Sunday, July 24, 2016

What One Can Accomplish with Creativity and Determination

Usually I write to compliment a business or make mention of an issue I had with them or to tell you about something of interest. 

Today I am writing about my husband, the most creative and determined person I know.

Aside from his talent writing for years in the Advertising business, he possesses a mind where any challenge is welcomed, no matter the subject.

We have been spending more time in our home in Martha's Vineyard, and having more time here gives us more time to do work around the house.  Going to the beach...well we can always do that.

Since we have been here we have had to do repairs, some of which would mean ordering expensive parts from the manufacturer or hiring someone to fix the problem.

Not my husband.  He has repaired everything, without ordering expensive parts or hiring anyone.

All began with our desire to improve the water pressure in our shower.  For 24 years we could not enjoy the shower since the water came out so poorly yet no one knew why. Lee decided to change the shower arm, thinking it was too wide and the water flow was too dispersed.  From Home Depot, we purchased a new arm for $10.  The original one was removed, but to our disappointment, there was an additional copper pipe jammed inside the wall and which took 2 days to get it out thanks to sheer determination and some WD40.  After the new arm was installed, out came great water pressure!  Now our shower days are happy ones. 

The mice love to eat away at our garage doors.  Aside from patching the wood which was eaten, he devised a stop gap using metal along the sides of the door, which the mice can't eat.

Then the door jam was eaten away and he used wood filler and all sorts of materials to make it look brand new. That project took almost a week, but looks great.

The best was when the light went out under the oven hood.  We pulled the trim kit and bulb out but one of the springs holding the trim in place snapped and disappeared up into the oven hood.  We struggled for an hour trying to find the spring since the trim piece would not stay in without it.  We dismantled the hood and finally found the spring.  But the spring was sprung and was not usable.  I called the company and they seriously wanted $136.80 for a piece worth 5 cents. They actually offered to waive shipping costs. There was no way we would spend that.  After contemplating the situation, he just bent an edge of the trim up into the opening and it held in place!

Today he wanted to change the electrical receptacle on a light switch in a closet, which only had 1 switch for a light, but we needed an outlet and a light switch. After removing the original switch, he found the wiring lacking in order to add the light/outlet combo. Rummaging through our storage room, he found wiring from old lighting we had and is using that to attach to the existing wiring in the wall to get the switch to work. Watching YouTube helped to figure out the repurposing of the wiring and now we can set up our office equipment in the closet!

Now onto the garden.  After 36 years of marriage, we finally have a garden.  It started out small since we are such novices, though before I knew it, Lee doubled the size, bought all these tools (thanks in part to our friend, an avid gardener who made some suggestions,) put up fencing and stakes, laid down soaker hoses and now we watch while the plants grow! Spending much too much time working in the garden but the rewards are many.

And here is the final accomplishment so far...last week we were dining at a restaurant and the person next to Lee started to choke.  Lee looks at me and then says that he will try doing the Heimlich Maneuver although he had never done it. He completes the movements 3 times and the person is fine.  What a night!

Here's to all of you out there who go the extra mile! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Whole Foods Does Not Have Their Whole Act Together

If anyone has watched South Park lately, you would have seen that Whole Foods became the object of ridicule.  In the end, the store leaves town in the form of a spaceship, possibly returning to the planet it came from.

Sounding negative is not unusual for me.  This time my complaint is about shopping at Whole Foods.  And it is the little things that really bug me. When it comes to Customer Service, I feel that is one area a business should put in some effort.  My following comments relate to the store in the Time Warner Center in NYC. 

After going down an escalator, I land smack in the middle of people going every which way, with or without their shopping carts or baskets.  It's enough to make you want to march right back up the escalator. There is no rhyme or reason in how entering the store is structured and you can have people walk right into you while they are wandering around trying to make some sense of their surroundings.  So one thing that needs to be done is make entering the store more manageable. I should not get stressed in a store which sells products to help you stay healthy. 

Today all I wanted/needed was apples.  I walked over to Customer Service to ask if I could check out with them since all I had was a bag of 4 apples.  The response, in a tone which made me feel she did not give a hoot, was, "I don't have a scale so you will just have to get in line."  She could have at least said she was sorry but unfortunately she has no scale.

They have an express line for 10 items or less.  Two weeks ago I got on that line and the line which was not express, moved much faster.  On my way out I asked Customer Service if that made sense and was told, "It just depends."  Today I went to a non-express line with my bag of 4 apples and again, it moved faster than the express.  I guess people buying their lunch think that they will get out faster on the line meant for small purchases, so the line gets longer than the regular check out line.  There is something wrong with the way that is set up. Maybe they should call it the "Less Item Lane" for people who want to spend even more time in Whole Foods.

Another time I had come in and they were out of a bakery item which was on sale.  I went to Customer Service for a rain check since I didn't think I would get back there before the sale was over.  It took over 20 minutes for Customer Service to get someone who worked there to go back to the bakery to ask about the sale and come back to report the findings and only then was I issued a rain check.  You would think I asking for my lottery winnings and they had to prove my ticket was real.

It's this attitude that makes me wonder why I would go back to shop at Whole Foods.  At least make me feel that you care if I remain a customer.

Friday, December 18, 2015

EBATES, EBATES, EBATES...Have you signed up yet?


I wrote about it before.

I am getting so much money back especially now, since some companies are offering 10 - 15% back on your purchases.

And you don't need to do anything to earn money back other than going through Ebates to your favorite site and shop.

You can set it up for the magic "E" to show up when you open a website.  Just go to and get it going.  This way you never can forget to attach the "E" to your shopping experience.  When you see the "E" flashing on the website you are shopping on you click it and it creates a shopping ticket for Ebates and then the website you are shopping at reappears. 

Since I started, I have earned close to $400 back.  And if you know my mindset, I love to get money back or at least figure that the items I bought actually cost less when I factor in the "rebate from ebates."

Here is a link, from me to you, to sign up and start shopping:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Super Automatic Coffee Machines Are Not Super If They Break Down

I am on my second Super Automatic coffee machine since 2005.  Both had to be sent back to the company for repairs.  Both cost a good deal of money to do so. Both had new issues further down the road.

Someone from a site which sells this type of machine recently told me that if you use these all the time, their life span is about 5-6 years.  I guess that with all the parts in use just to grind beans and make coffee, it makes some sense that things will go wrong, even if you take great care of your machine, as I do. 

Why am I telling you this?  Two weeks ago, I had an issue where the water was not coming out of the machine into my cup, or if the water came out, it came out in places it was not meant to drip from.  I called the manufacturer, and in my case it was Jura Capresso, and as always, they are very forthcoming with advice on troubleshooting. After I tried all of their suggestions, the problem persisted.  I was presented with 2 choices:  I could either send the machine back for repairs or I could trade it in and put the trade in value towards purchasing a new machine from a list of specific models. 

Not too bad, but I was upset thinking of all the money I had spent on purchasing this machine and previously repairing it.

Onto the Internet in search of help.  Did I luck out!

Found a video on YouTube which showed how to take the machine apart and do repairs.  The YouTube channel is PartsGuru USA.   The website is:

The video was clearly shot and detailed. And an added benefit of being able to open up the machine correctly, was that we were able to clean it, remove mildew build up, flush grinds out of the water tube and make it look almost new again. Could not have done it without this video.

As I scrolled down the video page, I saw how many people were helped by his videos, and how grateful we all are for his help.  He quickly responded to the two questions I asked. If you need the proper tools to do the repairs, he has them.  We were lucky that we had whatever we needed and although it took us a few hours to make sure we did everything correctly, our machine is working again!  

Videos of many well know brands appear on his YouTube channel and many machines are available to purchase on his website. He also does repairs.

I am forever grateful to PartsGuru for what he offers us. Considering the expense of owning these machines, what a coup to at least try to fix it yourself!

Check out:  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I Want My Phone to be My Camera and Not A Phone...When I Travel Out of the Country

Good News:  I can use my phone as my camera when I go out of the country.

But why then did I accumulate $800 in charges on my phone, which I left on but put in my suitcase, on my last trip?

It all depends on where you are going.

Thank you Verizon for making it easy...only joking.

When I was on a ship in Costa Rico, I forgot to turn my phone off.  I tucked it away in my suitcase, never to be seen until I reached the US of A.

What a surprise that I had accumulated charges of $800.  No, don't worry, I didn't have to pay.

So this time, now that I am off somewhere else, I called to ask:  how can I use my phone as my camera and not get charges on my bill?

Easy, said the rep.  Where I am now going, if I don't put a Global Plan on the phone, I can't use it anyway, so go ahead and make it your camera!

Why then did I have an issue with the last trip?  The rep said: where I travelled to last time didn't need a Global Plan.  How was I to know that?  I was out of the country, so one would assume you would need a different plan.

My advice:  call your carrier before taking a trip to get the correct information. Maybe then you can use your phone as your camera...and nothing else.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Power of Attorney is a Powerful Document

We are aging and so are our parents.  Along with their aging comes a little more responsibility on our part to take care of things.

With that in mind, it is important to have a Power of Attorney, putting someone in charge of dealing with our parents' lives.

Not everything or everyday but enough to be able to call a bank or insurance company on their behalf and be able to have a dialogue with the representative.

It is almost impossible to get information without a POA and I had tried many times, sometimes pleading with the representative, just so that I could straighten out an issue an older relative was having.

If your parent has to be hospitilized and then have surgery and they don't have a spouse (not unusal as they age,) they need someone to advocate for them.  I am not talking about a Living Will or Health Care Proxy, although those are very important.  I mean you need to be able to make other types of decisions, sign documents.

What I have learned is that it is a difficult world out there when what has to get done is not really clear to the elderly person and they don't know how to handle situations.  They need help and the help has to come from someone they trust.

For the past 4 months I have had to deal with hospitals, rehabilitation centers, home care aides, insurance, bills, checking accounts and credit cards for starters.  You can't blame a company for not wanting to speak with someone whom they don't know especially if it is over the phone.  Too much fraud in our world.

Many parents may not want to give up their independence, knowing that someone else can do things for them, even without their knowing or understanding.  That too is the point: sometimes they don't understand and can make bad decisions. Or they show signs of dementia and may forget to do something which needed to be done.  So many scenarios, each situation has its own concerns.

Take time to discuss this with your parent or relative or sibling or whomever may need you down the road. And visa versa. You don't want to learn the hard way and have to scramble to accomplish what could have been done under less stressful conditions.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


This will be a short one.  I am out of patience with FEDEX.

I track my package online.

Shows delivery on 7/23.

Today is 7/23.

It is 4pm so I call FEDEX to ask where it actually is since the last info they post is that it is somewhere in CT at 3am and I cannot imagine it getting here, to Martha's Vineyard, today.

Get told it is being delivered tomorrow.  I keep my dogs in most of the day since they love jumping into the truck.

Now I am told that the info online is not correct.

So, I ask, why is there not an update?

And they say it takes 24 hours to update.

I say, that can't be.  Not in this day and age.

With UPS, you not only get up to date info, they say that it will be delivered by a certain time at the latest.

The agent tells me that she is taking notes, registering my comments.

I told her that I am calling the company sending the package never to use FEDEX again.

I am so annoyed and so are the dogs. They missed chasing another rabbit!