Monday, December 29, 2008

No Go, Go Phone

I know this next admission may make me sound like a fossil from the dinosaur age, but I was slow to jump on the cell phone bandwagon. I’ve only had a cell phone for about 3 or 4 years and when I did get one, I did so begrudgingly because I didn’t want to have to deal with an additional bill and I cringed at the idea of folks having unlimited access to me.

I went with a AT&T’s Go-Phone because the no contract, pay-as-you-go seemed ideal for my emergencies only cell phone policy. This lasted for about a year, then slowly but surely I started using my cell more frequently. This was cool since I never used all my monthly minutes and with my pay-as-you –go deal I even got to roll over my unused minutes from month to month.

When we moved into our house about 2 years ago, I noticed I didn’t get a good signal in the house or even in the surrounding blocks of our street. I called AT&T to try to rectify the problem, but was assured that there are plenty of cell towers in my region and I should be able to get a signal. The only thing they could come up with is the fact that we live in a stone house and maybe the stones were interfering with the signal. After a while, I didn’t give it a second thought and simply instructed everyone to call my home phone to leave a message if they couldn’t reach me on my cell. But, soon I realized this could be a problem since my primary purpose for having the cell phone was for emergencies and what if I ran into an emergency in my house or in my neighborhood and needed use of my cell? Well… I’d be ass out! So, I got back on my landline with AT&T in an attempt to solve this problem. I was even willing to purchase a new cell if they thought maybe my current phone was the problem. The customer service rep couldn’t identify the reason for my lack of a signal and agreed a new phone may be in order. She suggested I go to an AT&T store, so I could return the new phone if it didn’t solve my signal issues. I followed her instructions, bought a new phone and was pleasantly surprised to secure two strong signal bars if the far north corner of the master bedroom and on our front steps.

My satisfaction lasted for about another two weeks until I shared my experience with a friend of mine, who also used AT&T and lived a few blocks from me, yet got great signal use throughout her house and our neighborhood. The only difference is she was one a two year contract, and I was using the Go Phone (or what had become my No Go, Go Phone). My friend told me to give another call to AT&T or to move on to another carrier since I wasn’t on a contract. I called AT&T for a third time and told the rep that I was about to move on to a new carrier because of this signal issue. She reviewed my account and guess what she told me… or should I say admitted? Customers using the pay-as-you-go service don’t have access to all the cell towers and are provided with limited service. Can you believe that shiggity? Why did it take almost 2 years to learn about this? Is this vital info provided in the fine print of the paperwork that comes with the phone? What a flim flam!

Well.. once I thanked the customer service rep for providing me with the real deal, I made my way back to the AT&T store and switched to a two year contract and upgraded to a great phone for which I received most of its purchase price back in a rebate. I rushed home and as soon as I hit my neighborhood I checked the phone and was happy to see 5 strong signal bars, and these bars followed me all the way home and throughout my house.

Talk about deceit in advertising… sheesh!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Walking Up Hill

I went to my chiropractor, Barry, on Wednesday. I’ve been seeing him regularly since the kids and I were rear-ended in mid-November. I’ve been feeling loads better, but thought I might need an adjustment after spending the last few days stuck on airplanes and sleeping in a strange bed in a Marriot in Seattle.

Yesterday, when I got up in the morning, I noticed my lower back; butt and thighs were really sore--- maybe even a bit tight. At first, I chalked it up to my visit to Barry, but as the day wore on, I didn’t feel any better and felt like I was waddling around like a little old lady.

I was about to pick up the phone and give Barry a call, to ask what was going on because I’d never felt like this following a visit with “Dr. Manipulation,” when I realized the soreness wasn’t a result of Barry’s “adjustments,” but the hills I tackled while walking the streets of Seattle. That’s right, I’m simply feeling the burn from some old-fashioned walking uphill. Guess I should be doing this a little more often---huh--- ya think?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Clipped Wings

I’m finally decompressing from my five days in Seattle for a business trip. The trip was cool, but getting there and back home again on Monday was a big pain in the butt.

We were scheduled to fly out on American last Thursday morning, but when I called to check on our flight status, I was informed it had been cancelled due to the heavy rain in the region. When I asked about putting us on a later flight, the agent informed me there were no other options for that day and we had been booked on a flight for 6:30am the next morning. Whatt????? Now, I don't know why no one had contacted me with this info, especially when they request both a home and cell telephone number, as well as your email address when you book the flight.

I went on and tried to explain my need to get to Seattle earlier than midday Friday, but was told there were no other options. I was stuck. Loverman suggested I have my co-worker, who was traveling with me, call the airlines. She’s white and he suspected she might have better luck on getting us on a later flight on Thursday. I didn’t agree, especially because all my life, I’d been told I sound “white,” but my co-worker and I decided to give his little social experiment a try. Believe it or not, it worked and she got us on a direct flight to Seattle late Thursday afternoon. To tell you the truth, I don't know if I'd been dealing with a slacker agent or if I'd been a victim of voice profiling, but I could of cared less how I got out to Seattle at this point, I was just ready to get out there to get down to business.

When we finally got on the plane, I found myself sandwiched between a man who slept most of the evening and a woman who was flatulent the entire six-hour flight to Seattle. It was almost unbearable and I couldn’t ask for a seat change because the flight was packed. On top of this, American doesn’t even offer its coach passengers a complimentary beverage--- they even charge for water! I cannot begin to tell you how happy I was to finally get to Seattle and off that plane.

On the return trip, we miraculously got on our scheduled plane on time, but as we taxied down the runway, the pilot noticed a problem one of the engines. We made our way back to the tarmac to try to fix our engine problem. About 90 minutes later we were on our way, but knew we wouldn’t make our connector in Chicago. Once we did get to Chicago, we thankfully found ourselves booked on a later flight, which would arrive in Philly only three hours later than our original arrival time.

Sure, I know most folks have air travel nightmare stories to share and in the grand scheme of things, I made out better than most, but the entire travel ordeal exhausted me and I just don’t understand how flying has devolved to the point that it’s like taking the Septa’s C bus down Broad Street.

Gas prices go up and the airlines raise ticket prices and begin to charge for checked baggage. Gas prices go down and I don’t hear a peep from the airlines in eliminating these additional fees. Airlines pack us in like sardines; offer no amenities if you’re flying coach and their customer service is just about non-existent. I used to look forward to getting on a plane, but no more--- unless it’s absolutely necessary, I’ll be keeping my feet on the ground for a while.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Get Dressed!

Have you noticed this stupid new sartorial trend being sported by mostly suburban teen girls--- wearing flannel pajamas outside as fashion? Most cap it off with shuffling around in sherpa-like slippers.

Just yesterday, I saw a young lady, no older than 13, with her mother, and this kid looked like she'd simply rolled out of bed, into the car and unexpectantly found herself at the dentist office. The child looked a hot mess and what was her mother thinking letting the girl venture out the house looking like that?

So, why isn't there the public outrage, like with young Black men started wearing jeans hanging off their off their butt? I've always had little tolerance for this particular fashion choice. In fact, I know if most kids knew the root of the slung low pants is in prisoner culture as a calling card for the brothers willing to engage in sexual activity with other men, a lot more brothers would pull their pants up with a quickness. I'm sure most are more tolerant because it's mostly blond haired, blue-eyed Susies in their pjs.

Whatever! --- These girls look stupid and sloppy and need to get dressed before they head out the door.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fever Broken

I’m happy to report that the fever of my addiction related to anything even remotely pertaining to the 2008 Presidential Election has finally broken.

How have I come to this conclusion you may ask? Well… for one thing, I haven’t watched Keith Olberman’s Countdown since last Tuesday. I’ve also begun to limit my daily visits to The Huffington Post and Last night I even checked out Unsung on TVOne. In fact, right now as I write this post, I’ve got my old standby Law & Order on the boob tube.

Now, these may seem like baby steps to you, but for me these mini milestones mark real progress, because for the past eight months, all things Obama have consumed me.

So, barring a relapse, I really do believe I’m on my way to returning to that well-rounded Mango Mama my friends and family has come to love.