Downtime – part 2

In my last post, I recounted an experience I had for about 6 months. It was an agonizing way to live if you call it living.

Some examples of issues I had:

1. Food was almost tasteless and when I did eat, I felt worse and worse with each bite.

2. As a Swede, I should have enjoyed a morning cup of coffee but I quit having coffee cold turkey.

3. I would enjoy in the past making flavored drinks with Crystal Light mixes. I couldn’t enjoy those at all.

4. Honey Bunches of Oats was a favorite for breakfast and I had to choke it down and couldn’t finish the last few morsels because it was too sweet.

5. My biggest pain was heartburn that raged all day everyday and would barely allow me to sleep.

6. I would sometimes feel a little better when we would leave our apartment to run an errand or go to a doctor appointment. But not all the time. Worry consumed my thoughts.

7. My belief system was of no use to me. I couldn’t pray or read the Bible. Attending church was impossible even though I tried to go a few times. Those times were unbearable. I was barely able to maintain my work at the church as an IT support consultant.

8. The holidays were a nightmare for me. Thanksgiving and Christmas were activities to be endured not enjoyed.

9. The new year dawned with no apparent changes in sight for me. Finances were in question as our resources dwindled to almost nothing.

So, what finally brought me out of the wilderness of this depression and despair? I was offered the opportunity to get away for a while to visit friends and family in Southern California. The expenses were partially covered by others who wanted to see us and celebrate my wife’s birthday. I had rejected taking the trip in January 2017 but was finally cajoled into the trip in the first week of February 2017.

Inexplicably, I began to feel a little better each day on the trip. The first day’s drive was not much different than the day before as far as how I was feeling physically and spiritually and mentally. I was a bundle of nerves as I expected the worst in each traffic jam we encountered. I was sure we were going to be in a major pileup as we traveled the 405 in West LA all the way to Huntington Beach which was our destination.

We did arrive safely with the great assist of having a car pool lane to stay out of the backed up midday traffic which was as bad as it could be.

I was very relieved when we finally arrived.  The healing was beginning even though I didn’t know it was occurring.

After two days of visiting with our close friends, I was really beginning to feel like my old self again. Then, another trip was required on the LA freeways and more carpool lanes saved us again.

We visited with my wife’s sister and husband and then got to our hotel. I noticed my energy returning with each passing hour.

More visits to other friends and family made up the next few days. We visited old neighborhoods where we had lived – seeing schools that had been attended by my wife and going by the church we were married in. We also visited the cemeteries where both sets of our parents were buried and also the gravesite of one of our dear friend’s whose funeral we were not able to attend last year.

It is strange how precious that time was for both of us and my brother and sister-in-law who were with us. An extra special treat that day was a lunch at one of our favorite steakhouses in Covina.

Our trip also included a movie that was very very good -A Dog’s Life. Since we are dog people and always have been, the movie was another capstone in my healing. It was so good to feel healthy emotions again.

Our trip was almost over. Before we left, we both were excited to be heading home to pick up our dog, Chewie, who was being taken care of by our daughter. She was a major influencer in getting me to agree to the trip as was my son. They both gifted us with gift cards to help with expenses of the trip. Most of all, my wife’s brother and his wife were the reason we could make this trip.

The return trip began at 2:00 am so we could avoid So Cal rush hour traffic and we missed Sacramento morning rush hour as well. We were exhausted but glad to be home.

Healing continued and soon I was back at full speed and being blessed by God again in a new way. I had weathered the storm in my life. My wife was a rock through all of this downtime. She has put up with my highs and lows through our soon to be 45th year of married life and from our beginning together as husband and wife in 1972.

I have not deserved her faithfulness to me but God has truly made her the helpmate I have needed through all of our years together. I have to give her my love and dedication to try to never allow myself to go through this downtime again.

Words pale in comparison to what a blessing she is and has been to me. Her attitude is amazing and I love her very very much.

I wish you the same blessing in your relationship and a belief that God is the great Physician.

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Where to retire?

This too funny -I had to post.

Very funny!!!!!

Subject: WHERE TO RETIRE?
 

You can retire to Phoenix, Arizona where….

1. You are willing to park three blocks away from your house because you found shade.

2. You’ve experienced condensation on your rear-end from the hot water in the toilet bowl.

3. You can drive for four hours in one direction and never leave town.

4. You have over 100 recipes for Mexican food.

5. You know that “dry heat” is comparable to what hits you in the face when you open your oven door at 500 degrees.

6. The four seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??
OR

 

You can retire to California where…

1. You make over $450,000 and you still can’t afford to buy a house.

2. The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway.

3. You know how to eat an artichoke.

4. When someone asks you how far something is, you tell them how long it will take to get there rather than how many miles away it is.

5. The four seasons are: Fire, Flood, Mud and Drought.

 

OR

 

You can retire to New York City where…

1 You say “the city” and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan.

2. You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus Circle to Battery Park, but can’t find Wisconsin on a map.

3. You think Central Park is “nature.”

4. You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multilingual.

5. You’ve worn out a car horn. (IF you have a car.)

6. You think eye contact is an act of aggression
OR

 

You can retire to Minnesota where…

1. You only have three spices: salt, pepper and ketchup.

2. Halloween costumes have to fit over parkas.

3. You have seventeen recipes for casseroles.

4. Sexy lingerie is anything flannel with less than eight buttons.

5. The four seasons are: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road repair.

6. The highest level of criticism is “He is different,” “She is different,” or “It was different!”
OR

 

You can retire to The Deep South where…

1. You can rent a movie and buy bait in the same store.

2 “Y’all” is singular and “all y’all” is plural.

3. “He needed killin” is a valid defense.

4. Everyone has two first names: Billy Bob, Jimmy Bob, Joe Bob, Betty Jean, Mary Beth, etc.

5. Everything is either: “in yonder,” “over yonder” or “out yonder.”

6. You can say anything about anyone, as long as you

say “Bless his/her heart” at the end!
OR

 

You can move to Colorado where…

1. You carry your $3,000 mountain bike atop your $500 car.

2. You tell your husband to pick up Granola on his way home, so he stops at the day care center.

3. A pass does not involve a football or dating.

4. The top of your head is bald, but you still have a pony tail.
OR

 

You can retire to Nebraska or Kansas where…

1. You’ve never met any celebrities, but the mayor knows your name.

2. Your idea of a traffic jam is three cars waiting to pass a tractor.

3. You have had to switch from “heat” to “A/C” on the same day.

4. You end sentences with a preposition; “Where’s my coat at?”

 

OR

 

FINALLY you can retire to Florida where…

1. You eat dinner at 3:15 in the afternoon.

2. All purchases include a coupon of some kind – even houses and cars.

3. Everyone can recommend an excellent cardiologist, dermatologist, proctologist, podiatrist, or orthopedist.

4. Road construction never ends anywhere in the state.

5. Cars in front of you often appear to be driven by headless people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you need a consultant?

Why would you decide to bring in someone to help you with a problem or a new project in your business or your personal computer struggles?

Let me give you some reasons from my perspective:

  1. A software upgrade is being planned and you need a project manager to run it who is going to be able to honestly and thoroughly get you through the project to a successful conclusion.
  2. Hardware problems and other infrastructure issues are beyond your staff’s capabilities or their time to address them.
  3. Vendor management is not being addressed by your company because of lack of time or not having the knowledge of what is possible to accomplish.
  4. Productivity is lagging because technology is not being used to its fullest extent. Again, a lack of vision is usually to blame. ” We can’t get things done any faster than we are today. Don’t try to make us learn something new. “
  5. Finally, is security on your dashboard or important to you and you know you are vulnerable to a disastrous attack by viruses or hacking.

You are in great need of help if you have concerns in 2 of these areas. Planning to address these at a later time when you can dedicate your attention to those areas often means they will never be addressed.

Consultants have the experience you need to protect your investment in your business and help you with these areas.

Find the right one to take on these important tasks and you will rest easier.

A great resource to find a great consultant with vast experience is LinkedIn. There are others as well so don’t think you will be limited to that site only.

Give two or three a chance to present proposals to you or just get a recommendation from another business acquaintance. Check references and backgrounds to make sure they will be able to work with you and your staff.

Get ready, get set and you will be pleased with the result I am sure.

 

Technology of Theology 

Have you ever tried to read the Bible? Maybe or maybe not. An app you should investigate is known as You Version. 

This app will let you download multiple versions of the Bible and for some you can have the app read the passage to you. 

It also has daily reading plans in a wide variety of topics. Check it out!!!!!

“Microsoft Complete” Customer Support – NOT!!!!!

Here is a saga of great frustration with Microsoft Complete customer service on a laptop ( a Dell Inspiron 15 with an AMD CPU, 15.6 ” touchscreen, 8 GB memory and 1 TB hard drive ) I purchased in June of last year – 2016. By the way, I paid about $130 for this 2 year support agreement on both hardware and software.

I had ignored the fact that the Wi-Fi connection would not connect until this week. I know that was stupid but I thought I was doing something wrong – not that it was a hardware failure.  I final decided to deal with this beginning on February 27, 2017. I spent 5 hours on the phone in total on that 1st day while having a Microsoft technician remote into my laptop using my hardwired connection to my router at home.

He ran the same diagnostics that I had. I must have told my story over 5 times to various people I talked to on my calls that day. I was given two choices to resolve my hardware problem.

  1. Take my laptop to one of four stores in the Bay area – a distance of 100 – 125+ miles one way for me from a suburb of Sacramento, CA. I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a store in the state capital area! They would repair it or replace for an additional fee. I was also told there might be a deductible of $50-100.
  2. Send my laptop in and wait 2-8 weeks for it to be returned to me. LOLROFL!!!!

I talked to the support line twice on the February 28, 2017 ( the next day ) but wasn’t able to hear or understand what was being said to me. So, the gentleman I was speaking with last that day said that he would call me at 8:00 AM my time on Wednesday. Needless to say he did not call at 8:00 AM. I was able to get through to someone who explained he was the only one taking calls to tier 3 and had to take inbound calls and couldn’t call me because of this.

I COULDN’T BELIEVE THAT MICROSOFT WAS SO LEANLY STAFFED THAT THEY ONLY HAD 1 PERSON AT THE TIER 3 LEVEL TO DEAL WITH UNHAPPY CUSTOMERS. WOW!!!!!

As a result, I decided to contact the closest store and see what my options were if I brought it into them.  The manager I spoke with was very accommodating and I made an appointment to meet her at her store on Friday early afternoon in Corte Madera which is near Santa Rosa on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge – a 200 mile round trip..  Her name is Addy. I would recommend her very highly because she was someone at Microsoft who really seemed to care about my concern.

She offered to get me the best price she could on a replacement laptop as mine was no longer available. I was going to pay about $50 to get a new one which was equivalent in features.

Later on Wednesday afternoon, I was contacted by a “manager over tier 3 – Microsoft Complete support”. He offered me the option to do what is called an advanced exchange. If I sent my laptop to them, they would send me a replacement once they knew mine was en route. I was able to print a label that night and packed my system in the original packaging and took it to the UPS store near me the next day – Thursday, March2, 2017. I received a tracking number for my laptop I was returning which I followed. I did not received the promised replacement laptop Saturday,

March 4,2017 at all. That replacement laptop was never sent! I should have kept the appointment I had made with store in Corte Madera and ended it there. But, hindsight is always better than foresight, right?

If you feel like I do, this is a reason to believe all of the other similar stories I have found on the Internet about Microsoft’s poor commitment to fulfilling their responsibility to its customers.

As much as it is my power to do so, I will never buy another hardware product from Microsoft. I wonder if they support their own hardware like the Surface platform, or the Windows phone or Xbox. Comments are very welcome and share this story everywhere you can.

I will comment if and when I receive what was promised me. I have tried to contact the person who promised me the replacement 12 times since our initial conversation with no success or answers to my voicemails. I also spoke with the manager I was potentially going to visit and she said she would do her best to help me.

It is so bad that I would almost encourage my clients to drop Microsoft’s products from their systems and go to Linux and Google apps or move to Apple exclusively for hardware and software. I always said I would never buy an Apple product due to their excessive pricing. Maybe never was too harsh on Apple. I was forced to get an iPhone but that’s another story. I am adjusting to it and feel there is a lot to be learned about things IOS will let you do vs. an android phone.

I will be sending a copy of this post to every on-line community I can find and expose Microsoft every chance I get!!!! Figuratively speaking – I would camp out on their executive offices and protest vigorously about their inability to solve customer’s issues.

I finally received the replacement laptop promised after 10 business days from start of support call to arrival of the system. This resolution time is absolutely unacceptable.

Do you agree? Somehow I finally got the attention to get this sent to me but they delayed for so long that they could not get it to me overnight so I would receive it on March 9th.

The person I was talking to starting Wednesday – March 8, through the 9th and 10th – was the same person who did the remote diagnosis on Monday, February 28, 2017. Unbelievable!!!!!

I believe Microsoft Store executives should apologize for their inability to meet “Microsoft Complete” customer’s expectations of a 24/7 response and this should have been resolved on the first time I CALLED!!!!!

My new address for e-mail will no longer be an outlook.com address but an icloud.com one. I will continue to detail this experience on every Microsoft related forum I can find. So far that list is – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and I intend to post it in Microsoft Community Forums as well. The Microsoft Community frequently does not answer queries with complete answers or links to solutions. Terrible user support in these forums just like I received by phone.

I have to say that the laptop I received was a far better one than the one I purchased. The initial laptop had a retail price of $699 and the replacement was a list price of $1099.

This was the only thing that went my way in this whole experience.

I hope no one else I know has customer support failures like mine. There are many more stories like mine that I have heard unfortunately..

The lesson I learned from this is “Don’t take no for an answer or a ridiculous requirement for long distance travel or deductibles that shouldn’t be required. Use every avenue that you can find to escalate the problem within the company that is failing you.”

 

 

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