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Letters to Nowhere

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Here I sit all broken hearted..

Tried to Clean,
but barely started.

The neighbor is moving and her daughter is here for the moment while she takes a load of stuff to the new place.

Her daughter is a year younger than James. They are 7 and 8,respectively.

The two of them are co-operatively reading "Green eggs and Ham"

She is not a very good reader. James has gotten much better given he has dyslexia. So, under the guise of helping her read the book, he's reading every other page. Woo-Hoo a two-fer!

So, if you were able to phase out all the noise in my house and just listen to me.. well, I'd be in a strait jacket right now. I've been washing dishes and randomly yelling out things like .. "Them" wash, rinse.. wash, rinse, wash, rinse "house".

While organizing movies "is that a D or a B"

While cleaning out the cat box "Say! not see"

Damn, I know that book far, far, far too well. Of course reading it, overseeing the reading of it, and listening to it be read for the last year or so has permanently etched each word into my brain.

Still they are having fun, reading, and fairly quiet.. thank the gods.

The housework, however, is still not done.. sigh

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Did I say that?

I've been in Georgia way, way too long (almost 11 years). My once impeccable enunciation, and vocabulary (aka I could talk well) has suffered a slow creep of the Georgia accent.

I actually said: Swole up

As in, My son was stung by a bee, and his hand was "swole up". (ugh)

My son, who was born here, is hopeless.. He sounds more like Jeff Foxworthy's kid than mine. He sounds like that guy in the big bass fishing/NASCAR/Budwiser shirt they NEVER fail to show on the news after a tornado has been through a trailer park.

An example: One of his spelling words last night was "When"

Me: James, make a sentence using "when" and spell the word.

Son: You caint (can't with a long A) bring a when-meal (wind mill) enter (into) skool (there is no ch.. it's a hard K in school).

Me: Uh no.. that's a wind-mill.

Son: Oh well, what word are you try-un to say?

Me: I'm not trying. I'm saying. The word is "when", as in "when we move to civilization I hope you lose this accent"

Son: Ok. W-h-e-n spells when, rieght? (he somehow makes right into a two syllable word)

Me: Yes, son.. (cue the sound of redneck accent defeat)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The PayPal / Ebay saga..

On May 21st I bought a gown off of Ebay. On June 21st after numerous attempts to get the seller to respond to me I filed a "buyers protection" claim as the gown was not finished. TWO months later I was 'refunded' minus a processing fee that was never disclosed when I filed the complaint.

Yesterday I got this:

Dear Red Clover,

We understand that you may have initiated a dispute with a seller recently. We appreciate your cooperation during this process.

As part of PayPal's Commitment to excellence, we would like to ask you to take just a few minutes to answer questions regarding PayPal's dispute resolution process.

It was like Christmas came early. HELL YEAH I wanted to fill out a survey.

It had the usual fill in the circle somewhat satisfied, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied bubbles.

It also had 4 sections to free form in your thoughts on the process. Here is my letter to PayPal / Ebay.


I offered, in my original complaint, to send in photos of the garment to support my claim. Instead, I had to go through the hassle of finding someone who would write a letter stating that the garment was not finished (which would have been obvious in photos). The added expense and hassle alone will prevent me from trusting Ebay or Paypal with any transaction of more than a few dollars in the future.

The fact that it took two months to the DAY, combined with the above, gave me the impression that it was a willful attempt to make the process clumsy and drawn out in hopes of avoiding having to refund the monies I was due. The seller’s deadline to acknowledge of receipt of the returned goods expired two weeks before any other action was taken by PayPal.

As an added and dissatisfying surprise there was a $25 processing fee. When I initially tried to file my complaint with Ebay I was immediately directed to PayPal since they had collected the money. Paypal made no mention of any “service fee” until the claim had been resolved. When I followed the link of explanation I was sent back to Ebay. This waffling between parts of, what is in reality, the same company reinforced the feeling of intentional disinterest/misdirection. It is Ebay’s policy to charge a fee, but it wasn’t Ebay who handled my dispute as Ebay made forcefully clear when I tried to start the claim. That information should have been available on Paypals site as well. *Note: Your policy on processing fees changed with in 5 days of my complaint. In the event of a recent change in policy there should be a notification.

If anyone should have had to pay this fee it should have been the seller. I did not do anything wrong. I did not deceive a customer in regards to my product. It was adding insult to injury that I had to pay out of pocket to return the garment. In my opinion she should have had to pay any processing fees, as she was the one at fault.

My dissatisfaction in all areas of the complaint process will assure that I never use Ebay or Paypal for any transaction I deem important or of any real monetary value.


I doubt it will do any good.. But hey. Also if you use Ebay for purchases you might want to check out their "buyers protection" policy. Long story short.. if it costs more than $10 - $15, I wont be using Ebay.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

I'm not saying you're wrong...

Crape Myrtle
Originally uploaded by red clover.
I'm just saying I'm right.

Oh yeah, my beau LOVED that line when I fed it to him last night. *snicker*

He's Canadian.. no wait.. there's more. I know you just shook your head and thought "well, there ya go. You are a Southern woman, he's a Canuck. What do you expect?"

Both of us are, surprise surprise, a bit umm detail oriented aka geeky. (No comments from the YIM peanut gallery please. This is no life altering revelation to those of you that know us. ;)
As a result of our anal retentiveness cultural differences, we've many conversations on pronunciation and general 'what the hell are you talking about, what is that?'.

For example:

The pronunciation of the last letter of the alphabet. Is it Zee or Zed? Where I am it's Zee. The first time he said Zed my poor brain damn near backfired as I tried to figure out WTF he was trying to say!

There are so many things related to winter to leave me puzzled. What I consider to be winter and what he does are two different things.

Why do you have an electrical plug sticking out of the grill? .. So you can plug the car in? Do you have a hybrid? What do you mean it's a block heater? Don't you have anti-freeze in there? WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT GETS SO COLD ANTIFREEZE ISN'T ENOUGH, you live in the freaking MAUI of Canada!!" (please insert the rising tone of hysteria at the end.)

Toque.. what is a Toque?.. Oh you mean a knitted cap? Yes, that's what we call them. It's not a toque, it's a knitted cap.

Even vegitation is not safe. Do you know how hard it is to explain what Crape Myrtle tree, Kudzu, or Spanish Moss is to someone that's never seen it?

And then there's food. I don't know if I can live in a land that doesn't have hushpuppies (aka corn dodgers). No.. not shoes!

"So Jim he got out some corn-dodgers and buttermilk, and pork and cabbage and greens - there ain't nothing in the world so good when it's cooked right"

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1885.

Served most commonly with fried fish, which I don't eat incidentally, they are little balls of corn meal-ly goodness. Put some diced onion in the batter and, sweet mother of Abraham Lincoln, I could eat myself silly on just hushpuppies.

Thankfully that's about the only food I love that he doesn't understand. Other things he's not heard of are Okra, mustard greens, collard greens, black eyed peas. How do you manage to avoid being devoured by bears or gored by moose if you don't have the New Years feast of greens, black eyed peas and rice? (it's a superstitious luck/good fortune thing)

I'm telling ya.. if he'd have not known what Pecan or Key Lime Pie was this whole getting married thing might have been off. I'm just kidding honey! (sorta)

And for the record.. It's Zee

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Nostalgia Wars..

Slim Goodbody
Originally uploaded by red clover.
The next time you're sitting around with 3 or 4 friends that are roughly your age suggest a nostalgia war.

Basically, you pick a theme and try to remember things from when you were a kid (toddler to twelve-ish) that were associated with that theme.

The laughs, the memories.. priceless. You'll be surprised just how often you'll think/say "oh wow.. I'd forgotten all about THAT"

The bad part comes when you've gone around the group a few times; you're ready with your next nugget of memory and that heifer your friend says it first. Now your struggling to come up with something no one else has thought of.

We did this for HOURS as teens/early 20's adults, driving around, playing pool, swimming.. whatever Nostalgia Wars were a staple enjoyment for any gathering of friends.

So.. tell me.. do you remember:

Slim Goodbody?

Picture Pages with a young Bill Cosby?

Reading Rainbow: Levar before LeForge?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Happy Birthday Baby Bro..

My youngest brother turns 18 today. (Im almost 30) Instead of a family celebration he's in military college going through boot camp.

I'm very proud of him. I hate I wont be able to call and wish him a good one.

In a sibling recap..

Well, my oldest younger brother John died 10 months and 2 days ago of a drug overdose. He was 25. It still hurts, but at least the memories are not as painful. I can see the fun and love .. grief doesn't overshadow everything.

I miss you John.

My middle brother, 24, is going to be loosing the best thing he has in his life, His wife and daughter if he doesn't straighten up and fly right. A recent 3 days in county jail for DUI (he didn't even call her to tell her where he was) was probably the last straw. I can't blame her. Julia, you will always have a welcome waiting for you and the baby where ever I am.

My sister, 22, seems to be (finally) on the right track. She's given up coke .. cocaine that is.. after hitting bottom at 85 lbs. She still seems to have an affinity for men that use her as a punching bag. Her once flawless face has been scarred. I can only hope she can change things. I don't even know how to get ahold of her anymore. All she has is a cell she never answers.

Back to littlest brother... Josh, I'm proud of you for trying to get your life togehter. I can't even tell you how happy I am too see you going to college. You saw the light alot sooner than the others. I'm sure John's passing had much to do with that. I'm glad some good came of it. I'm always here if you ever need anything.

Happy birthday. >:D<

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Dear Red Cross

First let me thank you for the pure hilarity of getting to pass out juice and cookies at your last vampiric appearance at my work place.

I would like to say thank you for the opportunity to watch "manly" men turn green and, in two cases, faint. That alone was worth the torture of having to watch Brandon Frasier in The Mummy not once but twice.

I would like to make a few suggestions if I may..

You are in Georgia. Central Georgia, I might point out. I heard you lamenting the steadily dropping donation rates from men. I present to you..

Red's suggestions for more blood:

1. Set up shop inside a Hooters restaurant.

2. Instead of juice and cookies offer Budweiser and Moon Pies.

Special note: If you combine No. 1 and No. 2 you will have men that will allow you to take 2, hell, maybe even 3 pints at once.

3. Try to encourage younger, friendlier women to serve as the collection crew. Even I was turned off by Grandma Moses walking around holding what could have been a colostomy bag. Not an incentive to get men to show up frankly.

Just a few observations I had. Even still.. I'll volunteer again the next time you come... Just for the laughs.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Pain and disappointment

My wrist hurts. Hurts in the 'gimme some icy hot, 3 shots of tequila and a wrist brace' kinda way. So, there wont be much typing from me this weekend.

I ordered a sample of KY's warming massage oil from their website a few weeks ago. It arrived Thursday. I'm not impressed.

For the record the first complaint has NOTHING, nothing what so ever, to do with the second.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Dear Paper Products Fairy

I always knew you must exist. When I've told friends about you they have mocked me. Yet again tonight you choose to honor my home with your presence. I know you were here. The miracle has happened again.

Yesterday, when I used the next to the last paper towel on the roll I thought it might send out a cosmic vibration only you can hear. Today, when I used almost all of the toilet paper I wondered if your pager was sending a 911 TP to Red's house STAT.

Clearly these events did not go unnoticed by your eminence.

I know you exist. I believe! I know you MUST exist because, let's face it, eight year old boys do not replace the toilet paper roll.. nor do they get another roll of paper towels out of the closet and replace the empty roll. No, It's much more believable that there is a Paper Products Fairy. So, when moments ago I saw a new roll of paper towels in the kitchen, I gasped in unexpected glee. I had proof! Proof positive!!

Either that, or I'm raising a son that will make some future spouse gasp with delight... when she discovers the Paper Product Fairy has been by her house too. ;)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Counting the knives

My son has always been able to keep me on my toes. Always!

One night when he was 3 or 4 years old my cousin, Chris, and I had a friend over for dinner. James didn't know her name and couldn't seem to remember it when I told it to him. She became known as "lady".

Ever since James could talk any woman whose name he didn't know was "lady". This, undoubtedly, comes from me saying things like "do you remember the nice lady who helped you?" etc.

Anyway. We had steak for dinner. I cut James' up for him and set his plate. We all four sat down and started to eat.

James watched us adults sawing away with our steak knives for a few minutes in silence. Then he said it..

Him: Momma?

Me: Yes, James.

Him: (keep in mind he's three-ish) Uncle Chris got a knife. Momma got a knife. Lady got a knife. Where's James knife?

The funniest part of this little speech was the stress he put on "lady", as if to say 'mother! This veritable stranger at our table has a knife. Why, oh dear mother, do I not?'

This statement was met with three adults quickly swallowing to avoid spraying food in the face of the person opposite us as we laughed, and laughed. When I got myself under control I told him he didn't need a knife. I'd already cut up his food.

You could tell he was barely mollified by this logic.

Lately with the stress of going back to school James has begun having trouble sleeping. He has been thinking alot about his Uncle John. John passed away 10 months ago, and only days after great-grandpa.

I have not been able to comfort him as much as I'd like. I scheduled a meeting with the school counselor who referred James to a program designed for kids having emotional trouble with any number of issues. She is going to talk to him, and if he doesn't seem to have any improvement we can look into him seeing a therapist...

It breaks my heart to not be able to soothe his difficulty over John and grandpa's sudden deaths. The fact they both died in their sleep is probably a major factor in why James thinks of it most often in bed.

I don't want to ask him if he's afraid he might die in his sleep, because I don't want to plant that seed in his mind. Assuming of course, that isn't whats bothering him.

Hopefully, calling in the pros will help us both out.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Shotguns, underwear and the house wine of the south.

Some things are so "southern" that I forget they are not common everywhere. Take for example, Sweet Tea, House Wine of The South.

To demonstrate how vital sweet tea is to a southerner I'm going to tell you a story. I was 14ish when this happened.

I woke up from a nightmare one night and suddenly wondered if my father would hear me if I screamed. An important question to my then shaken, scrambled brain.

You know, it's a lot harder than you might think to psych yourself up to let out a blood curdling scream at 3 am for no good reason other than curiosity.

Five minutes later I worked up the nerve. I let loose a scream of primal, if feigned, terror. My heart was pounding as I waiting for my dad to bust in the room on full alert. And I waited.. And I waited. And, uh, waited. My father slept through it. Damn him!

A few months later I woke up thirsty in the middle of the night. I walked down the hall, into the kitchen, and poured myself a glass of tea. As I was leaving the kitchen the hall light came on. I rounded the corner to see........ my father. In his underwear. Holding the shotgun! We looked at each other in surprise. "Hi dad", I say.

To which he replies, "I thought someone had broken in". My come back, "I doubt the tea is high on the list of 'To Steal'."

We broke the uncomfortable eye contact and both went to our rooms.

Sooo.. I, my father's only child, a daughter he loves like life itself, can loose a bowels-to-water scream in the dead of night, That, THAT he sleeps through. But may the Gods have pity on your soul if you try to get the Sweet TEA!

That's how important Sweet Tea is .. in the south.

Monday, August 08, 2005

If you say so, sir

I received a call today from a customer that was not happy with one of my companies commercials.

Me: Thank you for calling ABC insurance. How may I help you?

Him: (agressive and angry) I just wanted to call to say I hate "commercial name". I think it is the stupidest commercial I've ever seen. I can't believe you paid someone to come up with that.

Me: I'm sorry you feel that way sir. I'll certainly pass your opinion on to management.

Him: (starting to calm down but still going strong) Good. You tell them that if ANYBODY calls you as a result of that commercial they HAVE to be a f**king idiot.

Me: Yes sir. I'll tell them you called. Let me repeat your complaint back to make sure I have it correctly. You think the commercial is "stupid" and not a good investment for our advertising money. You also think anyone that calls ABC insurance as a result of seeing the commercial is an idiot.. Is that right?

(Silence.. shocked silence.. I could hear the hamsters frantically running in the wheels of his mind. I could almost hear him thinking "wait a minute.. I just called .. as a result of seeing the commercial")

Him: (cue the sound of defeat) Um.. yeah. It's just not a good commercial.

Me: Was there anything else you wanted to add? I can take your name and number and have someone call you back if you like.

Him: (now sounds 85 and confused) Uh.. no .. that's all. {click}

Somedays I don't even have to TRY. They figure it out on their own.

Find a guy...

who calls you beautiful instead of hot.
who calls you back when you hang up on him.
who will stay awake just to watch you sleep.

Wait for the guy...
who kisses your forhead.
who wants to show you off to the world even if you are in your sweats.
who holds your hand in front of his friends.

Wait for the one who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares about you and how lucky he is to have you.
Wait for the one who turns to his friends and says, "...that's her."

I did .. thankfully

I despise "send this back to me if you're my friend" crap you get in email and messenger. So I'm not sending it on, sending it back, forwarding it, adding my name to the bottom and taking one off the top, making a wish, counting to ten, saving some 3rd world kid's puppy from the meat market.

I'm just posting it here.. because it made me smile.. and thankful.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Paper bags, Boyfriends, and Old age...

My son and I were lounging on the couch yesterday when he announces a Tickle Fight..

Me: Boy, you couldn't fight your way out of a wet paper bag.

Him: looking puzzled.. sure I could.. just tear it down the side.

Point taken. I love my kid.

Combining Boyfriends

This is a 'game' my cousin Chris and I play from time to time. What trait from this or that boyfriend would you combine with yet another boyfriend to make the perfect man.

This game is best played when single. Because then you don't have to worry about telling your current boyfriend how he did. Sigh.. I played. I told my beau. Is there anything I wouldn't tell this man?

It's a good thing, really it is, it's called trust.. respect.. a lack of fear. Thank the gods I found a man that is my equal.

Old age has struck. My poor Luna (aka Luna-tic), my 13ish year old cat is losing her teeth. This has resulted in me having to modify her diet.

Wet cat food... UGH.. Wet pet food is not the best thing for your pets. It does almost nothing to help with tartar or bad breath. But I love her.

So she gets 1/3 cup of dry kitten food.. soaked.. mixed with a 1/3rd a can of wet cat food.

The worst part? Wet cat food makes the stool smell even more strongly. It's a good thing I love this cat.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I miss my writers bump...

There was a time.. In the dark years.. (kids cover your eyes) before computers were main stream (gasp)... when you could tell people of words.

You could tell by looking at the second or third finger of (generally) the right hand.

There was... *insert heroic music here* a writer's bump.

I remember sitting in a coffee shop idly watching a man talk with his hands. His second finger had the tell-tale mark of a man of many, and probably, well written words. The callous like bump on the finger said as much.

I have always written.. I've written my letters to nowhere in times of sress, I've had penpals across the US and one in France. I consider a typed personal letter to be a sin ranking higher than .. oh I don't know.. spitting on elderly people.

As I was writing a Thank You note, on my best stationary, to Bettie at HOUSE OF HINES. I started to feel a bit of pressure in the spot where my, now extinct, writers bump used to be.

Oddly enough, I felt a sense of true loss. An era has passed.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Dear Lady walking down the street:

When I saw you this morning, as I do most mornings, walking briskly with your weights in hand I was a bit taken aback by your rather.. er.. interesting choice of clothing combinations.

The mid-calf periwinkle skirt was .. unusual for exercising. The royal purple shirt was an .. er.. interesting choice to pair with it. At least I could (remotely) justify the fact both were (kinda) a shade of purple.

However, the neon LIME GREEN straw hat was what made me question your sanity.

Please be considerate of us drivers who may not be able to resist the tidal like pull of gravity as our heads swivel away from the road, totally out of our control, to gawk at this demented color combination.

I much prefer the paint stained sweats you usually wear.

Red Clover