Monday, June 18, 2012

I Might As Well Bang My Head Against the Wall!

You know how sometimes when you are trying to do something by phone, and keep having to deal with a machine at the other end, you think, "If I could just get to talk to a real person, we could sort this out?"  Well don't be too sure about that.

Mind you, I wasn't on the phone, but was trying to sign up for something on the internet. It was one of those sites that don't let you put in a Post Office Box. You need to enter a street address.  I live in a small village and was having trouble because Canada Post does not recognize street addresses here. We have to have the proper box number on our mail or we  may never get it.  I finally wrote the company a message to tell them about this problem. 

I said, "I am trying to sign up, but your form requires a street address and your system sends me to since it cannot verify my address. That's because we have Post Office Box numbers in this village, and Canada Post does not recognize our civic addresses. How can I sign up?"

I got a reply. "Unfortunately we do not accept PO Boxes as valid addresses for registration. This is for security reasons; we require civic addresses."

I tried again.  "But YOUR system will not accept my civic address!  I'm very disappointed."

I thought that must have worked as then she said, "Can you send me your civic address? I’ll see if it works on my end."  I figured she was going to override the system at her end and get me signed up, so I sent her my civic address.

I just got another message from her. It says, "I’m not finding your street listed; I’m sure it exists, but Canada Post does not recognize it because mail is send via PO Box.
I apologize for the inconvenience. "

Duh. That's what I was complaining about in the first place.  I thought I was dealing with a human being at the other end, but perhaps it's some sort of robot after all. 

At this point I can't remember what it was I was trying to sign up for anyway, and now I probably don't want to be bothered.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

It's All in the Family

Today we finally made it to the new IKEA store, in Ottawa.  It's huge.  It's got one floor of display rooms and another floor where you might as well get yourself a cart because you ARE going to pick up items as you walk through. Then you go through the warehouse area, where you can locate some of the things you spotted in the displays, and get those there.  The tags on the items in the display areas tell you what isle and section to look in when you get to the warehouse.  We didn't see any of the order forms like they used to have in the old store, so we wrote the numbers down on a piece of paper we happened to have with us. Do come prepared! 

After many years of visiting the old IKEA, and never once being able to get into the restaurant there, we finally got to eat IKEA food.  It's cheap and plentiful.  Hubby said his meatballs and mashed potato meal wasn't as hot as he would have liked, but he said it was good.  I had a huge mandarin salad with a chicken breast. Marvelous meal for the price, but the chicken, which is proudly advertised on the table displays as being organic, was rather tasteless.  A good dose of salt helped that a bit. 

I found this machine when I entered the store that would issue a free IKEA Family Membership Card.  Being like most kids I know, I just had to push the buttons.  I ended up with a nice orange credit card sized card with a code that needed to be scanned in.  After that I was all set to enjoy the benefits of being a Family Member. One was that there are certain promotions that are just for Family Members.  I apparently didn't choose any of those items today.  Another benefit is that you get your coffee and tea for free if you present your card when paying for your meal.  We not only got our beverages for free, but found you could get refills too. We enjoyed this benefit both with our meals and again later when we went back for an afternoon snack.  At that time I had a slice of apple strudel cake, and hubby had a chocolate truffle bar.  Both came with whipped cream.  We're thinking this might just be a great place to go, even when we don't have any plans to shop the store.  Actually, nobody should ever have any trouble dragging their men to this store. They can sit and  drink a few cups of coffee while you shop, or even have beer with lunch if they want.  I can't think of another store where you can get a beer!

On the way out I checked out another food area.  It seems you can get hot dogs and cinnamon buns and coffee there too, but it's more of a grab and go place. There are lots of other packaged  foods available too.  They even had baskets with samples of bits of cookies.  I tasted one that had vanilla cream filling with an apple jelly glaze.  Ha.  As if I had not had enough to eat already, I had to bring some of those home. But hey, I certainly did get my exercise walking around that place, and quite honestly, I didn't see it all. 

We will be going back!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Any Port in a Storm

This posting is late, I know, but my internet hasn't been working since the storm last week.

My friend had to go to Brockville on Tuesday (May 29th), and she asked me if I wanted to go for the ride. I had not seen much of her lately so I thought it would be a great chance to catch up. The weatherman had been threatening us with storms since the previous Friday, but once again, we were sitting in sunshine, so off we went. Everything was fine until part way home when the sky to the west started to get dark.

It wasn’t long before we had a light mist of rain, but the sky was getting darker still, and there was lightning in the distance. Then these big splats of rain started to hit the windshield. They were far enough apart still, so, while it was a bit surprising to go from fine mist to big splats, seeing the approaching storm we knew something was coming. We weren’t too far from home by then, so we didn’t worry about it. But as the rain picked up, so did the wind. I noticed the trees really start to move, and said, "Look at the wind!" just as a gust hit the car and my friend grabbed the steering wheel tighter and let out a "Whoa!"

The rain started coming down in sheets, and with the driving force of the wind behind it, it became very difficult to see the road in front of us. But we were just on the edge of the village by then and so we crept forward through this curtain of water, ever so slowly, trying to see where to turn onto our street. There was another vehicle coming out of there, so we waited for it to get out of the way as we were not sure if it was in the middle of the road or not. As we crept down the first block, my friend looked warily at a big tree by the side of the road and said she didn’t trust it. Our silly solution was to zoom under it as fast as we could, just to get clear of it.

We had been discussing whether we would have tea at her house or mine, but the weather decided that for us. There was no way to get from the car to her front door without getting totally soaked, but I have a large overhanging roof by my side door, so we could pull up under that and have tea at my house. Ya sure.
It seems my hubby left the garbage can in just the wrong spot for us to just drive straight in, so my friend angled her vehicle in such a way as to miss that can. She asked if I would be able to get out, and we both looked to the right, and saw a waterfall coming off the roof, just outside the car window. Nope. If I even tried to open the door that water would come right into the car with the next gust of wind. So she tried again, and though I knew I could make it to the door I decided to make sure I had the right key in hand and wait for a lull in the gusting wind. It came. I went. I got to the door, I got the key in, and just as I was turning it, another gust came up and blew the wall of water in such a way that I got soaked from head to foot, all down my back. I shrieked. I’m sure I did, as the rain was colder than expected. I looked back at my friend who I thought would still be safely in the car, laughing at me. but she was already out of the vehicle, and discovering that she had pulled up so close to the garage that it was very difficult to get by the car. I think she shrieked too. By the time we got inside, we were both wet, and giggling.

It didn’t take long to discover that the power was out, and there would be no tea for us that day.
My driveway was full of water, which isn’t too unusual, since my house is the low spot on the street, but then my sidewalk acquired several inches of water too. With the power off, my sump pump wouldn’t be working, so this was not a good thing. I have not only the usual (for our area) indoor sump pump, but also an outside one. There’s an underground river that flows under my garage, but worse than that, the tile drainage also flows into that hole.

I called my son, who lives in another town, to get him to check the internet so he could tell me when the power might come back on. He said 6:45pm. It wasn’t yet 4pm. My hubby called at 4:45pm and when he found out the power wasn’t on, he decided he better come home and look after any possible water situation that might arise. As it turned out, our power was not restored until 1:30am the following morning, while others in our area were not expecting power until at least noon.

I quickly discovered that I had neither cable nor internet, but it was Drop In day at one of the local churches, so I went there for the company after taking a ride around town on my bike to survey the damage from the storm.

There were lots of big branches down, and other trees that had been either uprooted or snapped off. It was reported that we had a tornado, but it turned out that we didn’t. We did have winds or 110km/hr though, and I’ve never seen that much water come down all at once before.

We likely should have been in the basement, but with no power we didn’t get the weather alerts and felt so much safer once we were in the house we were content to sit in the kitchen and watch the storm.

The cable company fixed their problem and we had TV the afternoon after the storm, but I still had no internet. I use Sympatico, so I checked with a few friends who use that too, and theirs was fine. That meant the problem was just mine. So I tried rebooting the modem a couple of times, unplugging and restarting and everything, but nothing worked. My hubby called Bell and they had him check the filter and do a few other things before they decide that the problem had to be at their end after all. They said they would fix it within 24 hours. My hubby asked me the second night if I was suffering from internet withdrawal yet, but apparently I wasn’t as I actually turned down a chance to use a neighbour’s machine earlier in the day. I just knew the e-mail would be piled up to an almost unmanageable amount by the time I got to it again.

The 24 hours passed and still no internet. After calling Sympatico again, they decided to send us a new modem. I doubted that would solve the problem, since I had the computer and the modem unplugged when the storm came through. The new modem didn't help, so another call and a few more tests and they decided they would send a technician Sunday morning.  The techie found a bad port at the switching station and assigned us a new one, but wasn't sure if anyone at Bell worked on that sort of thing on Sundays so said it could be Monday before we got back online. We spent the day away from home on Sunday and when we got back we discovered we were finally reconnected to the world. 

I'd say, considering all the uprooted and damaged trees around here, we got off lucky here.