Friday, March 21, 2014

Week Off

I had the week off and totally enjoyed letting my body find its own timing. Not getting up because an alarm goes off is such a delight! The first few days Bert decided he needed to be my alarm but we got better about that and he just tries to wake me up for a minute (instead of 10 minutes of kitty whining) and settles down again.

We stayed up late watching whatever we wanted and didn't worry about having to get up in the morning. Not to say I don't usually stay up late but its nice to not think about how tired I'll be the next morning!

Bert has always liked Craig Ferguson and will even pet the TV screen but I think Chief has a new bromance started. Chief has recently discovered Jimmy Fallon (thanks to Fallon now being on at an early time). The boys are happy because they don't have to fight over who is going to be on late night - both shows are on different times.

But the boys have been tired because they stay up late watching TV so they end up having to take extra naps. (yeah, that's the real reason and it has nothing to do with the fact that cats sleep 22 hours a day). And- yes- the afghan they're sleeping on is their's and is THAT full of cat hair!


This week has had knitting, quilting, cleaning, dining with friends and watching some quilting shows on the iPad. Seems Bert wanted to watch too. Part way through one of the shows a little head popped up from behind the iPad.


But also getting some business taken care of including getting a new cable box (old one died Sunday) and getting a new garage door opener installed.

Both fix-it guys were very professional, gave me tight time frames that they would be arriving at and actually showed up at that time. They arrived within 30 minutes of each other and left about 5 minutes apart. It couldn't have been an easier situation. Now I've got a new cable box and remote plus he figured out a few other problems on my line I didn't know I had and fixed those. I also ended up buying a better garage door opener than I realized- the installer was impressed with it. It has all sorts of extra features on it. When I open the house door to the garage a sensor turns on the lights and some other cool things. I'm a happy camper.

Now, one work week day left to get a few business things done. It's been a good week! Unfortunately, every time I take a week off and stay home it gets just that much harder to return to work.

Oh - almost forgot. I have the give a shout out to Lean Cuisine. I eat frozen meals because they're easier for a single person and have a defined calorie count But I don't eat too many that I really enjoy the flavor. Most are just acceptable and that's it. However, Lean Cuisine has a pizza that microwaves well and has a great flavor. It's the Wood Fire Style BBQ Recipe Chicken Pizza. They've got some other meals that are pretty good but the pizza really rocks it and its only 340 calories!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

RIP Remote Control

This winter just seems to go on forever and has caused me more than one problem. With it, every little problem seems to be that much bigger. The latest house malfunction is one I've been expecting for a long time but I was hoping I'd make it to spring and deal with it then. Back in about 1852 my Dad bought a garage door opener. Maybe not that long ago but it is definitely headed toward the antique time of life. When I bought the house in 2006 (was it really that long ago!?!) I realized the remote for the opener was on its last legs. The button on the remote was taped on it looking pretty sad. When I checked with a garage door place they said this remote was SO old it couldn't be replaced. This style just wasn't made anymore. I kept it taped and babied it figured some day the opener itself would die and then I'd replace it all.

About a month ago the button started needed extra prodding to get it to signal the opener. I really hoped it would survive till spring but about a week ago the remote died. I took it apart and cleaned it, check the circuit board, changed the battery, did everything I could think of but - that puppy is dead. The opener works fine but  leaping out of the car to run in the house, go into the garage, open the door and then back into the car to drive into the garage while it's -30F wind chill is not a fun thing to do! I can't used the side door of the garage because its so piled up with snow that has settled and really frozen in place so its thru the front door of the house, stomping off the snow before walking across the carpet and dealing with it.

Guess its time for a new opener but I didn't want to make someone install it in the middle of a deep freeze! Now that it looks like were heading toward above freezing weather for a while I can go opener shopping. At least it will be cheaper than paying for 7 years of water in in month!

What all this extra running in and out to go anywhere means is I plan my trips carefully because ti just not convenient (man I'm spoiled! my last house didn't even have a garage!) Back to the story. Because I don't go out at the drop of a hat, I've been doing more around the house. This morning I decided to play with some fabric I bought on a shop hop. It's 5 Christmas fat quarters and I wanted to do something quick so I made a pillow case top to cover one of the couch pillows.

Time to play the ever fun game - What did Jill do Wrong?

I was going for an interwoven ribbon look. Check out the lower right. Everything is in the right place based on my striped order but - because I didn't put the right ribbon going downward on the left and the gold print on the right, the interwoven part of the lower right doesn't look interwove. If I decide to fix this it means ripping out the lower half or the right half of everything so I can switch the order of one of the sets of red/gold ribbons.
It took me a while to notice this but now that I've seen it I have a feeling this will bug me forever unless I fix it. Guess I have some hand work to do - rip-rip-rip.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Snails eating tomatoes

I got some specially treated fabric to be able to print pictures on so I can add some pics of my sister-in-law on a memory quilt for my brother. Because I wasn't sure how the fabric would work I decided to  get help from our receptionist. She has twin 6 year old girls who like to draw. I asked her to get the girls to draw a bright picture each and I was going to "do something with them". Didn't tell them what because surprises are fun!

So they each went into a different room and drew. When I got the pictures they made me laugh. They are bright and fun and oddly the same. Both have a rainbow snail eating a tomato. Butterfly - sun - flowers and, well they're different but you can tell these two little girls think the same. The snails even have the same back end.

So, I took these wonderful pictures and ran them through the scanner and printed them on the special fabric. This fabric from Blumenthal is pretreated and has a paper back. You print as normal, let dry 15 minutes and then rinse in water for 30 seconds to get rid of the extra ink. After that let dry and press. You now have nice quilt weight cotton fabric with a unique design on it.
I made the pillow simple. Just 16x16 squares with an opening in the back to insert a pillow form. Their bedroom is yellow and purple and I wanted the pillow to be similar but not identical so I switched up the colors. They're not in pillow forms yet but even as they are, I think they turned out nice and the girls should be surprised.

One thing I did learn is the printing is not as bright and not quite true to color so I'll have to remember that when I get ready to print for my sister-in-law's memory quilt.
Now they can quit asking their Mom EVERY NIGHT when they get their surprise!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Tale of Two McDonalds

This is a tale of customer service good and customer service bad. I pay attention to customer service for two reasons. First, I'm a customer and I matter. I decide where to spend my money and part of the decision is customer service. If someone has something I want but they have terrible service I go somewhere else. If someone has great service I will go out of the way to go there again. Second, part of my job is teaching all our new hires which includes teaching our company's philosophy on customer service. I want to be sure our people get a good start in their careers with our company and I will use stories like the following as an example of good and bad.

So, here's the story.
McDonalds #1. The McDonalds near my house used to get my business frequently in the morning as I'd drive thru and get a sandwich and large ice tea. But they started charging more for the tea and sandwiches then other McDs and made frequent mistakes so I quit going there and sent an email to corporate letting them know I felt the drive thru service was lacking. After a while I decided to give them a try again and it was OK for a while then mistakes started happening again. Yesterday I ordered the bagel with bacon,egg,cheese to treat myself. It's the more expensive sandwich. I should note I don't get their sausage ever because its greasy and salty and doesn't get along well with my gut. So, back to the story. After I got on the road and part way to work I opened the sandwich to find the least expensive sandwich - an egg mcmuffin with sausage.

So, when I got to work I decided to send a nicely worded email to corporate saying how my service was lacking and I ended up not only paying for the expensive sandwich but got one that I couldn't eat all of (dumped the sausage). I not only wanted to let them know but also (secretly) figured they'd send me a coupon or something to make up for the money I paid them without get what I paid for.

I got a quick "we got your email" response and then today I got an email basically saying they talked to the store immediately and were sorry about my experience, etc but nothing about compensating me for the money I spent without getting what I wanted. No coupon, no nothing. Makes me feel cheated probably because I was!

McDonalds #2. The McDonalds near work. I stop by this one about once a year. I was heading toward a meeting and didn't have time for lunch so I did the drive thru to get ice tea and a wrap to eat in the car on the way. They took a little while (but really not very long) to get the wrap to me and to thank me for being patience gave me a $1.00 coupon for my next visit. Everything was good. The wrap well made and tasty but they wanted me to know that they valued my business and were sorry about the extra 2 minutes it took.

Now - which McDonalds would you rather go to? Customer Service is a really important thing and until people in the service industries really figure this out the only way we can show them is by thanking people for their good service with out business and by telling them we appreciate their hard work.

As for the McDs by my house. They won't be seeing me for quite a while. Why should I pay for something I don't get!