Category Archives: blogging

What To Do?

I got the runners I’d intended to use for the stairs, yesterday. The pieces visible thru the clear plastic they were shipped in didn’t resemble what I thought I’d ordered. Looked like stripes instead of checks. I opened one.

The jute in at least one place was dark and unattractive, but the piece was sound, and striped. DH and I talked about it. It was cheap. What to do? We decided to return it. If the image had resembled what’s here, I never would have ordered it. I cannot imagine using striped anything on a staircase, good way to set yourself up to fall. I do NOT want an optical illusion on my staircase or anything which might confuse us about where the edges are.

During the talk with their customer service person I said it wasn’t defective, it isn’t, it’s whole and sound. Looks like hell, but it’s sound. They wanted $33+ (on a $60 order) to return the 3 pieces. I arranged, finally, to pay to ship the things back to them, without them charging me 1/2 of the cost in a shipping charge. (Shipping had been free.)

So, after all of this, I am feeling rather like I’ve just been ripped off. The image, although it’s the right colors and materials and says it’s the right line, only vaguely looks like what arrived. Because of the conversation about the  insane shipping return fee, I went looking for reviews.

What has happened to me has happened to others. Apparently, they are a thinly veiled bait & switch company. They buy up goods from other companies, sell the best stuff, and the worst they don’t change the image, and make it difficult/impossible to return.

When I got up this  morning, I had all but resolved not to return the stuff, as I can probably get about 1/3- 1/2 of my $ back selling them thru the booth. But I have since decided against that too. Even if they charge me for the package I opened with the dark jute (arrived that way, as I said, I had the package open < 1 hour before I asked for a return authorization), it’s $20. If they try to charge me for the 2 packages I never opened? The easy answer for that is to take pictures, lots of pictures, before I ship the return, today.

Is it worth it? At this point, the way I feel is that either:1) they’re a legit company and they’ll do it right or 2)they’re creeps and even if I only get $20 back, I do, and it will cost them more to process it and deal with me and 3)Whether I get all my $ back or none of it, I will tell my friends, however it works out. I know how retail and mail order work and are supposed to work. I ran a mail order business for 10 years. I will make noise, a lot of it, file a complaint with the BBB, etc.

They sent me a customer service survey right after I talked to whoever to get the authorization. I won’t fill it out until I find out what they’re going to do.

First time I’ve really regretted closing my FB account. Having 500 “friends” online to post about this might just have guaranteed my getting all the $ back.

We’ll see. Continue reading

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A Mild Rant

I’ve had the blahs. Usually by this time, I’ve made Christmas cards, designed the wrapping, bought gifts and am frantically wishing I had another month, had picked something easier to do, or at least less time consuming. . . .

But not this year. This year? I have done NONE of that. It feels like this is August or something. I mentioned this to my husband, so tonight I went to look at one of my inspiration blogs. I had 2 or 3 of these. One of them the woman instead of struggling to do what she was trying to do, well, she got there. I’m glad for her, but it got boring to read. The one I went to today? She’s a mother of 4 and a crafter, with a handy husband.

Nope, she’s redone her blog. It’s so commercial/slick now when I first found it I assumed it wasn’t her. I found it a second time and went looking. Not charming any more, just slick money maker.

Sigh.

Frankly put me off. This lady, in the past, had been someone who got my creative juices flowing. Her stuff was interesting, quirkily written, and I got inspired every single time. I doubt I’ll ever look at her blog again. She’s probably making loads more $, but. . . .

I need a HUMAN BEING!!! Not a slickly marketed product. I can find a product in anything I get these days, even movies. I do NOT need the people who I connect with, or want to, to become such good businesses that they stop connecting to their readers. And the reason that I put up with the pieces of her lifestyle which didn’t match mine (lots of kid pics, for example) was because it was charming: unassuming and fun. Now it’s competing with every commercial lifestyle blog/magazine out there. Bleh.

If I ever, ever do that will someone please come scream at me?

The internet is already people at arm’s length. When you find someone whose writing you like, whose issues are important enough to spend the time to read, you’d like them to at least keep the same style of writing. Or I do!

I’m really glad the lady turned farmer got to be successful at it, but she took the “exclamation points” out when she started teaching classes and it took off. The reason I read her blog was her, and then she became a sales brochure for the classes and her successful life-style farm, rather than the person I wanted to help and couldn’t read enough about.

The mom of 4 who made interesting clothes, did cheap but great decorating, had a husband who managed to build the things she really wanted on a shoestring, has become a lifestyle blog with a living room like almost everyone else’s, and as I said it’s now so “slick” I thought it wasn’t hers when I found it.

I have a conflict. I’d love to make money at this, but I love my anonymity too much to really pursue that. Beyond any other consideration, I want to remain human, not a marketing tool for google ads, or whatever.

I’ve sold advertising — and I was terrible at it. Worked for a great paper and a great magazine after that.  But at gut I never ever got to where I believed advertising works.

After 30 years in retail and decades of running ads with incredible deals for customers in them, my reaction is: no one reads them. They don’t read them in a paper, magazine, postcard, catalog or flyer. A 5% return is GREAT for a catalog, that is 5% of the people you send the catalog to buy something or respond.

I had a catalog I sent out. Had a freebie, if the customer sent something in. Had ONE person local to me do it. Got ONE order from a local customer who’d moved out of state. Two real responses. Aside from that I wasted a lot of time and money.

It isn’t that I hate advertising, people have to know a new shop opened, about a sale, whatever. But it never worked for my business.

There’s also something about always selling which gets in the way of relationship. If someone is selling to me I don’t trust a thing they say. If they’re a salesperson most of the time, they’re always selling or data mining. They may pay their bills, appear nice, etc. but everything they say is taken with a grain of salt. On the other hand, if someone is not selling something, but obsessed with money/value of stuff? I have the same reaction.

I’m about relationships — even on the internet. I don’t want to view email or blogs the same way I look at the mail. Almost every piece of mail we get is from a company we owe money to or they want us to buy something or do something which will give them some of our money. We get bills, fliers, and ads. Other people apparently really love our money.

The problem with the blog I went to today, now, is that she’s now anonymous. There’s the almost required sidebar: I’m Lala, mother of 32.3, I craft and do x, frugally, with <insert religion or quirky description here>. Gak! Do these people have a script? IS THERE A FINE IF YOU DO IT DIFFERENTLY???

wtf.

Of the 3 or 4 blogs I used to read who weren’t professional writers, I have maybe 2 I’ll read now. These are people I’ve known for a long time.

The problem with writers’ blogs? Those people write, okay? They know how to do it to be entertaining.  I know/knew of a LOT of writers.

I avoid writers’ blogs because I could use up my entire day being entertained.

Fun, but not very functional.

So, I’ve lost another blog. Blah.

No inspiration, no creative juices flowing, no Christmas progress. If you know me IRL, you may (or may not!) get a Christmas card/present or acknowledgement from us at all at the end of this year.

This baffles me because it’s usually my favorite time of year: designing cards, tags, wrapping styles, decorations. I’m not — and I don’t know why?

 

Sorry About the Slog

This blog has become a journal of what I’m doing in the house, obviously. And although I don’t talk about it much, it’s also a way to give myself credit for the triumphs and disasters — the connections between my house/home and the lack of safety and abuse which gave me PTSD.

I’m pretty sure it’s a bore to read sometimes. I read blogs occasionally. The really good ones are funny and make a point — this one not so much. The good ones almost always have illustrations of the writers’s life. Again, not so much here.

The daily reminder that I’ve gotten something done is a huge help. The house still looks like a hoarder lives here (she does). The house still looks like I never get rid of anything or put anything away (not so). Reminding myself that what I’ve done and am doing is hard and I don’t need to hide and cringe in shame is a huge help.

So, I apologize for the boring bits and thank those of you who read this, regularly or occasionally. The idea that there’s a group of people cheering me on and the positive vibe that brings was first shown me in a now-defunct website, where Calypte and I met, more than 15 years ago. And although I know it’s not the same group of people, what I learned  was that believing I had a supportive community made a huge difference. It is as close to a real family as I’ve ever had (except my husband). People were involved with what I did, cared, and didn’t walk away or get busy when I was in a funk. If person A was busy or in a bad place, well, person B or C could and likely would step in.

Years ago, I travelled many miles to go to a convention in the town where my brother lives. I got delayed for a day. A friend in Virginia put me up that night. She and her husband live in a house on part of her family’s old farm land, as do both of her brothers, their kids, her mom, and two people, hand picked who they allowed to buy lots and put up houses. It’s an enclave, without walls, sort of. No, it’s just one family adjusting to the reality of the 20th and 21st centuries. Anyway, my friend said, “Aren’t you going to call? They must be worried sick!” I looked at her and said, “Becky, my guess is that they’ve forgotten I’m coming, and until I call, I’m completely off their radar.” She shook her head and told me I had to be wrong — but I knew I was not.

If my family had been involved with my day to day life beyond getting me to appointments, I wouldn’t have gotten PTSD I think. It would have countered one of the most damaging  pieces of the abuse  — that I was an embarrassment and only marginally tolerated by my family. But my abuser did what abusers do, she tailored her abuse to what existed. I have a laissez-faire birth family. At this point, I know why and can trace its origins. But as a kid I saw it as “proof” that I was vile, because that was how it was explained to me.

Anyway, the online community countered that. In its own way, it was a major miracle. The nearly daily blogging here is a continuation of that faith: that I’m not vile, people will listen and care about what I’m doing — even if it’s not presented with funny bits or pictures, most of the time.

So, again, I apologize for the slogging, boring bits, but I am grateful for every single one of you!

J

I Hate Smug

My problem with a lot of self-help blogs, house-decorating blogs, in fact many blogs these days, especially those written by most women is that there’s this cutesy “style” which is smug, deprecating, and I find obnoxious.

Sure, fine. It’s the way you and your friends write. As if  — I couldn’t figure that out? But I’m of another generation. If you were going to lecture people about how to do something in my time, you had to actually be an expert, not just moderately more accomplished than I am without any training or attempting to do what you’re talking about.

One of the people who reads this blog has worked in the financial sector for a long time, another has been a cataloging librarian for a long time. If either of them want to tell me something about their field, I try and shut up and listen. But because you can write an entertaining piece about cataloging/sorting things or money/financial matters, even if I read it, unless you have credentials or I know you in real life, I’m not likely to pay much attention.

I like entertaining reading. Honestly! I admire your skill. However, even if I try and make your “1 simple thing to make your home better” which involves 5 essential oils (none of which I own), a diaper (ditto), and a patio table big enough to seat 4 (ditto) and Gawd only knows what else, I will want to pitch something at the screen if I read about your perfect rehab of your “flat” in NYC you pay $100/month for, because you know how to shop, etc. ad nauseum (Look it up if you don’t know what that means!).

Every reader is certainly due entertaining writing. It IS possible to do that and not be smug. And I, for one, will be heartily glad when that notion occurs to the bulk of the blog writers! I read the stuff anyway, usually because I want the info. But walk away grinding my teeth.

If I’m smug — please call me on it! I hate smug.

J

Balance?

It’s easy to sit and write about what I want to do, intend to do, might do — and not do because I’m too busy typing.

I’m increasingly irritated by this. I can’t get anything decorated by making a decorating board on pinterest, for example. The Housekeeper we had as a kid used to buy cleaning products instead of cleaning. The result was that when she left we had a closet full of cleaning products, some of which (furniture wax) I’ve finally used up. (She left 40 years+ ago!)

Talking about, writing about, discussing and planning what to do rather than actual doing seems to me to be another of those types of things. It’s a substitute for the actual work.

There are things which are easy for me to find the balance between plan or discuss, etc. and actually do. There are others which aren’t so easy.

Need to work on this. Somehow, my real life needs to become as exciting as the planning of what I want it to be. Somehow . . . .

Working on it!

Need to go actually do something — other than sit at a keyboard.

J

What I’ve actually done: sort through the table linen, pull the excess off for storage elsewhere (I’ve already sold everything I pretty much want to). Rearranged the basket/baby rail storage for the table linen and trivets. Pulled the 2nd baby rail off and put it in the laundry room, where it will be mounted, sometime soon.

Wrapped and labelled the excess linen (wrapped in brown paper and tape, labels on the tape.) to go into the attic.

Made lunch (corn chowder with cheese, pepper, and onion) with hot rolls.

We have enriched bread ready to go into the oven.

The cat bench/recycling station has been pulled away from the wall, the floor and wall cleaned, and the bench cleaned. I used the last large piece of clear shelf liner on the top shelf of the recycling area. I need another piece. I made a sticky note which indicated where the floor register was and stuck it to the wall.

I cleaned the door area into the laundry room, around the battery station, reorganized the charger, etc. Found a new home for the placemats. Cleaned the battery basket, the typing table, the battery charger, the floor underneath all of this, and the wall, door and/or cabinet as appropriate.

With DH’s help, got apricot jam started (has to sit overnight) and made dinner: the infamous spinach, lemon & avocado soup — without disasters this time — and some of the new bread in toasted cheese sandwiches. The dishes, except those used to make/eat dinner are done and mostly put away. I have  one more load of laundry to finish and a load to put away. But after that? My chores are done for the day. Unless I get up hyperearly and am really productive, tomorrow is a bust in terms of house clearing and cleaning. I’m working for someone for a couple of hours then I go to the farm to get food.

Wednesday will be busy, not sure how that will work out.But today WAS productive.

Amazing what I can get done — away from a keyboard!

 

 

For Those Who’re Interested

This blog isn’t going away. It will however, be modified a good deal.

The memoir, of the same name as this blog now has a domain name of its own (there’s nothing there right now). To purchase the book, you’ll need to go to http://www.teacupofwater.com . I’ll post a notice here when the book is available and when the domain is actually live.

In the meantime, if you’re someone who said they wanted to be a beta reader, please contact me. A comment here will be fine. I won’t publish these, but will keep the data private. I need your contact info (email will work to start) and then whether you want an e formatted copy or a dead tree copy. Sorry, no dead tree copies out of the US, too expensive to mail!

If you know me IRL, drop me a note on FB or email and we’ll get you on the appropriate list!

Just so you know, my “target date” for releasing the beta copies is JUNE, 2016 . It may not be a very long book, but there’s still a lot of work involved in getting it ready!

J

Warning!

I delete comments that make no sense.

If you comment here, please at least make sure your comments have some relationship to the content of the blog. Also, I’m a writer and editor. I speak and write English for a living. I’m a little fussy about language. Spelling and syntax and proper grammar aren’t as much of an issue for me as content however.

I appreciate good wishes but won’t let comments be posted that are nonsensical, whether or not they appear to be well meaning.

J