of the diagnostics recommended in the manual and then I called HP.

Jessica my customer service rep was very nice and very politely informed me that my model printer made in 2005 is now obsolete. To HP that means that it no longer manufactures parts to repair the printer and no longer authorizes its licensed repair centers to do repairs on the machine. So, HP has literally wiped its hands of my printer. Ok, I guess I get that. After all the printer is six years old, a dinosaur by technology standards. So I decided to try plan B – find an independent repair place to get the printer serviced. Then I find out that HP will only license independent repair shops to work on certain things – so some can only service large office printers and some can actually service the small home office ones. You have to call around to find out who can work on what.

I found someone nearby who actually could work on my printer – the catch: $95/hour for labor plus parts. And of course (and I do get this, I really do), they have to do diagnostics on the printer first so that they can give you an estimate of what the repairs would cost.  And, such a deal, if they do the diagnostics and you decide not to go ahead with the repairs, they will only charge you $65.  If you look online, printers can be purchased rather cheaply and technology that was expensive five years ago is now actually pretty affordable. You can get a decent new printer for anywhere from $100 – $200. So why would you want to pay a third or more of the price of a new one to repair a dinosaur that might break down again in a year. By that time, you can invest as much if not more than the price of a new printer.

So, long story short, I am in the market for a new printer. And although I always love to get some newer technology, I wonder why we all support a system that has us all imprisoned in obsolescence that appears to get shorter and shorter every day?