24 April 2007

Tales From the HOA

It's been a while since I had a good story to tell about our local Homeowner's Association...
But spring has sprung, so it was only a matter of time.

I received this via e-mail today...

I need to let you know that I had a message on my home answering machine last night when I arrived home. It was a neighbor making a compliant against the yard keeping at your residence. The complaint specifically stated that the yard was commonly left to grow tall then cut short allowing the clippings to remain in clumps throughout the yard. I did view your yard and agree that the grass clumpings are obvious and detract from the appearance of the yard.

In an effort to more closely match the yards of your surrounding neighbors, I must ask that you improve the upkeep of your yard. This will likely include more frequent mowing, trimming and perhaps raking of yard clippings. Please respond and advise if there are any concerns with improving the appearance of your yard.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

Now, I'm no rocket scientist (oops, wait...I am), but one would think that with the frequency and amount of rain lately, they would understand that it's not exactly a mystery as to why the grass has been "commonly left to grow tall"...

(Actually, I think this has only happened like twice or maybe three times in the past three weeks, due to excessive rains and by my having such a FREAKING AWESOME lawn)

But, then, what can one expect??
The new president of the HOA board is the husband of a woman (also on the board) who has had it out for me for quite some time, because I don't let her pick on the rest of her neighbors...

So, of course, my response...

Only issue I have is when the frequency of rain and schedule issues at work/home do not allow me to mow more frequently. Most of the time, I do attempt to mow before the lawn gets as tall as it has these past few weeks, as it tends to cause my mower to bog down, thus causing the clumps of clippings observed by aforementioned neighbor. However, when scheduled religious activities and observances, work or foster care issues arise which do not allow me to mow on days where mowing is appropriate (on days where it isn't raining and the grass is not sopping wet), the grass tends to get taller than I would like.

If the neighbor in question would like to come talk to me and listen to my explanation personally, I would be more than happy to oblige and we could most likely come to a mutual agreement without involvement of the HOA heirarchy.

In the meantime, I can attempt to mow more frequently, and perhaps re-mow over clumps when they occur.


p.s. I guess I should ask whether something needs to be done immediately, or was this a "do better" request?

I guess I'll see how much ire I can raise in these folks before they threaten me with legal action.

I'm actually surprised they aren't laying the smack down on me for having a dead tree (due to a premature spring and subsequent re-freeze) in my yard. Being as how I don't plan on replacing it until the growing season starts in the fall......

21 April 2007

Doing a Great Dis-Service

Is it merely me, or has the customer service industry really gone to s--- in the past few years?

I began to notice small things, like heading through the drive thru at several fast food restaurants. I used to work drive-thru back in the day, and generally we'd wait for the customer to make a long pause, indicating they were finished ordering. Of course, then we'd try to get them to make an additional purchase, but that was pushed on us by managers.

Nowadays, I can barely get one part of an order out before they ask "Is that it?"

This is especially entertaining when I (apparently an adult, since I'm driving a car) order a Happy Meal first thing...

Okay, so that's a minor rant...and easily attributable to people becoming more rude in current times.

A few weeks ago, our couch began to make squeaking noises when we sat down. Since it was still under the one-year warranty, we called up the store to get it fixed. They came over and picked it up, then took it back to the store. Days went by, and finally they called to tell us that they'd be bringing it back. So, once we got it back and the truck had left, we finally got a chance to sit.

Lo and behold, the couch still made the same noise.

So, we called them up and explained the situation to them, and they agreed to come back out and get it. The manager we spoke with assured us that he would "personally" make sure the couch got fixed. We'll see.

Fast forward to just yesterday...

Our (American) car, less than 2 years old, begins to make rubbing noises when turning right. Obviously, this shouldn't be happening, even though it has just under 36,000 miles on it.

So, we take it back to the dealer to get it fixed under warranty. At first, they tell us that they won't be able to get it in for a few days. We find out through our original saleswoman that the dealer foots the bill for a rental when you bring cars in for warranty work, so we take them up on it.

Now, one would expect that since we have a four-door vehicle, with two small children, they would pony up for a similar vehicle. Instead, we get stuck with a two-door with limited room to navigate in the back seats. Not much fun with car seats and booster seats...

So, it was with much jubilation that we received a call later that evening telling us that they'd been able to get our car in and fix the problem (We discovered later that it was because the dealer only pays for a rental for one day). We drove back to the dealer, swapped cars, and everything seemed okay. The problem was apparently fixed and all was well with the world again.

Then, we drove about two miles down the road, and the problem popped back up. (Have I mentioned my disgust with American vehicles?)

I only hope that they didn't try a quick fix so that we wouldn't be able to get the car back in before it topped the 36,000 warranty limit (yes, it's that close). Even if that happens, I'll be rather forceful when explaining to them the meaning of true customer service...

03 April 2007

Is It Really So Happy?

Well, being as how I've been working a lot of long hours, we've been short-cutting on dinner quite a bit these past few weeks (months?).

So, needless to say, I've gotten fairly in tune with the latest in Happy Meal giveaways.

Enter the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles....

The trouble being, of course, that we have a little girl, and they only give these toys out for the boys...


Only *boys* get the cool toys? What in the world is that?
Oh yeah, it wouldn't have been so bad if the alternative wasn't so piss poor.

I mean, Wizard of Oz dolls? Come on...especially around here. You would have thought they would have realized the stupidity of that move. We don't get enough of that crap as it is...

So, I went through the drive-thru and told them I needed a Happy Meal for a boy.

Then I get home and she didn't even want the toy (that's a boy toy, she complained, after a little bit of prompting from my wife). Which is fine, I explained, because I could always use some new toys...then proceeded to play with the toy in question.

Go figure, she was all about playing with the boy's toy at that point.


Equally weird, when you leave the McDonald's website, they put up a little notice to let you know you're leaving, and they're not responsible for anybody else's website you may have linked to. I'm betting there's a pretty good lawsuit story involved in that one.