Tuesday, April 28, 2015

And... That's Progress !

The other day I called my bank to speak to my financial advisor.  I wanted to go over my accounts and talk about a few other things.  Easy, right. ?

Seven phone calls, two days, transferred several times and put on hold for 20 minutes, I finally booked an appointment.

I knew I something was up when I called "my person" at the bank and the recorded message said "you have reached a number no longer in use".  Hmmm... Tried the number again, and got the same message, with a name and number of another person at the branch to call or to call the 1-800 to book an appointment.   I am one of those who like to call a number that has a name attached to it first, so I called that number and got voicemail stating I would get a call back within 24 hours.    24 hours came and went, so I called the the 1-800 to see where I would get.

The 1-800 tells me "my person does not exist in the bank directory - did I call the right bank?" --- I laughed.... seriously, I say ???  I have been dealing with my person for over 15 years!  I asked the person on the other end of the phone where they were located.  Located over 500 km from my local  branch and where I live, at a call centre who now books appointments for the local branch.  The new and improved process they say.  They transfer me to the 2nd person I had originally tried to get hold of, only to get their voicemail again.  Okay, so I'm now starting to get a little frustrated.  I used to be able to call "my person", leave a message, get a call back within couple hours and have an appointment booked.

I now leave second voicemail asking if "my person" still works there and if not, would like to book an appointment and meet the person who is now taking over my account.  I get a call back within a couple of hours and she sounds stressed and tells me she can't help me because she is going on vacation for two weeks.  She tells me to call someone else at the branch, and gives me another name and number to call.  I ask her if she is taking over my account.  She tells me "my person" retired two months ago and they are scrambling to sort things out and still doesn't know who is doing what.    I call the new number she gives me, only to get voicemail, stating if I want to book an appointment to call the 1-800 number !!!    Are you laughing now ??   I feel like I'm living one of those comedy routines you listen to on T.V.

I've gone around full circle now.  I live in a small town, and it would have been faster to walk over to the bank and book the appointment myself in person.

You guess it, I call the 1-800 number again, to book an appointment.   I get  "young and nervous voice" on the line and say I want to book an appointment with "Jude" at my local branch.  Sure he says, I can help you with that.  Why do you want to book an appointment?  I say I want to go over my accounts and meet the person who has taken over my account.  "Ok", he says and puts me on hold for 20 minutes.   I am usually a pretty patient person, and have been told at times I have the patience of a saint, but after all of a this my patience was now running rather thin.   He finally comes back on the line, only to tell me he can't help me and transfers me to someone else !  So, now I am talking to another young but arrogant know-it-all voice, who says "how can I help you?"  I again, say I am trying to book an appointment with a person at my local branch to review my account.  She interrupts me and says "oh, you want re-finance your mortgage".   What? I say, I never said that, I just want to book an appointment.  And proceed to tell her what I have been through to book an appointment and how disappointed I am with the service.   She tells me this is their new improved process with consolidating departments/call centres and this is how it will be going forward.  I tell her this is anything but improved.  To which she answers "I am sorry, YOU, feel that way", "Is there anything else I can help you with today?" (like she even cares !).

I finally get my appointment booked !!!  Now I am afraid to change it, in case I have to go through this process all over again.

This experience has given me second thoughts now if I want to continue dealing with this major bank.  When I finally do get to meet this new person at my local branch, I will be telling her how their new and improved service is working.  :)

The company I currently work for is starting to consolidate departments and have "call centres".  I sure hope we don't become like the bank.

This all sounds funny now, as I am writing, but wasn't funny while it happened.   It reminds me years ago when the major telephone company in Canada called Bell Telephone got an automated attendant called "Emily".

AND..... THIS, my friends is called Progress !!!!!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Knitting Tip : Circular Needles

I used to like knitting with circular needles and over the years slowly have built up my collection for each knitting projected I embarked on.  I kept them in their original packages, neatly coiled for easy storage.

When I went to use them again the plastic string would stay coiled up and would irritate the heck out of me.  My work would twist and I would fight with the needles.  They would have a mind of their own and go in opposite directions.   The effort to knit with these coiled up needles, overtook my desire to knit with them when my hands became sore from fighting with the needles.

So, what to do with these needles all packaged up nice and neat?    Click on the link ( Pinterest via ) on how to uncoil circular needles.   I saved this pin for using at another time and then promptly forgot about it.   Recently I decided to try knitting lace shawl, which required using the circular needle and was browsing my pins and found this tip and thought to give it a try.

I really didn't think it would work, but really wanted to knit this shawl so thought I have nothing to loose.  Well, seeing is believing !!!!!

I took my coiled up circular needle and placed in a mixing bowl and poured hot water over to completely cover the needle.   Right before my eyes, the needle sprung straight !  Wow, was I amazed.   I let the needle sit for a couple of hours thinking it may coil right back up after it cooled off.  But the next day... the needle was still straight.   I have now begun my shawl and am so happy to not be fighting with the needles.

Monday, April 13, 2015

What Was Old is New Again

I received as a gift, oh so many years ago, a brass lamp.  I really liked this lamp and it's shape, but slowly over the years it started to loose its finish.  

No matter what I did to try to restore it, without spending alot of money, nothing seemed to work.  I've seen many ideas on re-purposing, re-finishing lamps so thought I would give it a try.

First, using masking tape I covered up the sections that I didn't want to be touched by paint, including the cord.   Then, using a fine sandpaper, sanded down the lamp and wiped away the dust on the lamp.

I spray painted the lamp using a semi-gloss Tremclad paint for metal in black.   It took two coats, and am very pleased with the results.

Next was finding a lamp shade that didn't cost a fortune.  I scoured many shops and finally found one at Walmart.     Total cost =  1 can of spray paint $6.95 Cdn (with enough left over to re-paint my mailbox) ; one lampshade $16.95 Cdn.  = $23.90 Cdn (and a mailbox that looks brand new too :) )

Monday, April 6, 2015

Some Colour to Brighten the Day

As the snow melts away the grass still lays dormant and looks rather lifeless.   The trees have not begun to bloom and much of the landscape looks gray.  We've been having rain the last couple of days and snow is still in the forecast.

April showers bring May flowers. 

Last summer I picked some straw flowers and they have been hanging drying and finally have put them in a vase on the kitchen table.   The colours are beautiful and bring sunshine to the room even on the dreariest of days.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Something for Treasures

My little granddaughter is just over two years old now.  She lives near the ocean and has recently realized that there are lots of cool things under the water; like "rocks, cool rocks and awesome rocks".  She says "the beach is the best place on the planet and we should be there all the time."

She likes to collect treasurers while she's out, so with leftover yarn I had in my stash I knitted up a couple of adorable pouches she can collect her treasurers in.  The pattern is from "The Sitting Tree" blog.  The pattern knits up quickly and I made both sizes - one in fingering weight and the other with worsted weight.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Forks of the Credit Hike

This past weekend seven of us went out on a 12 km hike on the Bruce Trail through the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park.

It was a challenging hike with steep climbs, extreme treacherous icy conditions and some very muddy spots.

I was very glad I had my icers on. Without them the trails were impassible.  A couple of avid hikers, who didn't have icers dropped out as the conditions were just too dangerous without them to continue.   My icers pulled over my boots and had 1/2 inch spikes and chains.  With them I was able to walk up 25 degree inclines with ease.  One of the best investments I've made, besides my hiking boots.

The trail took us past the ruins of an old Hydro station.  The spring run-off made the Credit River fast flowing with beautiful ice formations.    We stopped by the river for a picnic lunch.   Was a beautiful sunny day, air was crisp and there was quite a cool wind.

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