Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Huh?

I had to give a presentation in Williamsville. Silly me, I was pretty nervous about it. Williamsville is a bit upscale and I was being hosted by these supposed power-house women who have been published and herald themselves as specializing in helping women in business. I wanted my presentation to be perfect.

What a joke.

The stories are limitless but I will highlight a few. They created an event on Facebook and then kept pressure on me to promote it daily (or more) for over two months. Along the way, they seemed to forget their promise to promote it as well. Two days before the event, my neighbor tried to buy a ticket and found the event closed for sales. I contacted them right away and they fixed it, but I was surprised at their error considering how pushy they were about Facebook.

I sent my power point to them well in advance and specifically asked to check a certain slide where I linked to a YouTube video. It is often tricky and I wanted it to go off without a hitch. They assured me they checked and it was fine. You can guess what I’m going to say next. When I arrived it’s the first thing I did and of course it was NOT working, which left me scrambling.

Well, the second thing. The first thing I had to do was bring up three loads of boxes to their second floor office. I showed up in an air-cast boot. Their elevator was broken. (Isn’t handicap accessibility a law-thing?) The partner that was there offered me no assistance. One of the participants who was also a friend ended up bringing up my boxes.

No refreshments there like they do for other workshops they host. What’s that about? Not even water for the speaker. That’s a given usually.

About two minutes before I began she asked me how long I was planning on talking. I said 60-90 minutes and she made it clear she had only planned on an hour. Nice thing to throw at a speaker last minute. I had a lot of material to cover. She made the event invitation. Last time I knew (no pun intended), 6-7:30 pm was 90 minutes, not 60.

Through my entire presentation, she played on her phone. She didn’t interact or participate. When it was over, I went through the same nonsense trying to get everything to the car. I asked her outright for help which she said she would do but then ignored me. The participants carried my things to the car.

She told me in front of the group she would email me the evaluations in the morning. Several days later, I had to ask for them. I also was in the uncomfortable position of having to ask for my check. There was no charge for the workshop per se, but we did charge $10 for materials. Each person left with a 3-ring binder with the information that was presented.

Another few days later, I received an email that said they would send half the amount. I was enraged. I put a call in and was told that the agreement was that we split the money 50/50. There was no such agreement.

But here is the real kicker of it all. Why would they even think they would get material money when they didn’t provide the materials? Not only did they provide nothing, I reminded them that I asked them no less than 3 times to make copies for me because I am a one-person operation and their answer was NO. They wouldn’t even copy one piece of paper for me. Yet they wanted half the material money. I was in shock.

Her final answer? If you provide me with receipts, I will be happy to give you your money. I could have peed myself.

My friend that referred me to them sent an email with her disgust and they agreed to give me the money that was mine. How nice of them. But they also went on to justify themselves by saying I was the one not prepared and didn’t know how to use PowerPoint. Completely not true.

What a joke that I was worried about impressing them. I have never been treated so rudely or unprofessionally. My evaluations were glowing, and I know the participants were disgusted with their behavior as well. I guess that is good enough, but man, I still really can’t believe it.

Why do I still get surprised at this stuff?


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Frustrations

After twenty plus years with the same email address, Verizon is not supporting their email anymore. The process to switch over is relatively simple, but I thought this was a good time to try to wean away from Verizon anyway. Sending everyone an email and saying “use this address instead” is simple enough. But you can’t possibly imagine how many websites I’ve signed in on over a couple of decades. And the book? Well, I have an entire spreadsheet of websites and passwords from anything to production to marketing.

Every day, instead of deleting most of the emails I get, I’ve been reading them carefully. I click on the website and then search for a place to click where I can change my email address. Sounds simple enough, right? Holy crap…wrong!

One of the most difficult sites to change was Facebook. I had to google several times how to do it, and believe me it wasn’t easy. The worst one? You’ll never guess. Verizon! I spent God knows how long pouring over the website and couldn’t find anyplace to change the address. I then spent over 30 minutes on the phone with them. I got transferred four times. Finally, “Brian” completely understood what I was trying to say and it took him 45 seconds to fix it. I explained it the same way every time, but somehow, only Brian had the ability to understand. Over 30 minutes for a less than a minute fix. So frustrating!

Then came Apple. I’m not an Apple person, but when my first book came out, we had to develop the ibook format and set up an account. I spent hours on-line but couldn’t change anything because I couldn’t get past the security questions. On the phone forever. Got sent to a Senior Analyst. Spent two days with her until she broke the news there was nothing they could do for me. So I set up a schedule for myself. I could try every eight hours to get in and then it would get locked. I made a list of every possible answer to the security questions and kept a typed list of what I had tried.

Question was, what is the first thing you learned to cook?

If you know me, you will chuckle at that. I CAN cook, but I DON’T cook. At least not very often. Faithfully, every day, I tried to break through the damn security.

mac and cheese

macandcheese

macaroni and cheese

macaroniandcheese

mac & cheese

mac&cheese

macaroni & cheese

macaroni&cheese

Do you see the frustration? Hitting my head on the wall, day after day after day. The only response I would get is, “That answer does not match our records.”

Then today, I almost passed out. I actually answered the question and was able to get into the program. Guess what the right answer was. Come on, guess!

eggs

I’m going to invest in a helmet to cut down on injuries from banging my head on the wall.


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Orthodontists

Frankie got his braces off. If anyone asks your opinion about putting braces on a kid at a younger age, I would advise not to. We tried it. It made sense to me. If you put them on early, the goal is to make room for your teeth to come in correctly, eliminating the need to have them later. We did it and the orthodontist considered it a success because Frankie didn’t need to have eight teeth pulled. Frankie and I? We both thought it would have been much easier to have the teeth pulled in one shot. He ended up needing a second set of braces anyway. I had eight teeth pulled when I was his age before I got my braces.

Anyhow, he got them off for the second time this week. He gets the retainers on Thursday. It’s an interesting office. Up until a few months ago, there were only women in the office. I mean, thousands of women. Now there is one young guy that works there. Brave guy. It drives Frankie crazy there, but I love it.

When I came to get him, the receptionist said they post the “new smiles” on their Facebook page and even video. There is a literal red carpet, balloons, etc. to celebrate. But Frankie said he didn’t want his picture posted there or on Instagram. They thought maybe if I talked to him, he would consent. I laughed out loud. Obviously they have no idea what this kid’s relationship to his mother is. He generally tries to do the polar opposite of anything I do.

I told them that he gets mad at me when I post things on Facebook with him. He will say very indignantly, “Mom, I didn’t give you permission to post that.” I ever so politely tell him, “Sweetie, I own you until you are 18. I don’t need your permission. So sorry.” The receptionist laughed. It occurred to me that I don’t sound like a very good psychology person. I should be saying that I need to respect his privacy, or whatever. I guess if I thought that he truly didn’t want it other than to disappoint me, I would try to respect his wishes. But there are lots of people who love and support him and are interested in his life.

As Frankie walked down the red carpet, I told the doc that it was probably my fault he doesn’t like to post stuff. I wrote a book about our family and now he doesn’t want anything to be out there. She looked at me and said, “It’s not your fault,” with a surprised face that wondered why I would ever think such a silly thing.

That’s part of why I love her. She is fun. She is nice. She treats all the patients with respect. But make no mistake. She is clear about where a kid’s place is. Anytime a comment was made, even in the tiniest way, she always spoke up and reminded Frankie that he is responsible for himself. I love her strength. And I appreciate the occasional reminders that I am a great parent and I get to make decisions around the house, in spite of whatever teenagers happen to feel differently (even if it is developmentally normal for them to push the envelope).

I don’t have a good picture of Frankie’s new smile. He let me take one, but it was a frightening picture more than it was flattering. So just trust me. Round two with the braces worked. He looks fabulous. And thanks to the folks at the orthodontist’s office for boosting me in ways they have no idea they even did!