Archive for the ‘Do you have the time to listen to me whine?’ Category

To my great sorrow (because I will be leaving a job I like and friends whom I will deeply miss but not because of the location because let’s face it, this place could be a lot better), as of July we will be living elsewhere. We sincerely hope that we will NOT be living in mr webbis’ current location, but I have been forced to accept that there IS a possibility that come August, I will be suffering the heat in a state that begins with L and ends in A and is filled with sadness and lethargy and Swamp People.

If that is indeed so, then this will become “A Bad, Bad Webbis: Life in Hell’s Waiting Room.” And no, I do not exaggerate. I do realize that New Orleans, for example, is a lovely, lively, and culturally rich environment.

That is NOT where we will be living. Not even close in any way.

Much of the state (that has been seen by my very own eyes) is a scary morass of yard trash and dilapidated roadways, crumbling curbs and rapidly-multiplying Wal-Marts (and their accompanying People). It is so culturally confusing to me, and I’m afraid that you have to be born into this mentality in order to flourish here. And by ‘here’ I specifically refer to the unnamed location to which we might be moving.

Please direct all thoughts, spiritual or otherwise, towards a brighter immediate future for us that does not include living in the Deep South.


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The spring that I was in third grade, we went to my maternal grandmother’s house for Easter. We children loved that place — it was an open-plan ranch house in Texas (probably built in the 50s or early 60s) that was surrounded by trees and had a twisty (and dangerous) path down to the lake. My grandparents had a boathouse and a motorboat, and in the summertime the boathouse would fill with Mayflies, which we found incredibly disgusting but which my grandmother loved because they were good fish bait.

[Interestingly, we always referred to it as our grandmother’s house, even though she was married to the only grandfather we knew on that side of the family. My mother’s father died before we were born, and her second husband was pretty awesome, but it’s like the step aspect made him less there somehow…]

We had excellent times during our visits there — my grandfather spent his time buying land, improving it, selling it, and buying more land to improve. My grandmother had to be careful about spending too much time in the sun — I used to think it was skin cancer, but it was lupus. My mother mentioned this casually when I was pregnant with the Monkey; my grandmother would always grill my mother fearfully when my mother was pregnant (4 times) just. in. case.

My grandmother kept boxes of cookies and crackers in the dishwasher so that we could reach them without having to crawl onto a chair, and she kept bottles of Dr. Pepper and Coke in the tiny, explosively hot, spider-filled garage so that you had to risk bodily harm (from tiny, black, harmless spiders or less tiny but still harmless daddy-long-legses) if you wanted a drink. We always risked it because we almost never got sodas at home.

Our older cousins — boys — always had terrific ideas about games involving firecrackers, or green apples, or wagons tearing down the dangerous, twisty, boulder-strewn path down to the lake. My older sister found a diamond engagement ring during a visit there, which she wears to this day. We got to experience that sort of incredible summer freedom that I don’t think is very common anymore, where we would disappear for hours and no one worried that we would be bitten by snakes or drown in the lake or get lost or stolen or molested or anything else that parents over-worry about all over the internet.

So what I’m saying is that almost all of my memories about my grandparents’ house were positive. Let’s go back to that Easter visit when I was in third grade, shall we?

I found out — as my siblings did — that one of the reasons we were in Texas for Easter was because my father was interviewing for a job an hour and a half away. We found out when my father came home late one afternoon, looking pleased, and made the announcement that made me do exactly what this post’s title refers to. I was devastated. Who wants to live in Texas?

Now, if I were a nicer, more generous, more mature individual, I would follow this rhetorical question with stories about how this experience made me grow and affected my life in a positive way and happy things like that.

Well, sorry, but no. It sucked. I got a public-school education that was several notches below the public-school education that I had been getting in the northeast and I spent 3 years having my peers mock my accent and the move set me back socially by several aeons because I was already painfully shy and moving to Texas Hell helped not at all…..

So you see, I was right to have sobbed my wee little heart out that April. I knew what was coming. But what, you may be wondering, has prompted this trip back to the 70s? Well, we’ve been doing a little role playing here chez webbis. The part of my father is played by me, and 8-year-old me is being played by the Monkey (almost 15, though).

At the end of this school year, we will be moving. From one stale hell to a fresh, swampy hell, I’m afraid. mr webbis has put himself on the job market in an attempt to get us back up to the northeast, but in the event that does not happen this hiring cycle we (the Monkey and I) will be heading to Louisiana in July. For permanents, people. Well, for a year, at least.

The Monkey, not surprisingly, does not want to leave her friends. I do not want to leave mine, either. We don’t want to move to this weird place where grammar is tortured and a full set of teeth means you’re genetically fortunate.* I have already had my metaphorical head-table-crying event, but the Monkey’s is being parceled out so that I get to feel like crap about every third day. But really — let’s ALL cry! I am going to yet another state where people talk funny and where the educational system sucks and where I will totally not fit in some more…

[And in case you were wondering, the desire to move up north increases exponentially for mr webbis with every semester that passes. His New England accent gets more and more northern, too. Pretty soon it will have intensified to the point that he’s entirely Canadian]

…but at least I’ll get to live with mr webbis full-time, and since our second anniversary is coming up in 3 months, it’s about freakin time.

But don’t mind me. I’ll just be putting my head down on the table over here.

*Yes, I’m exaggerating. But you guys haven’t BEEN there! One of the towns that you have to go through to get there is the hometown of a ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ baby! Fast food is one of the major food groups! They eat things called ‘boudin balls’! People wear camouflage on a daily basis, and Wal-Mart is considered fancy shopping! …!!!!!!……

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Barefoot Cellars

Seriously -- no.

Last summer I bought a $25.00 Gr*upon for $75.00 worth of wine from Wi.ne In*side*rs, which sounded like an excellent deal.

[This should have been my first indication that things might not go splendidly.]

Before I bought the Gr*upon, though, I did some trawling around the web to see what  interwebpeople thought of WI, and it seemed like a reasonable company. I checked their website and found more or less what I had expected — no-name vineyards and prices that are good when the company is having a sale or a promotion. I figured that if I could get 3 or 4 bottles for $25.00, at least one would be pretty good and the others had to be better than the Barefoot or Yellowtail wines.

My first problem was that the Gr*upon number that I was assigned wasn’t recognized by the vendor, which the Gr*upon people helpfully pointed out was my problem, not theirs. So I waited several months to use the Gr*upon because I was too annoyed with the whole thing to bother right then.

Of course, I forgot to use it, and got increasingly frantic emails from Gr*upon, reminding me in a somewhat manically cheerful tone to “go use your Gr*upon!”

So, less than a month from the coupon’s expiration, I used it. I found what seemed to be some reasonable zinfandels and cabernets and ordered 2 of the 2010 zinfandels and 2 of the 2009 cabs. The 2009 got fairly decent internet reviews, while the jury was very dubious about anything newer.

Blah blah blah, thank you for shopping Wi.ne In*side.rs, your shipment should arrive on February 3. Etcetera.

The package arrived yesterday, of course, when I wasn’t home. They retried today — just 10 minutes ago, in fact, when I was home. Am home. So I have 4 bottles of wine.

All of my bottles are incorrect. All of my bottles are the 2010 vintage. 2 bottles of the 2010 zin, and 2 bottles of the 2010 cab. Why, no, thank you…the shipping form showed 2 bottles of the 2009 were sent to me, and that is what I ordered — which raises (not begs!) the question why did I not receive the 2009?  The shipping form, alas, says that they shipped 2 bottles of the 2010 zin when I ordered the 2007. When I called the customer service rep, she informed me that they were probably out of the 2009 (you can’t check?) and that they have the right to substitute something of equal or greater value (as determined by them, never mind the fact that some of their wines are crap and I ordered what I ordered because I researched it first). Besides, she said, there’s no difference between the 2009 and the 2010.

Yes, there is, I told her. I looked up the interwebs reviews, and there is a significant difference. She, however, was unfazed and so I hung up.

Now I have written a letter, explaining my dissatisfaction, explaining that my order should match the shipping form which in turn should match the shipment, and that when someone orders something online, and when it goes into their shopping cart, the inventory should be reduced online immediately so that I know that my purchase will be sent to me.

I expect to receive, if anything, a blah-blah form letter.

I plan to avoid Gr*pon and Wi.ne In*side.rs like the plague, in future. I’d rather spend my $25.00 on fewer bottles from familiar vineyards and get what I paid for.

ETA: I decided to check the WI webpage to see what they had substituted for the 2009 cab….and I found that, in fact, they were still advertising the very wine they claimed to have run out of. Because the woman didn’t bother to check.

I called again and explained to a different rep that I had been told that the wine was out of stock when in fact it was still being advertised. The rather snippy woman informed me that apparently, they are allowed to substitute vintages even if they have the one you ordered in stock. So if I pay for a 2009, which (we are assuming here) is better than a 2010, they are allowed to substitute a poorer product at will because they feel like it? I raised that very point in a snippy voice of my own, and she hurriedly put me on hold and came back to tell me that oh! they do have some in the warehouse and they’ll be shipping it out to me.

Mmmm-hmmmm. Still not giving these people any more of my business, particularly when their first line of customer-service defense is ‘we can send you whatever we want, despite what you thought you were paying for.’

E(again)TA: I checked my receipt to see which vintage of the zin I had ordered, and whoops! it was a 2007. Which, you may be unsurprised to hear, is still being sold on the internet. In fact, the 2010 vintage is not even for sale for either wine.  So I called again, and politely ripped them a new one. Upon hearing that they save the good vintages for club members, I told them that their practices were deceitful, since they are selling something that they have no intention of sending the customer and they are advertising something that they DON’T have and substituting something that they aren’t advertising at all!. She had no answer to my point that if they are out of it, they need to change the vintage that IS for sale. I am going to make an official complaint about this to both the company and the BBB. Tools.

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