Questions Answered

The thing in the middle of the bird bath is a water wiggler.

Water Wiggler

Water Wiggler

My reason for purchasing it was to keep the bird bath from freezing but it isn’t great for that. If it’s just a light freeze, it keeps the water from freezing. If it’s a medium freeze, there will be a pretty thick layer of ice but the center doesn’t freeze so I can remove the water wiggler, then pick up the whole sheet of ice and toss it. If it’s a hard freeze . . probably less than about 22º, the entire thing freezes . . water wiggler and all.

It is solar powered so it recharges itself. It does keep the water moving and that helps to keep mosquitoes from hatching in the water.

I recommend it for keeping the mosquito population down and for keeping the water from freezing during light freezes but if you’re looking for something to keep bird baths from freezing during really cold temps, this isn’t going to do it.

The other question — the sweater. Yes, it’s a test knit for Laura Aylor. I will let you know when the pattern is available. Sorry for not providing that info in this morning’s post.

Grocery Shopping Is About To Change

In our little town, grocery shopping is about to change and there’s not much that could happen around here that would make me any happier.  I’ve moaned and complained about Kroger since we got here, though I’m not sure what I would be doing if we didn’t have it. While googling, trying to find out when our Aldi is going to open, I found this article about our Kroger. I’m not sure how much of it is embellished (such as . . whether the Kroger building predates the forming of Brown County . . but a whole lot of what they say is fact. I suppose it isn’t unlike most corporate owned grocery stores these days in that a few of the people are nice and helpful, but many are downright rude and lazy. I was hoping our new manager would turn things around and I’m afraid things are going the wrong direction. There’s rarely a time when I go in there that I’m not trying to track down someone to see if they have more of something because the shelves are empty — pears, onions, cucumbers . . things a grocery store should always have. I will not miss Kroger and once our new stores open, I can’t see a reason to ever go back to that store. I hate saying that because I understand no business stays in business without customer support but Kroger has totally lost my support. I feel kinda bad for the new manager because no matter what they do in there, with two new grocery stores opening, Kroger’s numbers are not going to look good on paper and I know how all corporations come down on management when that happens . . even when it’s totally out of their control. Here’s a funny (or not so funny example).  At one retail establishment (no names mentioned here!), one year the store had very little snow and the next year, it snowed so much. Every time they got the parking lot cleaned, it snowed again. That year the manager was in hot water because the cost of snow removal was up something like 500% from the previous year. Some managers are good but controlling the snow fall . . could be a bit much to expect.

We have a new United, which I think may be part of the Albertson’s network, that is scheduled to open in June. My understanding is they will have a real butcher (vs. getting all the meat in pre-packaged) and a deli where you can sit down and eat. I’d be real happy if they had fresh seafood but that’s probably asking for too much.

I’m most excited about Aldi. I’m so excited that when I’m out, I ride by there and try to peek in the windows to see what’s going on. They say they’re opening “Spring, 2015″.  Hey .. it’s Spring, 2015! Open up! Let me in!

Last week I was by there and they had concrete trucks out front pouring ramps and things . . I couldn’t sneak up and peek in the windows. Their website has Grand Openings listed up to April 19 and Brownwood is not listed but sometimes those places open and then the Grand Opening happens a few weeks later.  No matter when they open . . we’re closer to that date than we were 2 months ago so I’ll have to be patient.

Customer Service, Where Have You Gone?

Last week we called the investment company we use because it was time to make my IRA contribution for 2014. Vince was talking to them because I’d rather he do all that kind of stuff but the guy on the phone told him “That account is frozen because of some kind of suspicious activity . . and it’s been frozen since 2012.”  Vince then handed me the phone to deal with it because it was lunch time and he had to go back to work.

Me:  What?  I’ve been using that account!  
Investment Guy: Nope, it’s frozen. When was the last time you used it? 
Me:  Two weeks ago!
Investment Guy:  Well it’s frozen, and has been since 2012, so you can’t be using it!
Me:  Do you see that I’ve been using it?
Investment Guy:  Yes . . but it’s frozen so you can’t use it.

Good grief! This is supposed to be a great company. We’ve dealt with them for 15 years and never had issues so I wasn’t too concerned. He transfers me to the security department that can supposedly “thaw” my account.

Man:  I’m going to ask you a few questions and this is info that was obtained from public records.
Me:  OK.
Man: The first question . . Of the people I’m going to name, tell me which one you know . . and he goes about naming four people.

The BIG problem is that the only one I know is my ex-husband . . from whom I’ve been divorced 20+ years and it wasn’t a nice divorce and I certainly didn’t need to be reminded of him! But, I answered the question and went on from there.

Next question:

Man: You have or have in the past owned a 1996 Chevrolet truck. Was it:  (a) Blue (b) Black (c) Green (d) Lavender (e) I’ve never owned a Chevrolet truck.
Me:  We still own it and it is none of those colors.
Man:  What’s your answer?
Me: None of the above.
Man: You have to pick one.
Me: How can I pick one when it is none of the above. I am looking out the window at the truck. I can send you a picture of the truck!
Man: Do you want me to put “I’ve never owned a Chevrolet truck?” 
Me: NO! That’s not true.
Man: Well, I’ll just pick lavender.
Me: When was the last time you saw a lavender truck?
Man:  I’m not even sure what color lavender is.

At that point, I pretty much unloaded on him about the ex-husband and the color of the truck. He didn’t care! He just had to get enough correct answers to questions to unlock my frozen account that I should not have been able to use for the past 3 years but I had been using.

Then he told me that I had to change all my user ids and passwords. We did that. He told me to wait about half an hour and then log back in using the new info and change the password from the one he had just reset. I waited about 30 minutes, tried it. It didn’t work. I waited another 30 minutes, tried again. Didn’t work. Called back, talked to someone else. He couldn’t figure out what the first guy had done but my original user ids were still working, though none of the passwords worked so he walked me through changing everything. Then about 3 hours later, I got an email that the user ids and passwords had been changed . . and this was all what I had done with the first guy so once again, none of the passwords were working and I had to call back and go through it all again. Grrrr!

To make matters worse, our investment “advisor” called yesterday and was telling me that since we’re getting closer to retirement age, he had some recommendations for us. “Would tomorrow at 10 a.m. be a good time to call you so we can spend half an hour or so talking about some options?”  Sure . . 10:00 would be fine.

Do you think he called? Nope. Do you think I’m seriously considering changing where we have our investments? Yes! I am just a tad frustrated with them.