Tag Archives: consumerism

The rain in Spain

Fellow humans, I am living proof that all it takes is one rainy day to undo a month’s work of feeling pretty spiffy! I should just live in a gro-light.

Instead, I live in a place where someone parks lengthwise across three parking spots, one of them being mine! I live in a place with a husband who snores and refuses to get his sleep apnea mask properly fitted to render it comfortable enough to wear and thus stop the snoring. I live in a place with a small child who pitches an unholy fit about sleeping in her special big girl bed, preferring to climb on top of me at 2 AM and 4 AM. I heard tell that at 4 AM, I actually snarled “You and your waking up and you and your snoring! I hate you all!” before jamming a pillow over my head and crying myself back to sleep. Or I don’t know what I really did, because I don’t remember even saying this. Someone claims I said this. Maybe someone is lying. Maybe someone is delusional due to oxygen deprivation from extreme sleep apnea.

The small child had a fit at the library this morning. Last time she assaulted the sign language bear, and this time she wept 10,000 tears when transparent scarf time ended. I am enjoying a fine cocktail of “Am I horrid parent, or is there something legitimately wrong with her?” This cocktail is a multivitamin and a glass of water and empty promises that someone is going to bring me back lunch soon.

While at the library, I overheard one lump of a woman say “Oh, I never know what to order at Starbucks. Everything on the menu is different.” Starbucks should take a memo and introduce a menu with only one thing on it. Or 30 things with the exact same name and constitution. The other lump who was the target of this declaration replied “Lattes! I love lattes! Get a latte!” And then I wept 10,000 tears, and I fell on the ground and kicked my legs in the air until a janitor came and removed me. That exchange, plus the fact that the LOL, MA newspaper, the Lowell Sun (motto: “We never spellcheck, and we call hot dog restaurants gourmet”), reports that a new wine and cheese shop called “Cest wine, Say Cheese” [sic] is opening, causes me to fling myself on the bed like a be-kneesocked school girl and scream “Get me out of this god-forsaken town!” Can’t you see that I am destined for bigger things? I’m packing my bag and heading to the bus station right now, like Axl Rose in the “Welcome to the Jungle” video. You’ll never take me alive, LOL, MA.

Clinging tenaciously to my buttocks

Darlinks, medicine I have had nothing to write. I have been experiencing excellent customer service, and thus reeling in shock. Why, I got a letter from Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and they said “WE WILL NOT PAY! NOOOOOO!” And I said “Surely this is but a minor misunderstanding, for I always operate within policy,” and I called and said “Surely this is but a minor misunderstanding,” and they put me on hold for 30 seconds while I listened to their selection of “Everbody Have Fun Tonight.” Then the representative came back on the line and said “You are absolutely correct! This is our mistake, and we will reprocess the claim on our end. You need do nothing further but prop up your feet and book a massage. Here is my name, direct line, and confirmation number. Have a pleasant day.”

So then I died of joy, and I will probably have to call them again about the whopping bill I will receive from my ybab for use of a defibrillator to revive me. Only it was more like a few fridge magnets and a rolling pin that she used, so I am NOT paying for that.

Right now, on this blessed leap day, ybab is feeling poorly. She has come down with some sort of rhinovirus owing to her father placing her in that filth-encrusted plastic racecar shopping cart. Why, did you know, he did not wipe it down with carbolic acid, nor did he steam clean and Simonize her upon returning home? I publicly shame and renounce him!

And double renouncing for even putting her in that hellish chariot in the first place, because now she will accept no substitutes. There is nothing quite like getting a dirty look from an enormous woman (who probably drives an enormous SUV and routinely straddles two lines on the public thoroughfares) because one cannot maneuver past the onions quickly enough for her liking when one is pushing a disease-riddled Sherman tank of infant entertainment. One thinks “My life has come to this.” One moves on, stiff upper lip. One gives up and weeps openly as the wheels of the beast get stuck on the freezer case for the sixteenth time. My willowy arms are simply not powerful enough!

Holiday Gift Guide!!!!!!!

For my Christmas miracle, I am getting the bathroom professionally painted. Our painter looks kind of like Perez Hilton, and it is super tempting to ask if Britney is really preggerz or not!!!!!

WHAT I WANT: someone to READ MY MIND and pick the perfect thing for me, just like I would. Since I am totally proactive, I ordered myself a book from Amazon while I purchased things for my nieces and nephews.

However, I could not read the mind of Amazon.com and know that the 1-click default shipping address is not the same as the default address book address for Stone Age Slow Checkout. “Turn on 1-click,” the button said, so I obediently did, and then I 1-clicked a few times, and then I got some emails today to let me know my order was winging its way to my address from two years ago. Oops. I suppose this is all my own fault for not being a proper steward of my address book and being ever mindful of the awesome power of 1-click, but you’d think the 1-click elves might have noticed the address in that profile is different from the one where I have received eleventy jillion other orders. I ask too much, I know.

So I called Amazon and confused poor Nigel in the customer service holding pen. It sounded like it just might be in India. “Well, who lives there now,” he asked, when I told him the order was accidentally going to an old address. “Not me, and that is my problem.” He was able to re-route things with UPS after thirty agonizing minutes, but for another part of the order, I had to contact that “Amazon Partner.”

It turned out the consenting adult partner had shipped it via the regular post. They suggested I return the one going to the wrong address and order a different one. Since I can’t return something destined to remain out of my physical custody, I then made a bizarre series of phone calls to the USPS 800 number, my local post office, and the local delivery center. “Oh, you’ll need a supervisah, honey.” Luckily, I was put through to a saint named Wayne, and Wayne was able to flag the tracking number so it will be rerouted when it scans in to the delivery center. And moreover, he has a close friendship with both the carrier for my former route and the carrier for my current route. He also has friends who live in my building, so he is intimately aware of the location. Bless us all, Tiny Tim! I think I may get the $12 spy pen for my nephew after all. Lead poisoning ahoy! That was certainly worth an hour of my life. I am sending Wayne a bag of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. I will walk it over myself.


Life in these outrageous states

Indignity watch: I receive THREE copies of a really boring promotional magazine from my insurance company, sovaldi sale all addressed to the same name. There is no contact information for cancelling this to be found on the magazine, on the Web site, or via their 800 number. I am about to write a letter addressed to Snoopy and hope that works. Also, I have a cold. This is a separate problem.

UPS: I WAS HOME AT 10:24 THIS MORNING. Do not make a fool of me. I thought we were friends!

A few weeks ago at the grocery store, a man nearly knocked me over to get to the dairy case. He pumped his fist, half-whispered “YES!” and reached in and grabbed an egg nog.

I write Andy Rooney’s best stuff

OMG! Target double-charged me for something, and I did not notice. This is what I get for being so super rich that I do not care what things cost. Er, this is what I get for shopping with a Tasmanian devil and blindly clawing at the “AMT OK” button. So I was all bitches, give me back my $40, and we played a round of “Well, where’s the item you are returning?” Not returning, there is nothing to return (how EXISTENTIAL). I am keeping the one thing I did want. It is at my house kthx. “Well, why didn’t you bring it in?” Why, indeed, when I am keeping it. So they were all “Oh we do not believe you. This is clearly an elaborate ruse to defraud us out of $39.99 so you can go buy crack.” At last the sullen millenial or whatever we call college students now allowed that the security guy was back from lunch and could review the tape of the transaction. That $39.99 went right back on my titanium card. You better believe it. YOU KIDS TODAY.

Then I got my new glasses prescription filled, and everyone in the world got 22% less attractive now that I can actually see. Oh no!

I also bought a turtleneck.

I had a surprisingly good experience with Verizon Wireless the other day. I called, someone answered, and changed the thing I wanted changed. How pleasant! And unlike the rest of Verizon. I didn’t even have to shout “HUMAN! HUMAN!” at the automated system.

I lost a sippy cup at airport security because it contained water instead of the allowed juice. Oh, the ethical dilemma! I “declared” my cup as suggested, but then when asked what was in it, I forgot to could not tell a lie and admitted it was water. I asked if they could dump the water for me, and they said they could not open containers because a container might contain something hazardous to a screener. Fair enough, but then how on earth can you enforce the juice rule if you never see what’s in the cup? If I said “This kerosene jug is juice for my ybab,” they would take me at my word? They gave me the option to take my bags, ybab, and the friendly sky cap sherpaing the carseat back through security to empty the cup myself, and I said “Oh no, you keep it! I insist. Look, it has a ladybug on it!” And then they dumped the potentially hazardous material in a trash can six inches away from the screener. Oh well, consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, and there are nothing but big thinkers at the Department of Homeland Security. Also: no one asked to see i.d. for my ybab. Note to evildoers: free pass if you are under 36 inches tall!

MarthaStewart.com ruined my dinner by not seamlessly porting over all my recipe bookmarks after their redesign. I tried making “This page no longer exists. You will be redirected to the home page in ten seconds,” and it totally sucked. Mr. H felt I used to maybe put in milk before I put in the oven, but neither of us could really remember. I’d complain about this, but they still provide no discernible way to reach a human. What really gets me is that I bet the Web staff sit around in meetings patting each other on the back about how they have a 100% decrease in Web site complaints. I am going to disconnect my phone and email addresses to achieve the same goal!

I am sure many other taxing things have recently happened to me, and I will be sure to return and recount them in detail as painful as the initial experience. Caring is sharing! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go invest in gold and trip a skateboarder.

If the plant you wish to flee, go to sector 7G

As if Casa Vomitola has not already been in enough of a state of anomie lately, I got an email from Martha Stewart that was all “HEY LET’S PUT SOME GLITTER ON SOME PUMPKINS AND CALL IT A DAY.” This cannot be up with put, so I decided to resign from this uncomfortable communication once and for all. I am not sure how I got on this list in the first place. It probably had something to do with our wedding years ago, or perhaps it’s someone’s idea of a joke. Periodically, I open the Martha emails to find I can do something new with pork, or hot glue gun silver almond dragées to my baby or a turkey or something, but mostly I’ve been blithely deleting them.

When I clicked “unsubscribe,” I was taken to the following screen dominated with a Mao-like Martha, her smile cleverly applied in post-production. This screen told me to LOG IN TO MY ACCOUNT instead of just having one of the monkeys burn my email address in the database like every other unsubscribe function.

Oh hey, seems I don’t have an account, or at least they can’t seem to send me a password at the email address they regularly spam. Yes, I checked my junk box. So I must CREATE A LOGIN , giving them more information in order to get them to stop talking to me. The more I ignore you, the closer you get, Martha Stewart!

I dutifully filled out an account using plenty of raving in the form fields, and I finally was allowed to tick off “Do not send me anything ever.” But today I see that I am not actually free! Martha wants me to do something else with pumpkins. WHAT? Didn’t we already have this conversation? I am not going to go out with you just because you liked me first! We have standards here. I clicked “unsubscribe” again, only to be taken to this lovely unstyled Vignette error page:

(Note my username)

Apparently my rejection has caused the website to be so depressed that it simply can’t get out of bed. I decided that in the name of usability (theoretically how I earn a living) and all that is holy, I’d send the previously featured screen shots to MSLO customer service to help, but when I clicked on “Contact Us” I found that while I could get plenty of info on paint samples, anyone having an actual issue with the website gets a five or six question FAQ on downloading clip art instead of the means to actually submit a trouble ticket of any sort. That’s not the Martha I know! The Martha I know cares about every little sparrow and pixel. The Martha I know would print off my desperate email with ink she made herself, trim a lovely Scherenschnitte pattern into the margin, and dispatch a hand-raised snow white dove to my house to tell me it is sorry in original song!

But I did find the answer to one of my questions in the FAQ: It takes up to three weeks to be unsubscribed from the mailing list. Because I guess the SQL statement has to go out to the calligrapher.

In short, I feel overreaction is a mainstay of comedy! Don’t make me explain a joke, people. But srsly, this is wretched usability and a total disconnect from the public face of the brand. Or perhaps I am just taking it out on poor Martha because I have already spent this week dealing with the RMV, investment companies, actual criminals, a rogue play group, a no-sleep recidivist, insurance companies, and more. At least I did not walk five miles past lions or snipers to carry my groceries home, right? And nothing’s on fire. Yet.


So I took my new H2 to get detailed yesterday. I woke up with a start upon realizing that finger prints from the sales staff potentially lingered, and that simply won’t do. My detailing place staff wears gloves made from the skin of infant eels, as well they should. On a whim, I also decided to have the engine parts system converted so it can run on human blood. It has to be premium blood, but I am sure it will be worth it in cost savings and environmental benefit. I also remembered to stick my “Don’t blame me, i voted for Bush!” sticker on the rear armor panel. That new assault vehicle smell! Nothing like it.

Speaking of nothing, there is nothing in my inbox because I read Getting Things Done. I decided that system was too hard, so I am implementing my own system, Takin’ Care of Business. It is so great! Now I delete everything without even reading it. I also repurposed my paper shredder as an in-box for paper mail, and I bought an automatic labeler. Everything around the house is conveniently labeled “MINE!!!!” or “MiNe SuCkErS!!11” I am, in fact, achieving a state of pure bliss.

With optional trunk liner, but since you are a pig, you will need it

Yesterday saw the Vomitola-Mr. H family inexplicably oafing into a decision, as is our custom. We went out to look at cars since our lease was up in a few weeks, and we came home with something without spiders living in the side mirrors. Our salesperson basically threw himself on the ground and grabbed our ankles and refused to let us leave, and we were swayed by not having to take our filthy old car to get detailed and a lease end inspection. A. Ybab picked all the raisins out of a cookie and pasted them all over the backseat just the day before.

We easily picked out a car, which went something like “This one has wheels. Ooh, grey? Hey, I like grey. The colorblind can enjoy it too.” Then the tedious negotiations started. My father fancies himself a car negotiator, and he will walk in and say “I will pay you no more than $10,000 for a car!” and they will say “OK, you can have this one with windows that don’t even open,” and he will say “Sold.” Or he will walk out in a huff and sulk for days. Living with the insane is delightfully unpredictable. I prefer the Socratic approach.

“Here’s our best offer,” says The Hair.

“Do you feel that I appear mentally challenged, or as some of the less couth among us might say, retarded?”

“Well, it’s a great car, you really like it. I want to put you in the car you love.”

“Actually, I like far cheaper cars too! Do you like Hyundais?”

“OK, what if I could do….THIS [underlines number with flourish]?”

“What if you could fly?”

“Well, how about….THIS?”

“Do you like your life?”

In the meantime, Mr. H sits off to the side and looks disapproving and says things like “I’d really like to sleep on this. We should go.” Then we finally arrived at a number ten squillion dollars lower than the original price and lower than what I was prepared to pay anyway. Of course “the other guy” had to come out and “remember” the special incentive I asked for twenty minutes earlier. We are starving and dehydrated at this point, and A. Ybab has befouled her unmentionables. “Fine, make it all go away,” we wailed.

Then we came home and obsessively used the internet to determine that we could have spent $4 less at a dealership in Tulsa. Blast! Do you like your life?

Unprofessional painting

If me of now went back in time to warn me of five years ago that future/current me would be covered in flecking blue paint (Martha Stewart Surf 286) and honey-mustard sauce, me would not believe me! But it is all true. Me has no idea how me’s life turned out this way.

A few days ago, I had a few glasses of wine (with dinner, not at 10AM, although heaven knows…) and decided to start painting the bathroom a different shade of blue. I have good ideas all the time! I can’t even tell you how frequently. I have a whole folder on my desktop called “GOOD IDEAS!!!!!” My bathroom is 50% old blue and 50% new blue now, and I may work on it one hour per night for the rest of my life. Because either I get some paint in my hair, or someone wakes up and starts screaming, or a cat wants to come in because the door is closed, or maybe the fumes just become too much and I wake up on the floor the next morning even dumber.

After the bathroom is painted, I will have to tear the “shelving system” out of the linen closet. That means I will have to put better shelves in. I can’t just leave things in a heap in the bottom of the closet, much as I wouldn’t mind. It’s hard to find shelves. At IKEA, they expect you to cut them to the length you desire, like, with a saw or the power of your mind or something, so all their shelves are eighteen feet long. No. The Container Store has a sale on shelving, and that’s great, but everything is sold in systems, and I, a professional internet user, can’t figure out how to find JUST SHELVES. Single shelves of the correct length. In desperation, I typed in “http://ijustwanttobuysomefuckingshelves.com/” and crossed my fingers, but no luck there. Where do you get shelves, good people of the internet? I am hoping my own Google ads will tell me.

Local color report:
Lowell High School is back in session. Before we set out on our nightly trek for takeout, the phone rang: a “PRIVATE CALL” according to the display.

“Bee dee booop,” said the caller, voice breaking with hysterical giggling.


“I’m sorry, your penis did not go through!” The caller then died from laughter and somehow managed to slam the phone down in a dying act of valor.

Once downtown, a roving pack of teenagers conspiratorially made the aside “PENIS!” to us as we passed. Then we passed Marty Meehan over by the Masonic Temple. He was going to hassle us about voting when a young voice shrieked “I like penis!” out a screened window from the housing project across the street. We continued on, not stopping to vote in the primary because we had already seen Niki Tsongas having a victory dinner two streets over at the one nice restaurant in town, oblivious to the penis crisis in the streets. If she isn’t in touch with the penis issue, she does not need my support.

“If we were actually insane,” I remarked to Mr. H, “we’d assume people were only saying penis to us!” One never knows.

How I got covered in honey-mustard is another boring story for another time.

Farm Fresh

On my last smash n’ grab at the grocery store, I ended up with a bag of chips with some sort of winsome farm scene and a proclamation about vegetables on the bag. They were in the organic section, so I didn’t even read the label. I am a trusting consumer. And my version of Supermarket Sweep includes crying if not completed fast enough, so there you go.

Last night, Mr. H read the bag. There is nothing organic in the bag. The chips have never been to a farm. In fact, the brand is a sham brand belonging to Frito-Lay. On second tasting, the chips taste exactly like Doritos.

“These are naturally baked,” said Mr. H.

“Naturally baked?”

“What does that even mean?”

“Left to harden in the sun?”

“I guess Twinkies aren’t naturally baked,” he said thoughtfully. “They just set up, like…ceviche.”

Which brings me to my next point: every time someone on Top Chef makes ceviche, I have to finish the box of wine. You’d think people on a cooking show would be more inclined to apply actual fire to food, but their loss is my liver’s gain.