The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

Month: May, 2007

white on white


white on white, originally uploaded by Big DumpTruck.

I got to be a chaperone today! We went to Sturbridge Village today with all the third graders from Junior’s school…that was five busses worth. I only had Junior and his best bud to watch over, so the three of us basically did whatever we wanted to do. THAT is a great school trip…I felt like I had basically just taken the two of them out to do fun stuff for the day. Plus, as a bonus, I got to ride on the bus there and back!

Here’s a photo I took today. I’m getting so much better at this photography stuff, if I do say so myself. Maybe someday I’ll get some of this printed and my home can be filled with original artwork. Or something like that.

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Customer Service and Phone VRS Heck

I just want to vent for a moment.

Oh, before we get going, VRS is Voice Response System. Or Voice Recognition System. I don’t actually know if that’s the generic name for it, but it’s the system where you are asked to enter account numbers, or say random things out loud before someone will connect you to a human at a company. Sometimes I’m okay with them, but other times, well…

I had to call the claims people for my flexible spending account. That’s the account where you can have money taken out of your check pre-tax for approved medical/prescription expenses. The website for my FSA company has a link that they say you can use to order the non-prescription covered items (Claritin, Prilosec, etc.) and that online store will automatically send them the invoice to process the claim. It’s been a couple of weeks and there’s no sign of the claim, so I want to know if I need to send one in manually.

The VRS asks for my account number, which it very nicely lets me punch in on the phone. But then it makes me say my birth date out loud. Um, why can’t I punch THAT in? I’d rather say my account number out loud than my birth date! Then it makes me answer questions, all of them out loud. I must sound great to the people within earshot. Why can’t they have the “Enter or say “one” for Yes” type of prompts. Okay, so I get past that and tell them what department I want, so I’m transferred.

Now in this new system, I have to re-enter my member number. Crap, I’d put the card away. At least this time I can just punch in my birth date. I press zero to talk to a human. A good 3 minutes after starting the call, I get one.

“Hi this is Angie, can I get your member number?”
“I’ve already entered it twice”
“Oh, you didn’t come up on my system.”
I mumble out my number.
“I suppose you already entered your birth date too, huh?”
I mumble that one out as well.

I explain the issue and she tells me she’s going to connect me to the company that actually handles these claims for them. Fine. I’m off to another company. They don’t need my birth date. They can’t find anything for me in the system. I am put on hold. For a minute. Turns out these people don’t handle the OTC claims, only the prescription ones.

“I TOLD the person who connected me it was OTC!”
“Well, you’ll have to call them back, we don’t handle that at all. Sorry!”

I call the FSA company back again…and Oh My God I have to go through the SAME HOOPS to get to the claims group again.

“This is Angie, can I have your member ID?”
“Hi Angie, you just transferred me to another company a couple of minutes ago.”
Her response is very cold. “I haven’t transferred anybody. May I have your member ID?”
“Wow, there must be two people named Angie in your department answering calls from people with FSA Claims issues.” I give her my number.
“I’m sorry, can you give me that number again?”

If you are keeping count, I have now provided my member ID number a grand total of seven times on two phone calls. WHAT THE HELL?!

“This” Angie has more information about how the OTC plan works, but she also seems completely unfamiliar with her company’s website, which contains a link to a special drugstore.com site that I’m supposed to use if I want my purchases automatically sent to the insurance company as an FSA claim. She thinks the problem is that the OTC website never asked for my member ID. As if that’s something I have any control over. “I can connect you to the department that handles the website.”

“I’ve already spent enough time dealing with this today.”

People, if I can give you three pieces of information to make me not hate dealing with your company:

1. Do NOT make me enter my account number/member ID more than once per call. If you cannot transfer the call when you transfer the record, do NOT ask me for the number until after you’ve transferred me. There was no point in me even entering it the first two times on each call.
2. If you have two people at your call center with the same first name working the same shift, make one of them use a different name, or use a last name. There’s no way I’m going to believe I was talking to two different people, and getting snotty with me is NOT appropriate.
3. Never ever NEVER EVER make me say things other than yes or no out loud. Ever. How DARE you make me announce my birth date in public! Pressing numbers on the keypad that correspond with certain answers is plenty easy enough to do.

So I still don’t have a clear answer. I’m not happy with the hoops I had to jump through twice for a non-answer, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to call them back to complain about the lack of info on the website or the horrible VRU experience and have to say my birth date out loud for the third time today.

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You Really Need a Laptop and a Wireless Router

I’m sitting out on my deck, drinking a Coffee Coolatta, and I can’t think of a better way to spend the afternoon. Well, okay, I can think of a couple of better ways, but those cost money and involve being inside a mall. The breeze is what is making this a great afternoon to sit out on the deck. I highly recommend you run out and get the things mentioned in the subject of this post, and then you can write to me to tell me how great it is at your house!

Unless you live in the southern hemisphere, in which case I’m really sorry, I don’t mean to make you feel bad.

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Flickr Users Will Understand

If you aren’t a regular user of Flickr, this will mean nothing to you. But for those who know, I noticed this morning that my badge over there on the right had a 4th circle, indicating that one of my photos was showing on the Explore pages. I’m interesting! I can’t tell you how hard it is to make that list. Most of the people on it are normally very very VERY good photographers. Or lucky.

Now my interestingness photo is from a long while ago, but I’m okay with that. It’s a photo from the Whalom Park group, of the Comet, and right now (Sunday Morning) it’s on this page:
http://flickr.com/explore/interesting/2005/2/14/page13

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A Thousand Freaking Degrees

I am working from home today because I HAVE A REALLY NICE BOSS [*waves*]. Except it’s about 95 degrees outside so I can’t even go play outside. I was going to buy some flowers and plant them but I do NOT like 94 degrees so I’m in the house, working.

If Junior didn’t have a baseball game tonight I probably would have driven to the beach or something. Ya, because this body needs to be SEEN! Oh wait, no, strike that.

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dirty lips – terra cotta


dirty lips, originally uploaded by Big DumpTruck.

My sister has terra cotta planters shaped like heads. So she’s got a head with chives growing out of it. (They make lovely hair). I took a picture of one, but when I went to process it in Lightroom, I realized that the lips were the most interesting part of the photo, because of the dirt on them. The longer I looked at the photo, the more “real” the lips looked to me.

Anyhoo, thought I’d share this one from my flickr pool with you.

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Where Are the Lobster Donuts?

You know, how sometimes you link hop on the internet and end up on the Dunkin Donuts website? Ya, that happens to me all the time. So I looked up one of my favorite flavors, and found out something truly startling. STARTLING! Are you ready?

Chocolate Cream Filled Donuts do not contain crustaceans.

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My Fears Have a Name

I know that it’s probably pretty easy to give a formal name to phobias. Some of them look completely made up, but I’m sure there’s a committee somewhere that reviews all the new phobia name requests. “Fear of damp sponges. Ah, I’m going to have to pass on that one.

But we do have lutraphobia, which is fear of ottors, and linonophobia, a fear of string. The poor folks with Optophobiaor the fear of opening your eyes, must have a really hard time in the morning.

I should not be making fun of people who have melanophobia, or fear of the color black, because I have a couple of phobias myself. And I’m talking about real phobias, that affect my ability to function on some level, on an ongoing basis. Three of them are related.

I see the following as being tied together, especially the first two.
Lilapsophobia – fear of tornado or hurricanes (the tornado part – I’m okay with hurricanes for the most part)
Astraphobia – fear of thunder and lightning
Thanatophobia – Fear of death/dying

My other big ones are Scelerophibia – Fear of burglars. This one can keep me awake at night. You’d think I’d just buy an alarm system and be done with it, wouldn’t you? And tied to the lightning and thunder is Ligyrophobia, fear of loud noises. When I was in college, I would absolutely freak out when I knew they’d be testing the fire alarms in the middle of the night. I’d sleep in my clothes. Not pretty, huh?

So is that admitting too much to you guys?

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Stormy Weather

Forgive the yelling, but the National Weather Service is all about the caps, and I am just copying and pasting.

Just yesterday I was telling people that one of my biggest phobias is fear of bad weather. Driving in a thunderstorm can reduce me to tears. A tornado warning puts my blood pressure into the stratosphere. So this is what I just read.

…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 330 PM EDTFOR CENTRAL WORCESTER COUNTY…AT 252 PM EDT…NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO INDICATE A LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING PENNYSIZE HAIL…AND DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THESE STORMSWERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM CLINTON TO WORCESTER…ORALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM 7 MILES SOUTHEAST OF LEOMINSTER TOWORCESTER…MOVING EAST AT 35 MPH.SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WILL BE NEAR… BOLTON…NORTHBOROUGH AND BERLIN BY 300 PM EDT…A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 600 PM EDT WEDNESDAY EVENING.

This is part of the the current warning for Leominster:

IN ADDITION TO LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS…CONTINUOUS CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING IS OCCURRING WITH THIS STORM. MOVE INDOORSIMMEDIATELY! LIGHTNING IS ONE OF NATURES NUMBER ONE KILLERS.REMEMBER…IF YOU CAN HEAR THUNDER…YOU ARE CLOSE ENOUGH TO BE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING.

Well now, that’s just what I needed to hear!!!

Actually, I was on the phone with Mr. Dump (he was using a cordless). He’s working from home and told me that right before one lightning strike that seemed VERY close, he felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up. I would need a lot of medication right now if I were at home. I would also be in the basement, crouched in the corner, wimpering.

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Worst News of the Day

The news that Opie and Anthony were given a one month suspension for something one of their guests said on A SATELLITE NETWORK THAT DOES NOT HAVE TO CONFORM TO FCC RULES has blown my head clear off my body.

I’m very very unhappy. Very.

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