Random Saturdays – Shoes

Man, I have got some crazy Asian monkey feet.  I mean, it’s ridiculous.  I see other women just buy whatever shoes they like as long as they fit.  I see people complain about how hard it is to buy shoes, but then they buy a new pair of shoes at least once a month or so.  Once I find shoes that fit and are affordable and/or fit other criteria on my list, I immediately start searching for more because by the time I find another pair, the pair I just bought will be worn out completely.

I have shoes for work, house shoes, and non-work shoes.  I have one main pair of each and usually additional pairs that hurt my feet and/or were ruined, but I can’t get rid of because I feel guilty for not wearing them until they have holes and are completely unwearable.  Between November 2013 and March 2014, I had switched from warm weather work shoes to cold weather work shoes and back again.  Apparently, my feet changed during the winter so that the comfy warm weather shoes that I found for work last year after looking for new shoes for a year, felt like a torture chamber on my feet in March.  I wore the $12 Converse One Stars that I got from Target in 2013 to Paris in December 2013.  They got very wet in the rain and, apparently, changed their shape, causing my feet much pain.

So, in March, I started looking for shoes.  I found some work shoes right away and was very excited.  After a couple of weeks, the strap on one shoe broke and the strap on the other shoe threatened to snap off at any moment.  I returned them and got some Sketchers for around $35.  I’ve seen old ladies wearing them, but I’m no fashionista;  I don’t care if I dress like an old lady if my feet feel good.  I also got a pair of Dr. Scholl’s shoes for $15, thinking they would be a good pair of work shoes.  They were comfy until I wore them for a few hours and they started scraping the back of my ankles.  I still wear them, but I have to put bandages on my ankles.  Because they leave my ankles tender, I have to wear bandages when I wear other flats as well.  It’s fun.

In less than two months, the Sketchers fell apart.

I was very sad.  I started looking for shoes that day, but had no luck and got a bit upset over my ugly feet and being poor and stuff.  The next day, I went to TJ Maxx on my lunch hour to look for shoes and lucked into a pair of cushiony sandals with no back and adjustable top straps and a pair of Jeep shoes. (Yeah, they make shoes. Who knew?)  The total cost – $70 with tax.  For me, that’s alot of money to spend on shoes, but I figured that I was lucky to find two pairs of shoes in one day.  If I end up not needing to take either of them back, the money was well spent.  If I do need to take one, or both, pairs back, then, well, at least I’ll have a refund or store credit.  Plus, if those shoes keep me from having to walk around a bunch of stores on my bandaged crazy Asian monkey feet looking for new shoes for a year, then it will have been worth like, five or ten dollars more.

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Random Saturdays – Facebook Rules

I always forget that I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t pay attention to Facebook.  I’m on Facebook.  I check in once a week or so to see how things are going with people – see what their kids wore that day, what people ate that day, and see how many people started their updates with, “You know you’re a [fill in the blank] when you [insert something that half the world does, but you have somehow convinced yourself that it makes you different anyhow.]

I mean, you know, it’s just how we keep in touch with each other nowadays.  More often than not, I get frustrated with Facebook, itself, and can’t look at it for more than a few minutes at a time.  I don’t like the way it’s organized, how crappy the auto refresh is, all the ads, all the different streams of every activity that anyone does on Facebook at any given time, the multiple ways to post and chat with people on all of the tabs, etc.  It’s just overkill for me.  I check in once a week or so, and then move on with my life.

So, imagine my surprise when people started asking about my relationship status.  I didn’t realize that people really paid attention to that type of stuff.  I mean, it’s Facebook.  I didn’t send anyone wedding invitations.  I just clicked a box on a website that may or may not have had a heart near it (don’t remember, not going to double check).  That same week, the government shutdown ended, there was another school shooting, and a 7.3 earthquake hit near Japan.  All I heard from people was, “So, you changed your relationship status on Facebook!”

I mean, you know, that’s fine.  It’s nice that people care.  I just didn’t think they would, and I don’t understand why they do.  Erica told me, “Nothing’s official until it’s on Facebook!”  I’ve been trying to figure out whether that is true or not.  Based on my experience these past couple weeks, it sure seems true.  I don’t think that I’m comfortable with that, either.  I’m not anti-social media, of course.  I just think of Facebook as a dumping site for everyone’s streams of consciousness.  It’s loaded with so much from so many people, that not much on there is really important.  I can’t say the same for, as an example, Twitter because it has been used to start revolutions, for crying out loud.  Also, nobody gets mad at you if you miss her tweet on Twitter.  My feelings for Facebook are similar to how I felt when OK Cupid switched from a cool site where users took fun quizzes to a dating site.  The biggest difference is that Facebook is the only way I have to communicate with a large part of my family and some of my friends.  So, like it or not, I am tied to Facebook until something better comes along for all of us to fervently adopt.

If anything, I have learned that Facebook really matters to people far more than I thought it did, and more importantly, they pay attention to what I post on there.  So, I’ll probably start editing myself even more than I already do.  Or not.  I’m lazy.

Random Saturdays – Dallas Road Trip Oh Thirteen, pt 2

In case you missed it, here is Part 1 of Dallas Road Trip Oh Thirteen.

On the last day of the Road Trip, we tried White Rock Coffee.  Growing up in Dallas, we have always wanted to try it, but just never got around to it.  If you can get over the crazy parking lot, it’s a really cool place with good food and good coffee.  The reviews online say that it’s so much better than Starbucks, but I gotta be honest and say that I think it’s exactly on par with Starbucks.  The prices are also similar, but White Rock Coffee isn’t a big chain, so going there is a good way to support a small local business.

When we finished there, we had to get gas before driving around to look for some older Dallas High Schools.  We drove by a Public Storage and Amanda said, “Look, Angela, all of our RV parking problems are solved!”  There was a line of RVs parked at the back of Public Storage, and for whatever reason, we started laughing hysterically.  When we got to the QT at the end of the block, we pulled up at the gas pump behind this vehicle:

Frequent Stops and Backing

So much backing, so little time

This did nothing to quiet down our laughing fit.  After we got gas, we headed back up the street and I suggested that Amanda drop me off so that I could walk up to Public Storage to get a good picture.  Then, she could pick me up when I was done.  She joked about how her picking me up by the side of the road was a recurring thing this Road Trip.  Our efforts were worth it, though, because I was able to send this gem of a tweet:

I don’t think I ever explained “TBD” on here.  On the Saturday morning after Amanda and I tried to get drunk, but just went through perimenopause, we went to Einstein Bros for bagels and coffee.  While there, we got on the topic of her $45,000 goal again, and began discussing her options for promotions at work vs. looking for another job.  Amanda works on commission and said, “I make, I mean, I don’t know how this year will go with all the changes, it’s to be dete– TBD! TBD!  I make TBD!”  So, of course, we now take every opportunity we get to say, “TBD”.

Once we were all gassed up (heh, heh), we went by the Maya Angelou High School.  Then, we went to see some schools in Oak Cliff and South Dallas, some of which we forgot existed.  When we neared the VA Hospital, we started joking about how we’d be hot commodities in there since we’re young(ish), have jobs, and are relatively healthy.  Then, we came across the Barak Obama Male Leadership Academy, which neither of us had ever heard of before.  Reading up on it, the school is pretty impressive and is definitely in a part of town that really needs this type of empowering education for young boys.

We headed back towards Amanda’s part of town and decided to try Cafe Mexicano.  The bar area stunk like stagnant water, but the rest of the restaurant was fine.  We sat in an area with a bunch of piñatas hanging from the ceiling.  It was about 3 pm on a Tuesday, so the place was dead, which made us feel like the piñatas were hung up to celebrate our presence.

When we finished lunch, we headed across the street for Gigi’s Cupcakes.  We both got chocolate salted caramel cupcakes that we ate there, and I got a wedding cake cupcake to go.  As you may or may not know, wedding cake is not the same as regular cake.  It’s special, and you only get it at weddings.  So, if I see something wedding cake-flavored, I’ve gotta try it.  We were disappointed in the chocolate salted caramel cupcakes.  I love frosting and the salt offset the sweetness a bit, but there was just too much of the sickeningly sweet frosting.  Since we were standing up and eating the cupcakes without utensils, it was difficult to get to the cake itself, which was moist, chocolatey, and filled with caramel.  It was an okay cupcake, but too damn sweet.  I had the wedding cake cupcake later and it was much better.  The frosting had just a hint of sweetness and the cake was rich in texture, but not too dense.  After the cupcakes, Amanda and I headed back to her place to end our Road Trip with a movie marathon of Dune (man, I just could not get into that movie), Madea Gets a Job (funny and true), and Madea Goes To Jail (which we actually ended up watching the following weekend and I forgot that I had already seen it anyway.)

We both had to work the next day.  When I got off work on Wednesday, there was a pretty sunset.  Since we kept joking about missing the sunsets on our Road Trip, I took a picture and texted it to Amanda.

Return to Work Sunset

“I am seeing the sunset.”

She texted back:

Drive-Thru Sunset

“Nothing like the day after vacation.”

Random Saturdays – Shameful @TWC

When I moved into my last apartment, I was told that I had to go through Time Warner Cable for phone, internet, and cable.  The surrounding area is actually Verizon FiOS territory, so I’m not sure how TWC grabbed hold onto this specific apartment complex.  As long as I have reliable internet service, I don’t really care who provides it.  Even though TWC is a bit more expensive than other providers, if it’s the only choice, then what’s a gal to do?

It took awhile to get my service going, not sure why.  The last guy that came out said it was because I had a Mac.  I assume it was because he was a moron.  After resetting my network password, he suggested that I get a PC because I would probably always have problems with the internet on a Mac because the thing just seemed to be refusing to connect to the WiFi.  I suggested that he try selecting a WiFi network for my iMac to use before I throw it away and get a new computer.  “Oh, yeah, I forgot you have to do that.”  Well, I’m glad they sent someone so competent to set up my plug-and-play internet service.

After that, I didn’t have many internet problems, other than the outages that affected the entire complex.  Since the outages didn’t seem to last more than few hours at a time, workers were always onsite to fix things ASAP, and it was usually on days when I wasn’t home, I didn’t put up much of a stink.  What are you gonna do?

Then, I got a notice that I needed to bring my modem and router into one of the TWC locations because they found a big security issue with it.  I exchanged my modem and router for a combo modem/WiFi router.  A few months later, I started having to regularly reboot the modem.  First, it was every month, then week, then few days, then multiple times a day.  I’d call and get a message that there was an outage in my area, no need to report the issue, and the robot voice would hang up on me.  When I still didn’t have service after the outage ended, I’d get to talk to living people, who would tell me a bunch of stuff that I already knew (“Your modem isn’t working as it should.  Have you rebooted it?”)

I made  an appointment for a technician to come out, but got calls every hour the day before and day of my appointment asking me if I still needed my appointment because some work was recently done in my area, and that work might have fixed my problem.  If I tried to cancel the appointment, the robot voice would hang up on me.  If I tried to confirm the appointment, the robot voice would hang up on me.  I eventually made an appointment and stuck to it, even though I was discouraged by a live person and robot voice alike to cancel it many times.  They also reminded me that they were doing me a favor by setting up the appointment because I had cancelled the last one.  The worst part of all this is that every time I had to make a call to report a service disruption, I was given the opportunity as a member in good standing to upgrade my services.  This made me so mad that I couldn’t type.

What kind of company makes its tech support act as sales?  I mean, it’s funny when Vince Vaughn wants to sell things rather than fix things in The Internship, but A) that’s a movie and B) I never talked to Vince Vaughn.  After all of that phone tag with Time Warner Cable, I finally got a technician to check out the modem in person and tell me that it was actually some issue with the box on the outside of my building.  Someone else came and dealt with the box.  Things were okay, but I still called AT&T to set up service at my new apartment complex. (My new complex has a contract with TWC, but AT&T said they could use the phone line for my internet service.)

@TWC_Unhelpful

@TWC_Unhelpful

I started to feel bad about the whole thing.  I often complained about TWC on Twitter and @TWC_Help was always very responsive, yet useless.  The people tweeting were always very polite, though, which I appreciate.  Plus, I know it was annoying to be charged an extra “WiFi” fee starting the very same month that I basically had no internet service, but maybe I wasn’t being very understanding of the added cost of Time Warner Cable fixing all of my outages.  Even though I know other TWC customers in different parts of town who had been having the same issues, and even though it took so much time to finally get my issue addressed, and even though I kept getting follow-up calls trying to sell me more expensive services, I felt bad for switching to AT&T.  All of that mess was behind me and TWC, right?

Less than a month after the technicians fixed the issue, I started experiencing service interruptions again.  I haven’t called because I’m exhausted and don’t want to bother with it.  I’ll just pay AT&T the extra money for lower broadband and a monthly usage cap at my new place if it means reliable service and not having to deal with TWC.  I’ll let everyone know if AT&T works out well for me.