Saturday, December 31, 2011

Where I Will NOT Be On New Year's Eve

For those of you who enjoy a little midget
wrestling with your champagne.
(Perhaps I live in a slightly hick town?)

While driving to my second home during the holidays (Target), this banner attached to the side of a local drinking establishment caught my eye. Sorry to inform you all that I will NOT be attending any midget wrestling festivities tonight! You won't get the scoop on this blog. The question in my mind is: "Who would actually make a point of going to this bar solely for the enjoyment of watching midgets wrestle?" Please don't answer that question.

I don't know about you, but I'm happy to wish 2011 farewell. Surviving numerous rounds of the stomach flu over Christmas sealed it for me. Bring on the New Year! I'm happy to leave 2011 far off in the past.

As for resolutions . . . I've learned that I'm not really good at keeping my resolutions. Maybe my goals for the upcoming year are too lofty. But I'll go on record in this blog with my 2012 resolution. Those of you who know me well may realize this is yet another unachievable resolution but I'll give it a try.

Be 5 minutes early for appointments, meetings, and picking up the kids instead of 5 minutes late.

You can now pick yourself up off of the floor and stop laughing! I'll let you know how this works out for me. 

Until my next post . . . Wishing you a very Happy New Year!    Christianna

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Is YOUR Igloo Ready?

As I stare at my computer screen bustling with cartoon penguins, I wonder to myself: "why can't my son be this productive around the house with our 'real' Christmas preparations?" This morning my 8-year old son, Jack, eagerly pulled me over to the computer. He was excited to show me the progress he's made on decorating and preparing his virtual igloo on Club Penguin where his penguin Bowman resides in his icy bubble of cyberspace. Unfamiliar with Club Penguin? I see it as Disney's answer to Facebook for kids 10 and under. Except that you are a penguin who interacts with other penguins while playing games, making new penguin friends, attending parties or concerts, shopping for accessories for your pet Puffle, or just hanging out in your fancy igloo. Just as addictive as Facebook too.

Anyway, Jack's igloo is all decked out. Twinkling lights, presents galore, Christmas music on his stereo, a skating rink with outdoor firepit, and a Christmas tree (fake as it is virtual after all). He even has a Salvation Army kettle and bell to collect donations from other penguins. He spent the other morning baking cookies on Club Penguin. Let's just say that Bowman the Penguin has it made with Jack in charge of a virtual Christmas.

My igloo isn't quite so ready. But it's getting there. I'm nearly finished baking my second round of cookies as the first round was eaten up. Most of my Christmas cards are in the mail. The house is finally decorated, which only took 8 days this year. (That tells me I have too many Christmas decorations.) Our "real" Christmas tree is up—no fake plastic trees. A couple of my amaryllis plants are ready to bloom just in time for Christmas day. My present buying binge is complete. If only I had a magic wand for all of the wrapping! The only thing missing is snow, but I have no control over that after all.

Will my son someday fondly look back and remember his Club Penguin Christmas igloo? Perhaps. I guess I'll have to tear my kids away from their "virtual" realities to experience the real Christmas season. Now only if we could get some real snow here in Minnesota to complement my festive igloo!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Miss Customer Service

Having just spent the last 2 hours on a "live chat" with a Kodak Gallery representative, I realized that I'm missing good old fashioned customer service over the phone. To make a long story short, Kodak's printing service messed up my Christmas cards, leaving off the name of my son Jack. Now I'm sure that some days Jack would rather not be a part of the family, but technically he had to have his name on the family Christmas card.

After searching the card box for a receipt or return slip, I found nothing. So I searched the website for a customer service 1-800 number. No such number that I could find. Kodak Gallery uses live chats to remedy their customer service issues. This would be fine except that Jose, my customer service guy, must have been chatting with other customers due to the 5- to 10-minute pauses between our chats. I thought it was interesting that Jose could let lots of minutes pass while I waited for his response; however, when I had to run Jack out to the bus stop to catch his school bus I was promptly dropped from the chat. Wait, that's SO not fair! Only about 1 minute of time had lapsed on my part. So the customer gets 1 minute to respond and the corporation gets as much time as necessary. I don't quite understand that.

My morning chat with Jose taught me that a problem that could be easily solved in 10 minutes over the phone took over 2 hours to resolve via "live chat." Do these "chats" save Kodak money by having Jose "chat" with multiple customers at once? I don't know about you, but I'd rather actually talk to a live person.

It does seem like I've had more than my fair share of customer service issues over the past few months. Kodak did eventually remedy the problem, but it just took far too long. Who has time for a 2 hour "live chat" when it's a mere 11 days before Christmas?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fake Plastic Christmas Trees

The bell ringers are ringing away in front of the grocery stores. The Christmas music is blaring over the loudspeakers. Poinsettias have popped up all over the place. Fake plastic Christmas trees are sprouting up, wearing their gaudy decorations. But there is no snow. It tries to snow. It doesn't stick so it doesn't count as "real" snow. Since we have only a smattering of snow and it's time to put up the Christmas tree, my son suggested getting a fake Christmas tree this year. Since it doesn't feel like Christmas without any snow, might as well go ahead and put up a fake tree.

What is the attraction to fake Christmas trees? I don't really understand. Personally I love the real thing—a beautiful pine or spruce Christmas tree. It's smells real, it's needles feel real, you have to water it every day, and it gets that real sap all over your hands when you put it into the stand.

Some people are really attached to their fake plastic trees. They don't look or feel real. You have to find a big box to store them away. You have to pack them up year after year and pull them out of their box. You have to cart them around with you if you move. 

Why get a fake Christmas tree when you can get the real thing? Maybe all those fake plastic Christmas tree lovers out there would secretly like to have a real tree but for some reason or another have to settle for a fake tree. I'll seek out a true and real tree. Life is just too short for fake plastic Christmas trees.