Customer Service This!

It’s really just annoying and boring, all at the same time. This past week or so saw me call to change my password, just to have the internet stop working. The modem was fine, my computer was fine, but whatever Juan did at his end made it stop working.

 

He insisted that he did everything right. He insisted it was my computer. I tried to explain that I was already connected to the internet with my other modem. He wasn’t hearing me. I got fed up and told him to just cancel the service.

But of course it’s never that easy, is it? He said I had to take it to one of the major offices, return the equipment and cancel it all from there.

Sigh

One of the offices is in a mall, where I initially got connected, but it’s in a mall. it’s also two cars, which means, two public cabs. Normally I’mm all over that but I’ve been sick the past couple of weeks and was in no mood.

I decided on the office I originally wrote about, as it’s closer and I can walk. It’s a long walk but what the heck. I’ve been sick in the apartment for a few weeks.

The first thing she did was test the modem, even though I told her it was fine. Then she showed me how she could get online using said modem, all of which I believed. At one point she just got up and left and stood chatting to the woman at the reception desk. A woman, by the way, who was clearly about three minutes pregnant and stood rubbing her belly and her back. There were also pictures of a fetus scan plastered at all the desks, but I digress.

After about a half an hour, they sent me packing, complete with my modem. There was a nearly $300 fine for cancelling the service, even though I have had the service for three years.  Also, slow customer service where you are sitting down in air conditioning is absolutely fine. Take your time. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

I tried to call a few more times but instead of transferring me to the English speaking Juan, they just hung up on me.

This morning, fed up, I sed the translator and wrote out a message of my dilemma, popped in a liquor store bag, of course I did, and simply dropped it on the kiosk counter where I pay the bill.

Sister was staring at her phone, of course she was, so I dropped it on the counter and just fucked off.  But seriously? What’s she going to do? Come tearing out of her kiosk to tackle me and make me take the modem back? No.

Problem solved.

 

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Adventures in Internet

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A few months back, my internet wasn’t working. The lights were on, but as the kids say, no one was home. I wasn’t too concerned, as it’s not common, but not uncommon, either. This was a Friday and I ran some errands and then went to relax on my bed with a book, rather enjoying the excuse of not being able to work or worry about the world spinning off its axis. Or missing out on pictures of some shit I didn’t need to see.

I ended up falling asleep and didn’t wake up until later in the afternoon. I decided to not worry until the next day and rather enjoyed myself with some wine on my balcony, watching my world go by.

The next I called my internet provider and was told they were doing an upgrade and I have to return my modem for a new, better shinier one. I packed up my modem and hiked down to the shopping plaza where I pay the bill.

I was a bit hung over and thought the free air would help. Of course, by fresh air, I mean stench of garbage and black clouds of exhaust in the heat. There was a lot of confusion trying to communicate until a woman in line got out her phone and helped us out with her interpreter’s app.

Not long after a woman came along who spoke English and she finally told me I had to go to the main office. This was the last thing I wanted to do all hungover on a Saturday morning. There was a young man in line who worked at the mall as a driver and he told our interpreter he would drive me there for 100 pesos. She said it’s a moto.

That is a motorcycle taxi.  used to take them in Sosua but I hadn’t here. I have graduated to public cabs. Anyhow, I agreed and off we went.

Holy heart attack, Batman! The weaving through the traffic and cutting between cars was quite enough to wake me up thank you very much. At one point we went between a semi truck and a van and I had to check twice to make sure I still had my kneecaps. When we got close enough to see the building he cut through a parking lot, realized it was closed and then just drove over the concrete parking blocks to get back to the main road.

I decided that was close enough and got off. I hiked up the hill to the office and was shocked to the core to see at least 60 people there. Everyone there with their modems. I took a number and then stood against the wall. Finally, a seat became available and I got to sit down for my three-hour wait, My three-hour wait. Sing it to the theme of Gilligan’s Island.

They had brought out extra chairs to accommodate everyone but people showed up with two and three children in tow. It was brutal, but I was sitting and it was air-conditioned. At one point, the young lad behind me was talking on his phone in English so I asked if he would help me when my turn came, just in case.

It was a long afternoon of waiting and waiting and I had no phone, no book and no water.

Turns out English wasn’t the problem. It was me not having my passport. It had never occurred to me I would need it. After a lot of pleading they let me off with an expired Ontario Driver’s licence.

Once I was out I was so relieved it was all over that it dawned on me I hadn’t really thought about how I would get home. I walked.

Fast forward to last week. I went down to the plaza to pay my bill at the kiosk and the lad there pointed out he didn’t have a computer. I went away and came back a few days later to find the kiosk gutted and a note on the front. The only part I could make out was ‘sorry for the inconvenience’. They aren’t.

The closest place for me to pay the bill is at the main office, which is not convenient. At all. I’m not walking all that way and it’s two cars to get there and then two more to get home.

I went to pay my phone yesterday, a different company and asked the lad there if he spoke English. He did.

Long story short, they two lads that were here to do my installation spent a lot of time picking cat hair out of their eyes, noses and mouths. But at least I will be able to pay the bill across the street.

Interesting side note. They called me today to confirm my address and all that, and I missed the call because I had no idea how to answer my phone. I got a new phone in July and this is the first call I had. Sad, lonely cat lady.

My Poppy

It’s Veteran’s Day. It’s also my dad’s birthday. He’s not been with us to celebrate for seven years now. It’s not a birthday you easily forget.

My dad had a myriad of health problems throughout his life. One, in particular, was his eyesight in his later years.

At this time, he was around 80 years old and had to have medical and eye tests done to keep driving.

At his eye appointment, the doctor said there was a strange dark mass behind his eye and he recommended my father to a specialist.

Even hearing this news caused me a great deal of worry. It’s not something anyone needs to hear, let alone live with.

I remember when the date of the specialist’s appointment arrived. I was worried sick all day. I had to wait several hours before calling him due to the time change.

When I finally called, my dad, in a very grave voice said, ‘I have some really bad news’. Seriously? My blood froze and I stopped breathing. For those few seconds, I imagined all of ‘worst case scenarios’ coming true.

What is it, Dad? I was almost too frightened to hear the answer.

‘He took my driver’s license away’

It took me a second or two, then I  laughed a bit out of sheer relief.

‘He’s a bastard’! he screamed down the phone.

It’s all about perspective. Cancer might have been bad news but losing the license was a loss of his freedom and independence. He lived in an apartment building with other seniors and he was reigning ‘cool guy with a car’.

I suggested perhaps if he was to have eye treatments that driving wasn’t likely the best idea but he wasn’t hearing any of it.

He ended up having laser treatments and did get his license back for a few more years. I often think about that, the ways we reacted to the same situation.

In the words of Louie Prima, ‘Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.

 

My parents on their way to a movie date.  Enjoying themselves.

 

Mom and Dad

 

 

Write When You Find Work

Did I use this one already? No matter. It’s been well over 3 months since I started my online writing job and I still have it! Woot! Woot!

The job itself is somewhat unremarkable, other than it’s saved me, I like it and I can do it.  It’s blog writing for marketing purposes for other people. I churn it out, get paid every week and don’t get a byline. But that’s fine. All of it. Way fine. I don’t know if I’d want my name on most of it, as it’s mostly boring and verging on clickbait.

Working online is fabulous. I have actually been doing it for a few years now, but I worked for sites that charged exorbitant fees on top of shit wages. With this job, I make my rent and bills within a few days.

If I worked in an office or a physical space with these people, I wouldn’t have lasted a day. Maybe two days tops.

Our main way of communicating is through a page on Facebook. Also, most of the people who work here are 20 somethings. A bunch more of 30 somethings. These are the ones all over the Facebook page.

If they get an article rejected by the client, or even told they were less than perfect like mummy does, they rush to facebook crying about. I mean, they act as if they’d been shot. So hard done by. They are so fast to complain and then wait for all the tut-tutting and there-thering, it’s shockingly pathetic.

They love to complain and they also love to beg for applause for actually doing their job. I mean, for fuck sakes. I lost count how many times someone had to mention they took one of the harder or less interesting topics to write about. All the little twats clap and cheer. Bitch, Please. It’s. The. Job.

One of my favourites is they all rush on and ask about how to concentrate on the work. Well, stay off facebook might be a good start.

We have writers, topic makers and quality control people. The QC, as they are dubbed, can be right annoying. It’s the 20 years olds showing off because they have a diploma from agricultural college and live in a state where you can’t even buy alcohol.

They love to pick your shit apart and send it back. A few times they have been downright insulting. My natural instinct is to tell them to go fuck themselves, but I can’t lose the job. I do, however, snark back.

I’ve been heckled as a comic in some pretty seedy rooms, so having a chubby twat in middle America who was homeschooled tell me my article didn’t blow her skirt up, I’m not upset.

One woman told me to tame it down, and take the ‘flirt’ out. No thank you. It was about the sexiest shirts for me.

My less than frequent trips to the page is me shouting, ‘ Oh, Shut Up’ a lot.  I don’t comment or get involved. I did at first and was met with complete silence.

I get it, though. I do. We all have our lives to live and people shouldn’t hold theirs up to anyone else’s. There are a few people who work here like me, who live in a different country.

Unlike me, they are there spreading the good word of Jesus. My Jesus, or Hayzeus, drives a cab. Sells fruit.

Some post pictures of their scenery or view of where they are working, one put a picture of her lap and laptop from her plane seat. It’s meant to make other’s jealous.

They love the memes. I hate the fucking memes.

But, I am really relieved to have it. It seemed to swoop in at the last minute like a Prince Charming on a white horse.

I work when I want, I take time off. I sit on my crappy couch, sweating in my underpants, and it’s fabulous.

I’ve paid back everyone who helped me, (almost) and I still get giddy when I’m able to walk home with all my groceries.

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I will complain here and to my friends but refrain from commenting on facebook. I had to complain to the top guy about one of the quality control bitches who was well out of line and she’s no longer with us.

Some bitch told me the other day my writing was dry and boring. It was an article about how to save energy. I told her it was just my personality and I was surprised she didn’t call the article, ‘fat’, as well.

I also said I was under the impression the article was meant to be informative, not bring the reader to orgasm.

She didn’t send it back.

Write on!

 

 

 

 

Writing Because​ I Found Work

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You know the saying?  Write when you find work. That’s what I’m doing. Writing because I found work.

I’m ridiculously happy about it. Happy, relieved and still a little surprise, to be honest.  Like the quote says, it’s a worry. it’s been over a year of worry, fret and things got rather dark for me, as well.

I wrote about that, had to. Death just rears it’s ugly or peaceful head to add its voice to the long or short lists of solutions. But that seems to be solved, for now.

I have been working online but it had been mostly a festering sack of shit that barely pays and then some asshole doesn’t want to pay at all. That happened to me on the site I work on a few weeks ago.

Then, out of the blue, well, out of the job site Indeed, there was a reply to one of the countless resumes I send. I barely noticed as I get replies all the time. The last one I got excited about made me get references, kept sending me next phases of the employment process and then the last email I received was an introduction to the head honcho.

It was a guy, all in pink and as far as I can tell, it’s a new cult for Jesus. Hard pass. I do believe they are building the bunker.

But my job is a writing job. The topics are mostly boring and they have very specific guidelines as to what they want and it’s absolutely perfect. I can’t really commit to many online jobs because my power situation is sketchy, at best.

I won’t be vulgar enough to talk dollars but I will tell you that by writing two articles a day, I make a very easy livable wage. The first week pays my rent and all my bills. That’s Santo Domingo prices on a USA wage.

The relief is overwhelming. I’ve spent the past year, or more scrapping and worrying and freaking out. It’s a weird place to be in, to realize once something runs out, like laundry soap, you may not be able to replace it.

But I can.  I am still a bit shocked that what I wanted, actually showed up. I knew it was possible and usually had a glimmer of hope somewhere and then, presto bango, there it is.

I get paid twice a week, sweet!  I was determined to make rent last month on my own and actually did it, but not quite on time. However, it was easter so I blamed that on the slow bank to my landlady.

I’m still trying to play catch-up with the household supplies, but I’m getting there. Today I went out for groceries and treated myself to a new pair of shoes, seen here, some chai tea and cockroach spray. Oh, the glamorous life I lead.

The shoes were pretty exciting.On sale for about $12 and the smell of the rubber and the canvas was intoxicating. Plus, a new box for kitties.

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On the way home, loaded down with groceries, I walked passed a group of people milling about and they were all privy to see me get beaned on the head with a mango. High hilarity, indeed, before they all headed in to the funeral home. The security guard dashed up and grabbed the mango.

But its okay. I have a job, the cats got food, I have chia tea and new blue shoes. I got to ake some people laugh on I’m guessing, a pretty shitty day. Maybe down the road, when they think about old uncle Carlos, they will have a chuckle about the old white lady getting bonked with the mango.

Good times!

 

Happy Hairy Heart Day!

My cats have been fighting and I have no idea why. It started on Sunday, I was making my breakfast and doing up the dishes and both cats were hanging around, which is not unusual, in particular for Chance. Anything in the kitchen might mean something for him. Either given or dropped.

I saw them swatting at each other at the same time I heard the hissing. This part isn’t unusual at all. Jango, more so, when it comes to the three-legged upstart always getting all up in his grill, but this escalated quickly.

All of a sudden, there was hissing, screaming and fur flying, they were tearing around and it wouldn’t stop. Jango got by the door and they sat there for a bit just growling, but that deep guttural growl that frankly frightened me a bit. Chance, right in front of him, their eyes huge and wild, staring at each other. Chance’s back hair and his tail were at full height.

Then, Jango made a move to just get away, Jango, the Lover, and Chance, Chance the fighter, was on him. They went around at each other and it was just a blur of fur, like on Bugs Bunny cartoons when the Tasmanian devil does his spinning thing, and they were going at it like I had never seen. The sound alone was unbelievable.

Jango managed to break away and went and got under the bed, Chance right behind him.   At this point, I went in and put one of the pillows down to cover where Jango was and cut off the insane eye contact that was going on.

Chance finally tucked himself up in the corner behind my big fan and ten minutes later they were still growling, even though they couldn’t see each other. I went in to suss the sitch and when I looked under the bed at Jango, he had blood on his ear, and it was dripping on the floor.

I went and got an oven mitt on and managed to get Chance out of the corner, even though I didn’t need the mitt, he can do some damage. I got him out to the chair on the balcony and closed the bedroom door, to give Jango so time to recoup. He isn’t used to this type of activity and he is turing 13 or 14 this year. I’ll have to check. I’m not a bad cat mum, half the time I can’t remember my own age.

I took some water in for him and just left them in their own space for a while and when Jango wanted to come out, it happened all over again. The noises coming out of them, it was enough to set the neighbour’s dogs off.

I have no idea what is going on. They ended up on the balcony with Jango under the chair, so Chance had him trapped. I took my flip flop off and tried to put it between them. I know. I tried to just stop the paws and claws from doing more damage and I ended up giving Chance a whomp on the head with it, so thankfully it wasn’t a Doc Martin!

It startled him enough to stop for a second and then I managed to get him back inside and slid the balcony door over. There is a lot of power in the that little cat!

Monday was pretty much a repeat, so Jango spent the better part of the day on the porch, either under or sitting on the chair, with Chance glaring darts at him from inside.

Tuesday morning started out okay, with them actually eating their breakfast together, which they normally never do, that has to be in shifts. I mean, honestly! Cats!

Then, Chance just walked up to Jango and started washing his ears like nothing had even happened. Honestly, the relief I felt!

They both got quite hurt through it all. Jango now has cuts on both his ears and has been favouring his left front leg, but he did let me look at it and I didn’t see any scratches, so it likely just got banged against something.

Chance lost a claw, which I found parts of wedged in the back of Jango’s neck. Plus, this morning when I kicked of my flip flop, he gave me a low growl. Ha Ha … I never even hit him very hard, but point taken. For the record, I do not hit my cats.

So, Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, there was a bit of growling but no fisticuffs, so maybe it has passed. I don’t know what started it but I was shocked when it happened and it really stressed me a lot. I was also shocked how quickly I was siding with Jango. He’s been with me a long time and he is not a fighter, at all, and he isn’t particularly active, either, so it was a lot for him.

I remember telling him years ago, back in Toronto, as he was play fighting with me, that he was lucky he lived with me and didn’t have to fend for himself in the wild, because he would have his fuzzy butt handed to him by an arthritic squirrel. An arthritic squirrel with a bum leg and one good eye.

Chance, on the other hand, has had to fend for himself in the wild. The Dominican wild but he had to find food and defend himself against other animals and that’s very apparent to all of us when something like this comes up.

I have no idea what stared it, maybe because I’ve been so stressed for the past few months that now I’m actually seeing a bit of sunshine through my fog, that they felt it was time they let theirs out. I know they feel our feels, but they don’t understand.

Here they are, not really talking yet, but in the same space with out tearing each other’s hair out in clumps.

 

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Happy Hairy Heart Day

My Shit Show

First off, I want to say thanks to all of you who reached out to me with kind words and thoughts. Big thanks to those of you who reached out with cash, it means eating or not eating. The gift of $50 is, in fact, priceless. So, Thank You.

Also, thankful that fuck that holiday has fucked off for another year. Depressing AF.

It’s not come as a big surprise to me, this lifestyle I’m living. I call it Nouveau Chic Poverty. I’ve spent my adult life with my hand out, so why change now?

I was almost out of money when I posted my New Years blog last year, and through friends, help and some online freelance work, we’re still here.

What sent me over the edge was just a big bunch of shit hitting the fan all at once. As shit is won’t to do. Do Do.

Somewhere around October, I got a rent raise, followed on the heels of that, by the notice someone might be interested in buying the apartment I live in. PS, my rent is low here. Just under $400. I know.

The idea I would have to start apartment hunting again and moving again is naturally very stressful. It’s stressful even more when you don’t know the language. More stress when you don’t have the money. Luckily I have a friend here who was onboard to help.

Crisis avoided on the apartment move, they decided on something else. I will admit, when they came to see the apartment, I didn’t bother to sweep or do my dishes or hide the cat box or put pants on.

I also never realized, because I see it all the time, that I have chalk writing on my walls and cupboard for the cockroaches and ants and any other bug that decides  to crawl across my space.  A few direct messages that tells them in no uncertain terms, to piss off, go to hell, no one likes you, Hey, you, ya you, off you fuck, and a few that have super bad words in them. I hope the possible buyers didn’t read English.

Then in the headlong fall to the holiday season, I discovered my credit card was not working. I’d been living off of it, so that was just another shoe that I was waiting to hear hit the floor. But when I tried to put a payment on it, my money kept returning to my PayPal account.

Turns out they bank in Toronto mailed me some “very important papers” months ago even though they know I don’t have mail service, to tell me that as a non-resident, I have to close the account. So now that avenue is dead to me too. The bonus is I guess they can just pound that Visa balance straight up their holes.

Because I couldn’t access the money, they cut my power off. I hadn’t paid the bill for two months so I had to take the cat food money and walk to the bank to pay it. It was about $30. I know. The kid that came to cut it off actually buzzed my apartment to let him in the gate. Sweet.

Fuck sakes.

I opened a new PayPal account for the Dominican, but can’t connect my Dominican Bank to it, they only accept the the most popular one, which just happens to be called Popular. I had to gather up all kinds of information and set out to open a new account. Luckily, my friend came with me and did all the talking. He actually works in a bank, so that was a big lucky break and a saving grace and some other trite sayings about luck and blessing and fortune smiling that would fit in here. But I won’t bore you.

So now it’s just the waiting to see if I’m approved. The best part of the whole stressful day was when the power went out in the bank and I yelped like a demented cocker spaniel and then my friend and mostly the woman helping us with the bright orangy-pink lipstick laughed for several minutes.  The Jumpy Gringa. Good times.

It’s been a lot to deal with and I know everyone has their own plateful, but it’s not a contest. This is my stress at the moment. It’s eye-opening, the reality of living in a different country where language is a barrier and you are all on your own. It’s difficult to ask for help, worse when people say no.

I had expected, up until very recently, my friend would be visiting for the hols, but they didn’t make it this year. I had bought a small teapot for them to use, and now every time I see it I feel embarrassed somehow.

I’ve had my little hissy fit and I’m trying to be optimistic but just saying it  doesn’t make the dark and scary go away.

Next, stay tuned about my dissertation about why I’m not moving back to Canada.

Toodles.

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