Tag Archives: everyone is stupid

Everyone Is Stupid

Earlier this year I organized our bag collection. We have grocery bags and tote bags and reusable bags and bags full of bags. If my goal was to have the most bags, I would be so happy.

I always feel bad bitching about my health insurance because I know so many people struggle with health care but I feel like my healthcare’s stupidity contributes to the problem.

My plan has a wellness program and I’m not completely sure how it works. The website is confusing to navigate and the information mostly incomprehensible. Sometimes when I login they tell me to complete a survey to get money I can use for health care. So I tell them that I eat salad and exercise.

They sent me a card and told me it had money on it. I didn’t need any health care at that time so I didn’t use it. Then I had a prescription, but I forgot about the card so I didn’t use it.

I did another program where I had to login, and go through multiple levels of authentication every day, to tell them I exercised. You know what? I exercise all the time and I really resent spending 10 minutes a day logging into a website to “prove” it. They put more money on my card. I understand I can also do a diabetes thing and a few things that aren’t applicable like have a baby or quit smoking.

I did some physical therapy earlier this year and used the card for my co-pays. Great, I guess this thing works.

Then I had a general physical which I didn’t think I needed since I am perfectly healthy but they were super aggressive about scheduling so I did it. (Do a search for “Do I need an annual physical?” and let me know if you come up with anything that says, OMG-yes, because I don’t think you will.)

And they did a whole bunch of tests because of course they do. And I got a bill because some of them weren’t covered. I went to the clinic to pay my bill and I thought I had a few bucks left on my “wellness” card so I asked them to try that and it covered the whole thing.

Huh. Okay.

TODAY — I got a letter in the mail asking me to provide all kinds of documentation from my appointment to prove those were covered charges on the wellness card.

Picture me in a rage with flames shooting out of my ears, because honestly, the amount that they covered does not cover the dollar value of my time to comply with their petty request. The card covered charges at the doctor. What else is the “wellness” card for? Not like I bought pizza and hookers – which of course now I wish I did.

If I thought I could go to the clinic and pay for the services and charge back the “wellness card” I would but I am certain that is more trouble than it’s worth so now I’m going to stew on it all weekend and then waste my time dealing with them.

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No One Wants A Check For A Dollar

Here’s a better photo of the front yard tulips. They’re kinda pretty but see photo below.

I’m too lazy to check my archives right now but I bet I have complained at least once a year about how much I hate filling out my Oregon tax form. I have even stated that they could keep their refund if they would exempt me from filling out that form.

I hated it just as much this year as I always do.

Look how beat up these tulips appear, bruised and moldy. Plus their green parts look all mangled.

When all was said and done they owed me $3.

I don’t need $3 plus if they give you a refund you have to calculate it on your next year’s tax form and there’s a place to add it in and then a place to take it out and then a place to add it back in. If there is a complex and ridiculous hoop to make the taxpayer leap through, Oregon is one to do it.

There is the option of donating your refund, but you have to fill out another form. I was so outraged I was going to make them give me the stupid $3 except, come on. I filled out another form.

Apparently I made a rounding error on my tax form which Oregon kindly fixed for me and then sent me a check for $1.

I hardly ever make risotto because I always expect it to be more trouble that it is.

This recipe for risotto with peas and sausage was in the NYT a couple of weeks ago. I’m trying to get the freezer cleaned out so I can defrost it and I had some sausages I wanted to use so this jumped out at me.

It came out fantastic even when I half-assed it. I was in a hurry. I had a soccer match on TV starting up.

If you haven’t made risotto, give it a shot. Even badly done, it’s good.

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The Squirrel Clown Car Continues

I’m sure you’ve been dying to hear how the squirrel story ended.

Me too!

To recap: three little squirrels arrived on Wednesday night.

None of the the things we did previously worked. Everything we did scared them into a little trembling fur ball back in the corner of the fireplace. They would carefully explore the edges of the fireplace but they would not come out.

I tried luring them out with carrot snacks. They weren’t going for it. I threw the carrot snacks in the fireplace when I closed it up Wednesday night. They were going to have to spend the night in there.

Later I told a friend about the carrots and he said: You have pet squirrels now.

On Thursday we all became more comfortable with each other. One of them came out of the fireplace and proceeded to escape the tunnel and explore the living room. Bob scared him and he ran back into the fireplace. Later I watched him go all the way to the front door and peek out. I grabbed the broom and in a split second he was back in the fireplace.

These little guys are dumb.

We went out and got a trap and set it in the fireplace – this was our last resort.

When we woke up this morning they had nibbled at the snacks, sprung the trap and were napping quietly under the grate.

That’s it! We have a life to live. We called an exterminator.

$250 to set the trap plus $100 per animal removed.

Okay, we’ll keep trying on our own.

It seemed like the only way to get them was to put on heavy duty gloves and yank them out — except there are three of them, so we weren’t sure how that was going to work and we weren’t in the mood to get bitten by a squirrel.

Meanwhile, I had called Chris to come over and cover the chimney. I asked him what he thought we should do. He went through all the things that we had already tried. We discussed and discarded some other ideas and settled on the shop vac.

Man, those things make a THWOP! sound when they go through the pipe.

Great news. We got all three. My fireplace was clean. We put them outside. Problem solved.

I cleaned up the giant mess from the tunnel. Vacuumed. Scrubbed everything around the fireplace. Put away all the implements we’d found to try to sweep them out, poke them out, scare them out, scoop them out, squirt them out, loud sound them out. My house was back to normal and I could relax.

Or could I?

Because a half hour later I came into the house to the sound of squeaking and a squirrel in the fireplace.

D’oh! I don’t know why it wasn’t obvious there’s a nest in there and now squirrely is trapped because we screened off the chimney.

We called a different exterminator who said we were doing everything right. Put the trap back in the fireplace. The squirrel has nowhere to go. We can get him.

So I reset the trap. Went outside to do yardwork.

Returned and checked the fireplace.

The peanuts were eaten. The trap wasn’t sprung. The squirrel has torn out huge pieces of the insulation from around the insert.

Like a horror movie, my next note will probably be written while I’m hiding under the bed, cowering from my squirrel overlord.

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The Good News is: I Finally Got A Decent Photo

Remember last Wednesday when traffic was terrible and I was all grumpy when I got home and then I was trying to relax and turned out there was another squirrel in the fireplace?

Oh no, the exact same thing didn’t happen. Yes traffic was terrible and I was all grumpy when I got home.

But this time there were THREE(!) squirrels in the fireplace.

At first I thought it was just 2. Then I opened the fireplace door and hollered, “THERE ARE THREE OF YOU?” and they all hid under the grate.

Nobody won.

Also these guys are squeaky. I’m kinda worried one might be hurt and that’s why they haven’t just ran off. These are also younger. I guess the first one must have put a sign up saying, “Super cool place to visit,” and then fell down the chimney and realized his mistake but didn’t want to go back and change the sign.

I did the whole tunnel and leave them alone routine. Heard nothing. Finally went out and checked and they are (as I write this) all cuddled together in one corner. No idea what the outcome is yet.

I contacted someone about covering the chimney asap. I didn’t realize this was an emergency project although I should have after round 2. I guess I’ll put on more protective clothing and find some leather gloves and see if I can get them out more actively.

I need another glass of wine first.

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I’m With Stupid

You’ll never guess who stopped by again.

I know this is a terrible photo because it captured nothing but it’s supposed to be a picture of the world’s most stupid squirrel crunched up under the fireplace grate.

Bob had a concert ticket and I was looking forward to an evening to myself. I was going to work on a new story idea.

Unfortunately, traffic was a living nightmare and I didn’t get home until late. I decided to do a short exercise class to relax and help with my ongoing back issues.

I was barely 20 minutes in when I heard an amazing racket. It was a squirrel in the fireplace.


There must be something going on up on the roof that makes the chimney seem attractive. We’ve been here for 18 years this month and we’ve never had a squirrel in the fireplace before and now we’ve had 2 in 10 days. Clearly we need to deal with this.


I did the same protocol as before except this time Squirrely would not budge. I tried new things like spraying water in there, shaking the grate, and making loud noises. Squirrely was hunkered down under the grate and wasn’t going to move. I finally left the room. (Meaning — front door open, fireplace open, tunnel built.) I answered email and made my dinner. Did some hand washing in the laundry room.

When I finally checked back I did not see his beady eyes. I shut the fireplace and the front door but left the tunnel in case I’m wrong. I would have preferred to witness his hairy ass hopping out the door but I think we’re in the clear for now and we’ll have to get some sort of squirrel guard for the chimney. And I will have to cash in my quiet evening at home later.

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Survey Says!

I’m generally a pretty laid back customer and it takes a lot for me to be genuinely upset about bad service and I’ve been on a roll with terrible service lately. I’m not going to do a whole laundry list because no one wants to listen to other people complain if they can’t share their own terrible service stories.

Here’s just one: Colleague and I went into a store and we had a bag from a competitor. The proprietor saw it and started lecturing us on why the competitor was no good and told we shouldn’t shop there anymore. I wouldn’t blame him for wanting to convince us to give his products a chance but tsk tsking us was not the way to go. By the time we got out of there we were really peeved.

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At The Office

Colleague: Did you take care of X?

Me: No. You said you were doing X.

Colleague: Did you give me the documents?

Me: Yes. I brought them into your office and said: here are the documents.

Colleague: Oh. Well, I wasn’t listening.

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Who Wants My Customer Feedback?

We get these legal books where they want you to buy a subscription and every year they send you an “update” that’s about 15 pages stapled together and costs $75. They are having a hard time making money since you can get all this stuff online for free. They also republish the entire book every few years and charged you $450 for a new one. I can’t find the post but last time we had to buy this book they forgot to publish part of it so they sent me some pages and told me to glue them in.

I cancelled the subscription for this one book and we received a notice that the 2015 update was available for $82.75 including shipping. I sneered but colleague told me to get it.

The notice said I could go online to get the book. First I had create an online profile. And pick some security questions. One of the questions was about partners at our firm and I gave the name of one of the Portland Timbers. I also said my grandmother’s name is Futty. Then I had to log in again using my new profile. Then when I tried to find where to order my book it told me that I took too long and had to log in again.

I said a lot of bad words during this entire process.

Then I logged back in and I could find my subscription but not how to actually get it. If I clicked on one thing a new window would pop open to say that that was my subscription. If I clicked on the other thing a new window would open and tell me what a subscription was.

I finally gave up and tried to call. The office was not open but please listen to the NINE (9) items on our menu. I made it through three.

This company does something called “risk assessment” and told me they produce accurate law books.


I’m still swearing this entire time. So then I decided to take my form and fax it to them — it said I could. And since it’s 2015 and NO ONE uses fax machines anymore except old people who don’t know any better, and risk assessment geniuses, I couldn’t remember how our fax machine worked so I had to input the phone number a couple of times because my session kept timing out.

Colleague grew tired of my exclamations to terrible people who fornicate with their mothers and shouted from behind the protection of his desk: “No update is worth this!” but I was DETERMINED to get him his damn $82.75 book (actually stapled together pages).

The fax went through. I’m sure we’ll never get our dumb stapled pages. But I bet we’ll get the bill.

I also gave them feedback on their website and the image above comes from their reply, letting me know my message was received.

Going to be offline for at least a week. Stay cool!

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Ma’am This *Is* Serious

I know what I’m about to tell you will strain reader credibility but for the third time since the beginning of the year, I have had an infirmity that kept me in bed for a few days.

I keep having issues with my back. I want to say all my clean living is for nothing but perhaps I would be a complete wreck if I didn’t do everything I’m doing.

My backpack was super heavy and I did something as I got on the bus — some combination of awkward bag holding, and awkward getting into the seat. When it was time to get off the bus I could barely walk. I hobbled up to the office and assumed I would shake it off.

I did not. I had to use the restroom which is down a long hallway and there was a point where I thought I wouldn’t make it. I felt okay sitting and that was about it.

Bob came and picked me up and I have spent the last few days in my bed desk, working from my laptop and hobbling around as needed. It’s terrible when I wake up but tolerable in the afternoon.

This morning I was in tears when I got up because I was all hunched over and unable to walk without hugging the furniture going on Day 4. I figured I was permanently broken and would have to quit work and cancel our vacation and never be able to clean my floors again.

I did what normally you should never do when you don’t feel right and I did a thorough online research project and learned that I was mostly approaching it right except I needed more patience and I needed more activity.

I did a 60 minute exercise class for tight low backs which was amazing. So I’m going to assume I’m on the mend and try to power through and move around more.

Other than cropping this is intentionally zero Photoshop.

One thing I’ve learned from being at home during the day more than usual the past several months, is that the strongly accented callers who want to warn you about your computer virus, call almost every day. No point in telling them to put you on the no call list. They don’t have one.

The last time I said to the woman: Seriously? There is no better way that you can make a living?

She said: Ma’am, this is serious.

The good thing about being trapped in a bed desk is I’m making steady progress on the Project of August. I’m slightly ahead of schedule but we’re out of town one weekend and I will take that weekend off rather than stress about writing on vacation.

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Two Cruds is Two Too Many Cruds

I ended up not getting very many good flower photos this year. It seems like whenever I was home, I was sick, it was raining, or the light was poop. And now the flowers are dried up or looking a little blown out. I think the ornamental cherry tree (I don’t actually know what kind of tree it is. I’ve been told more than once and my brain refuses to save that information) had blossoms for about 3 minutes that blew away at the first puff of wind.

Speaking of sick, remember a few years ago when I explained that I didn’t understand when people said, “I was sick and then I got sick again.” I always thought: how can you get sick again?

And then I got a never-ending cough, healed for about 2 weeks and got another never-ending cough.

Obviously that had to be a fluke.

Or was it?

Wednesday night when I came home I felt a little fuzzy in my sinus which usually indicates something is coming on. I felt gross when I woke up on Thursday. I thought: I feel sick. But I can’t be sick because I had the crud last month.

And off I went to work, figuring once I got out, had some tea, got to the office I would feel better.

Nope. I decided to leave early. 4pm. 3pm. 2pm.

I take a commuter bus that runs often during rush hour but only about every 50 minutes during the day. Meanwhile, co-worker returned after three days at home with his own case of the crud. He’s one of those people who never takes off work for being sick.

People: stay away from our office.

We were walking to lunch and I realized I wasn’t hungry. I was on the 12:45 bus. I was in my pajamas and back in bed by 1:45pm. After my nap I flopped on the couch with a fever and achy joints and whimpered quietly thinking: how can this be happening? I was already sick.

Fortunately, I slept about 12 hours and feel 90% better today. No fever. No aches. Just a stuffy head.

We better be done with this.

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