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Archive for August, 2011

A few minutes to blog

August 29th, 2011 at 05:06 pm

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind. As any educator can tell you, the first few weeks of school is wild. There are always things that come up that even if you have things planned, other things have to be done. I spent most of Saturday cleaning so I could work most of Sunday on school work.

Sears update: I guess my calling the national offices and complaining because the local Sears manager didn't call back must have hit a nerve. I spoke with 4 different people. One lady said she oversees the installers and another lady said she was in the corporate office. The first said she would send me a $25 gift card for my trouble with the installer. The other said she would be sending me a letter of apology. Well, both were true to their word. I received the $25 gift card a week later. The next day no letter of apology, but a $50 gift card. Not bad overall, but I don't think I'll ever buy another appliance from Sears. I had to complain about complaining to get any action. And still nothing from the local store...no phone call, letter, or email. DH and are spent the money on exciting, but necessary items like underwear and socks.

I spent a big part of Saturday fixing casseroles for this week. It sure is nice to have them when I come home from work and pop them in the oven. I can make a salad and we have supper.

Guess I better get back to my "homework."

Sears update

August 20th, 2011 at 02:33 pm

My previous blog discussed the fact that I bought the dishwasher from Sears, and the installer dropped the ball. I filled out a survey, then emailed the company. I was given a response of I needed to contact our local store which I did. Two days later, they never called me back (think that might be on purpose?) Anyway, I decided to call the 800 number on the Sears website and I spoke to about 4 different people.

At this point, I'm still not thrilled with Sears. One person thought I was a little unreasonable wanting a gift card for my trouble. I told her if she ever wanted me to shop at Sears, I better get something for the stress and inconvenience. I explained that when the company hires folks who are disrespectful of my time, it makes one think one should go elsewhere. I never once raised my voice or cussed at them or threatened them. The last two ladies apologized for my trouble, and one claimed she would be sending me a $25 gift card in the next 7-10 work days. I'm not holding my breath. Before this she wanted to know why I didn't call my local Sears store back. I explained that I didn't feel I should have to call a second time since I apparently had been "blown off" the first time.

The next night there's a phone call from Sears -- an automated survey on the sale, installation, etc. Let's see, I've filled out a survey on-line, then wrote an email, then called the local store, then called the 800 number and now they want another survey. I hadn't changed my mind. This afternoon there was a phone call wanting to sell me an extended warranty for the dishwasher.

So, I would say Sears needs to work on communication first and foremost since no one else seems to know what anyone is doing at their business.

An Obit

August 17th, 2011 at 07:49 am

This is an obituary that should be published in every newspaper:

Customer Service died after a lengthy, drawn out weakning illness. Service was born soon after a first item was purchased, many years ago. For years Service enjoyed a long life, helping people along the way, bringing happiness to those it touched.

Survivors include Apathy, Ignoring, and Nonexistence. Service was preceded in death by Kindness, Fairness, and Enterprise.

No services are scheduled due to survivors' desire to forget.



Yes, I'm bitter. I had saved up for the dishwasher. We looked at ads. We found one on sale that was the one I wanted. On July 24th we bought it. We were told since they didn't have one at the Sears store, it would be August 12 when they would deliver and install. I wasn't thrilled, but what can one do?

Well, on August 11 I kept expecting a phone call, scheduling the install. No call. We waited around on the 12 and finally by 1:30 on the 12, I called the store. The store rep said he would call the installer and call me back. He did and said the installer would call me back within an hour. An hour and a half later, no phone call. I called the store back, got a different rep who seemed bored and annoyed by the phone call. She did say she would call the rep and she must have because he called back immediately. He said the job slipped by him, but he could deliver and install the next day, on Saturday. I asked him what time and he said 9, no 9:30.

It was after 10:15 when he finally arrived. No apology or anything. Two hours later he left, and did not take the huge box the dishwasher came in.

Of course Sears send a survey before the dishwasher had been delivered. I filled it out and told them my frustration. I then went to the Sears site and filled out an email for "contact us". I did get a response and it was basically a brush off -- contact your local store, they couldn't do anything. I called the local Sears and unfortunately neither the manager or assistant manager could talk to me, so I was to leave a voice mail.

Two days later and I have not heard from them. it has taken something that should have been such a joy -- new dishwasher that I saved and worked extra for -- and made it into a frustration.

So, I believe Customer Service has died. And as for me, I have decided I will no longer shop at Sears.

Friday fridge free-for-all

August 12th, 2011 at 07:54 am

A few blogs ago I discussed using what I had in the fridge to clean it out and not waste food. I had some great suggests from Bonanza Buffet to CORN (Clean out refrigerator night)...all were very creative.

Well, it's that time again. I have leftover turkey and a little broth. I have some cottage cheese and a little fruit salad and a banana and a pear. I have some frozen vegetables I put in a container awhile ago. And some odds and ends of cheeses and some eggs. I think I'm going to make a turkey casserole of sorts with the turkey, broth, cheeses, vegetables and eggs. I think I'll add the pear and almost overripe banana to the fruit salad. And make biscuits with the cheese and some herbs from dh's garden.

I will say that turkey breast was quite a buy. We had it for supper Monday night, had it for lunches twice this week, and now supper tonight.

I made meatloaf Tuesday night and we had the leftovers for sandwiches one day this week and there was still a little bit leftover so I made homemade nachos...I had tortillas and I baked them with salt and olive oil after cutting them up. I sprinkled the leftover meatloaf crumbled and put some cheese on them and nuked them. Not a bad try for homemade and leftover stuff.

It's kind of challenging to come up with meals with what is left over and I have to admit, they are never the same! Plus, I like the idea I'm saving money by not going out nor throwing out stuff.

Gas Prices

August 10th, 2011 at 04:22 pm

Our local gas prices dropped a whole penny overnight. Although oil prices have been going down, our "savings" usually trickles down a penny or two at a time. However, let the news report crude oil barrel prices going up, the hike can be anywhere from 15 to 20 cents a gallon in a matter of hours.

Our local news interviewed some guy at nearby university. He claimed that the reason the prices remain high is because we are using gas made with oil at the older, higher prices, so it takes awhile for the prices to come down. He might be a so called "expert", but my observation skills beg to differ. I have found many of these experts go by what it is supposed to be instead of what really is. Bleah!

Gas prices in Central Illinois range around $3.64...our town is higher than the other two larger towns around us. What are you paying?

Why I'm Not Getting a Walk-in Pantry

August 8th, 2011 at 06:55 am

Everytime I watch Barefoot Contessa I drool.

I am not drooling over the food, although my dh always comments how she invites all her friends over, but never has once invited us.

I am not drooling over her kitchen...I don't have room for a professional range and I certainly don't need a range and a cook top together.

I am not drooling over all her gadgets...I'm running out of room for the stuff I already have.

Which brings me to the reason I drool...her walk in pantry. I'd love a large pantry where I could store food stuffs in an organized manner and have dishes sitting in convenient spots. I'm short, and believe me, getting things from the top shelf of the cabinets can be dangerous!

When we first married and bought our first house, the kitchen was very small. Not tiny, but small. I asked the previous owner where she kept her canned goods and she said in the garage. We bought a cheap kitchen cabinet to put in the kitchen and that's where I kept canned goods. There were some cabinets and since I didn't have a lot of dishes or pots and pans, it was adequate.

Eight years later we bought a different house. The kitchen was larger and it has a pantry. Not a walk-in, but a real pantry. And with all truths, you grow into the space you have. And goodness, my kitchen stuff has grown.

Yesterday I organized the pantry. I could probably do this 4 times a year. I straightened it up and am happy to report that I didn't throw much away. I did put items in different things, but I'm happy to report I'm getting better at keeping on top of expiration dates.

I had organized the area of my spices earlier this week. I did throw out a few things because they were old. I am frustrated with the spice companies, though. So many of them sell larger bottles of things that I don't use that much of and I think it is wasteful. One of the stores I frequent is handling an off brand and the bottles are about 1/4 the size or regular spice bottles. I feel better about buying this instead of wasting so much. There are certain spices I use a lot of, but others...

I figure organizing my pantry and spices saves me money because I'm not buying things I already have, and hopefully not wasting what I do have. I need to be satisfied with what I have which is a serviceable pantry...far better than what I had at the other house. And, although a walk-in pantry is want, it isn't a need. So, we aren't spending the money.

DH says I'm not getting a walk-in pantry...We aren't building on the house and I can't see taking a bathroom or closet to get it. So, I guess I'll just have to drool over Ina's. At least it means that is one less "room" I have to clean!

Sweetheart Allowance

August 7th, 2011 at 12:21 pm

We were watching Suze Orman last night and some gal called in in the "Can I Afford It" segment. This segment is where you tell Suze what you want to buy and she looks at your debts and investments and money and tells you if it is a good idea. Anyway, this gal wanted to buy something and she listed her income and then her sweetheart allowance. Suze asked what that was and she said it was her boyfriend's gift to each month. I looked at dh and asked him how come he hadn't given me a sweetheart allowance when we were dating. We laughed about that. I hadn't ever heard of it. Have you?

Cash, Check, or Charge???

August 6th, 2011 at 08:08 am

Remember when retailers would ask you, cash, check, or charge?

For awhile around here, checks were considered lethal. A lot of places wouldn't consider taking them because they had been burnt with folks writing bad ones. I guess with technology, many are more comfortable because the money can be taken out almost immediately. Which is a good thing for retailers.

My husband has always paid cash for things. It was an issue when we married 21 years ago because he didn't have a credit rating. It made getting a home loan a challenge and we paid a larger interest rate since he had no credit rating although I had a good one. He didn't have a checking account and hated writing checks. He's not thrilled with it now, but since he's retired and does a lot of the shopping, he does write a few more. He did not have a credit card and when we married, I added him to one of mine. He rarely used it, but he's getting a little more comfortable now.

But, that's not to say he or we are spending like fools. If we charge something, it's for the convenience of using the card and then we pay it off when the bill comes.

Since the US' credit rating has been downgraded, lots of business folks are on news programs talking about what it means. One gal said "Cash is king." I know that mantra has been said by many in the past couple of years.

In my own simple thinking, until people realize that they can't buy things if they don't have the cash on hand, our economy is going to struggle. The whole housing fiasco where banks gave loans to folks who really couldn't afford home and no interest and no down payments...why would they think they are responsible for paying if it was so easy?

I know the economic woes extend to more things that this...jobs being a big issue. But, until many folks live within their means and have the cash to cover the checks and charges, we will continue to have problems and we all pay for it in the long run.

Pesto Pork

August 5th, 2011 at 04:56 pm

My dh has a wonderful garden of herbs. A friend of mine gave me a small bucket and basil seeds and I started the seeds last spring. My dh planted the basil plant in the ground and has taken very good care of it. Last week I made some pesto sauce. Well, sort of. I used basil and garlic, Parmesan, and olive oil and some seasonings, but didn't use the nuts. DH doesn't like nuts.

I know I can freeze the stuff, but there was such a small amount, I just had it in the fridge when I thought, why wouldn't that make a good marinade for some pork? So, I used it on both sides as a marinade and then cooked them with that in a dish with a little olive oil and two springs or rosemary (covered) in the toaster oven. It was pretty tasty.

Sad Stock Market Day

August 4th, 2011 at 04:43 pm

My dh was watching the stock market numbers for the last half hour before it closed...dropping almost 513 points...newscasters claimed it was the biggest drop since 2008.

Tomorrow the unemployment numbers come out...I'm wondering if we need to fasten our seatbelt for yet another drop. I hope not, but things are looking grim. We were watching the news and they said veterans who have returned from oversees are coming back and having problems getting jobs. One gal said she has applied for 300 jobs -- she wants to be a chef, but said she'd be happy at a fast food restaurant, just to get a job and her foot in the door.

I hope tomorrow is a better day.

Meat Glue???

August 2nd, 2011 at 07:08 am

A friend emailed me a link about a product that can be used to "glue" cheaper pieces of meat to sell them as pricer cuts. I checked with snopes and truthorfiction and neither had anything except snopes listed a link about it as well. If this is happening, then the meat industry to overcharging and cheating the public.


http://www.dump.com/2011/04/14/meat-glue-secret-video/









Snopes and truthorfiction didn't have any comment, but snopes did send readers to:





http://www.greenprophet.com/2011/03/meat-glue-frankenstein-mea/