The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2009-11-29

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Cautionary #Fail...

This isn't another rant about Dell, by the way (they are here and here).

This fail is all mine.

Don't read this if you have a weak stomach. It's gross.


I have always thought I had a lot of dust in my house. A preposterous amount of dust. The conspicuous consumption version of home dust. Like there was constant construction outside my doorstep, or Martian dust storms. I'm being funny, I know. But it's always been confusing to me and I've often thought the only way to have this much dust in a home was to call all the area dust dealers and import it in...


It's been a never ending battle and I am so. not. kidding. I moved some furniture yesterday and the emerald green carpet under there was once again ecru thanks to a covering of dust. And more than that my kid has allergies and I've started to clog up every time I lay my head on the pillow.


Every few years we would get some company to clean out the vents, and pipes and whatever they blow out and for a few weeks it's better and than the dust rears it's ugly dusty head again. So today was the day my house was to get it's pipes blown out. It was urgent this time because about five days ago when the kid ran the dryer the smoke alarm went off and I knew that was a really, really bad thing. I declared, NO MORE LAUNDRY! until the dryer vent is cleared. It was tough although my kid seemed good with just using a can of Fabreez.


So, today they come and try to sell us all manner of extras which I was ready to turn a blind eye on.... but OMG. Have you been looking at the pictures I've been posting. They are the circulatory system in my house. They are what we have been breathing. A good ten years accumulation, if I believe the technicians (and I do), who donned masks as soon as they started taking pictures.


My whole house was done within the last few years and my dryer vent was done with in the last few months. But the last dryer vent deal was just two guys who came with a shop vac and never left my dryers side. These guys physically went into my attic and pulled the stuff from the tube with their hands, and I am so not kidding. Feet of stuff was pouring out. I heard it going through the big main tube - heard it! It sounded like baseballs hitting the side of a house. And I'm not surprised the smoke alarm went off, I'm surprised the house didn't catch fire.


I can't explain how it can get this bad when I supposedly had this done every few years. I guess we got what we paid for and waiting for the coupons to come and paying for the minimum was a really bad idea. These guys were here for hours and practically had to take apart the HVAC.

I'm grossed out at the moment and clogged from all the dust that's been swirling today. And am posting this as a public service announcement despite feeling hugely embarrassed. But maybe it will save someone a dryer fire.

This is one an after...


...Of one of the pictures I posted above.


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Return of Making Lemonade out of Dell

Part one Making Lemonade Out of Dell is here

I'm Fed-exing my Laptop back to Dell tomorrow for the forth (or third) time. I shot another email to the Dell higher-ups this morning in response to what's happened so far.


This is the email:

I received a call from what I assume is one of your escalation departments. I want to thank you for the quick call and I have taken his suggestion of sending the computer back once again. What he said was that Dell would try one more time and if the issue reoccurred again my laptop would be replaced with ' a refurbished unit'. I stopped him at that point and said that was entirely unacceptable and he told me that was all he could offer. I can only assume you did not forward my email to the 'executive level' escalation department if he was unable to offer me anything other than a used computer to replace the new one that I bought and never worked.


Sir, what part of implied federal warranty law does giving me a used computer to replace the expensive one I bought that never worked fulfill?


The computer is going back fed-ex, tomorrow. It is my hope that you will be REPLACING IT with a new and better unit - not a used unit and certainly not another unit of the same kind. Your attempts to fix it have been a year long inconvenience to me and to do this again and with your promise of a used unit on the back end is just insulting.


I wonder what will come back? A new, current model? My old computer that's been worked on four (or three) times? A new one of the model I have? Or a refurbished model of who knows what ilk?


This whole thing is chafing me something awful. I have an accidental warranty. A very expensive addition. Had I dropped the laptop out of my second floor window on the day the lawn guys were here and a lawn guy rode over it with the mower - five times, Dell would be replacing the computer.

Without this aggravation.

Had my son been using the computer in his car at Sonic while drinking a Rt. 44 Oreo blast and the gooey cookie goodness oozed inside all the way to the motherboard... and than in his freak of wrecking my laptop he threw the laptop out the window and a sonic waiter in skates roller bladed over it followed by a pick-up truck full of high school students drinking cherry limeade slushes driving over it causing mucho cherry limeade spillage in the ensuing fracas? .... Dell would send me a new one.

Without this aggravation.

Or, I took a shower - and had a brain snap - and forgot I wasn't supposed to take my laptop with me and than tripped on a bar of soap sending my laptop crashing on to the tile bathroom floor blasting it into a million computer-y bits? I'd have a new one.

Without this aggravation.


But I didn't do any of that. So how come I have aggravation when all I need is for Dell to fix a problem original to the unit and one that involves no cherry limeade spillage or involvement on my part whatsoever?


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Who won the creamsicle purse?

Who won the purse?


Anne, better known as Sasha's mom...

new pics 181

That's Sasha, she has her own blog and she's ridiculously adorable.
But I guess you can tell that from the picture.

Email me Anne!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Making Lemonade out of Dell...

It's a bit long... sorry about that

Ah Dell... I really do love you although at the moment you're making it difficult.

I know some people have issues with Dell computers, for the most part I do not. I have issues with one Dell computer, my laptop, and Dell itself (at the moment). It's been serviced three (or two) times in the last year and is about to take a journey to be worked on for a forth (or third) time.


Laptops can have issues. They are mobile, they are fragile and I think they tend to need more service than desktops but the problem with this one is it's needed the same thing done each time. The very same thing. This seems, to my untrained, ungeeky eye... an unresolvable problem... a design flaw. It's something that reoccurs within a few months and I attempt to ignore until I no longer can and have to get service again. And it's not just mine, I've googled it - it's many of these same laptops.


So, I was pretty tweaked to begin with the other day even before sitting on hold. After sitting on hold for at least one whole television show I was tweaked at least a schooch more, ya might say but I contained myself by surfing the Dell website. I found the Dell executive pages. Did you know there is a Michael Dell? That Dell was a person not a company? I sure didn't. And that he had "an unprecedented idea, to build relationships directly with customers."


No kidding, it's here. (On Twitter I think I would add #Fail and I would have but Michael Dell never Tweets. Really, go look. ) Honestly, I wish I could have written him to say how happy I was with my five computers but instead I emailed several 'high-end' Dell people, after aggravating on hold for an extended period of time, asking for a replacement unit. Within a few hours I got a call from someone who knew my whole case history and said he would send me a box to have the unit shipped to Dell. They would try for the third (or forth) time to fix the unit and if that didn't fix it they would replace it with a refurbished computer.


Ah, Dell. I do appreciate that call very much but I did stop you there. I bought an expensive laptop. A very expensive laptop, one that I have not even had a few perfect months of use out of. And despite that I bought three, (count them, three) computers after that. And you want to replace a computer that has never worked with a used one? I said that was unacceptable. You said that was all you could offer. I beg to differ. That may be all you are willing to offer, but that is not all you can do. Nor, is it what you should have offered me.


I am hopeful that you can fix my computer but not optimistic and I am dissapointed at your offer and I must in all legal seriousness ask, What part of the implied federal warranty law does giving me a used computer to replace the expensive new one I bought that never worked correctly fulfill?

Hm? This?

A warranty is your promise, as a manufacturer or seller, to stand behind your product. It is a statement about the integrity of your product and about your commitment to correct problems when your product fails.

Hmmm.... No, not that... The problem wasn't corrected three (or two) times.


The implied warranty of merchantability is a merchant's basic promise that the goods sold will do what they are supposed to do and that there is nothing significantly wrong with them. In other words, it is an implied promise that the goods are fit to be sold. The law says that merchants make this promise automatically every time they sell a product they are in business to sell.

Hmmm.... No, not that either... Because other people had the same problem as me so there seems to be a problem with the XPS M1330.

The implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose is a promise that the law says you, as a seller, make when your customer relies on your advice that a product can be used for some specific purpose.

Well, unlike when you are trying to get tech support... like before I wrote my email that day after waiting 40 minutes - Sales is easy to get on the phone. And they will help you out with...with is it ... "your customer relies on the your advice that a product can be used for some specific purpose" ... Oh, Dell... You are very good at that. Seriously, you are great. I'm very happy with my computers. That work. They do exactly what I want.

Now this one? Not so much.


My computer is under warranty, by the way. And as I read the Federal Implied Warranty Law it's requiring Dell to stand behind it's computer, that every computer must function as warranted and deliver what was promised at the time of sale.


I said I would send the computer back once more and give it a shot. The thing here is all of this is just sad. I was not an unhappy customer. I have two very expensive computers, one mid-range, one inexpensive and one mini. All of them had the most expensive and longest warranties I could buy. That added hundreds of dollars and in my mind well worth the price.

In this case I am not even asking Dell to honor the warranty I paid for but the Implied Federal Warrenty that goes along with any purchase anyone makes. And perhaps that is what makes it so hard for people to work with. It upset me that a company that I respect and I am sure that a company Michael Dell still values, and seeks to thrive would treat a valued customers this way. It seems I value Dell more that it values me. And that saddens me.

I hope it saddens Michael Dell.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pink Pyrex Karma!

Normally finding vintage things I love is difficult.

It almost always involves a lot of driving (which had been an issue recently). Even when I was going all over the place every week-end there was a lot of hit and miss.

People advertising estate sales that were really garage sales. And garage sales that were really more like garbage sales.

So when my absolute favorite find ever showed up on my door-step, it was shocking!

Well, okay not my door-step... A few feet farther...


That's right. My favorite 'find' ever wasn't a find... It came wrapped up and delivered to me...


With a card!

I couldn't believe my good fortune. Ginger and I danced all over the living room. I was dancing over my find, Ginger danced because she thought she was getting a Snausage.

I'd never been able to find one of these. Not ever, ever, ever.


And she sent it to me because she wanted me to have it, because I couldn't find any pink pyrex!


And she knew that because I told her every single time she posted finding some.


Actually, I think what I said was "Now, I know why there is no pink Pyrex in the United States! You are sucking it all up to Canada with your incredible pink Pyrex karma. (Although she's now added Delphite Blue Pyrex Karma too... )

Go visit Vonlipi although you will be crazy jealous like me...
Or go to her etsy shop because she parts with some of this stuff
before she changes her mind and keeps it all!

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Go visit Colorado Lady for Vintage Thingies Thursday!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The weekly weight watcher update after the Thankgiving buffet

*If you're looking for wordless Wednesday go here*

My approximate total loss in ham...


I don't know why, that picture just cracks me up.

Every once in a while someone will ask if I cheat or gain, have setbacks...moments of doubt... and even though I don't normally talk about actual weights - I gained about 0.06 pounds this week. Those are the kinds of weights that drive people nuts, aren't they?

I'm not even sure why the gain. I did do the Thanksgiving Day buffet (with my chafing dish of mac and cheese and the ice cream sundae bar) but you can fit those things in. It true, really - And that's the best thing about Weight Watchers.

So I'm just chalking it up to it is what it is... And writing about it because I don't want people to think every week is a constant downward motion. No one loses every week. It's the downward trend over time that is important.

I'm happy I started my weight loss journey and grateful that I started in July - As it's now long enough to see some results. And I will keep on keeping on.

Thanks to everyone who's offered kind words along the way!


And now for a slightly different wordless wednesday...

Vertically different...


Amazing what possible with a panorama- capable camera, isn't it?

I love the beach in winter...


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Retro Tuesday to live in...

I didn't really have a Retro Tuesday plan today...

retrotuesay stamp

As usual....

I just pulled out my magazines and started looking. I found myself saying, Oh! I would so live in that room. Over and over and over again. I don't know why I was doing that today - Although it's a bit of a mess in here at the moment (picture bomb blast) and I'm faced with some heavy-duty cleaning. Maybe the rooms all look better than where I am at the moment...

So instead of picking out separate items I decided to do entire rooms for their ambiance... Their je ne sais quoi... Their Holy Interior Decorating, Batman! Know what I mean?

A room that made me go, I want to be there forever. For no one particular item or reason although many of the rooms have fabulous drool-worthy items.

I'm starting with this one because it made me scream...


No really. It did. Ginger jumped a foot and a half of the couch.

Those paintings on the right are by Mark Rothko and I couldn't believe I was seeing TWO of them on a wall in someone's home. There usually aren't TWO of them in a single gallery but here they were in a decorating magazine.

The owner of the painting, Donald Blinken (an interesting fellow in his own right), was explaining that he'd started collecting in the 50's when Rothko was a relative unknown. Those paintings are worth multi-millions today.


Okay, this picture doesn't have the same pedigree but I could swear that is a saarinen tulip coffee table over there on the left? And I know, I said I wouldn't pick apart the images so I'm not. I love the feel of the room and the greenery outside. I just want to sit in there. And, I don't know, contemplate.


I really like so much in this room except maybe the rocker. Not so much for me in the Early American thing.. But look, it's the eclectic mix that makes the room and the colors... I'm digging that mix of colors and when I look at them I wouldn't really have thought to put them together. At all.

Also, I love the wood and the stone. I always watch HGTV and they are forever pulling off wood paneling and painting over it. Covering the floors... And painting over those old 'dreary, outdated' stone fireplaces to freshen them up. Or what ever they say. I know it's in the name of selling a home and I get that but can you do a show on retro homes, please? One where you relish them? Save them? Maybe even resell them as they are? Hello? There are more retro home lovers than you know. Clearly.

Off my soap box now.


You know this is an odd room. It's got an outdated vibe and there is a lot about it that I'm not crazy about but altogether I love it. Altogether it reminds me of a '1950's career girl from the movies' room. Something about the mix of color (that I love) and the things. I would totally live there.


This one isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea but I lived with furniture like this for a few years (here) and they were good memories. Good times. I've always wanted to get a couch like that again... A few months ago I saw one at a yard sale and almost dragged it home.


This last one, I don't know really. I like it as a room but for some reason it reads like a bathroom instead of a kitchen in a lot of ways. Especially those rugs. That said, there's a lot I just love about it. Plus it reminds me very much of the kitchen of my best friend growing up. And that was a very happy place. It didn't look like that but it had all the same color/style elements.

Except the purple rugs.

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