Category Archives: Rants

To The Jerk Who Tossed Our Car

Hey, punk.

I get it. You were probably with some friends, feeling big and dangerous, and you tried car doors all down the street. And for some unfathomable reason — we always lock our doors — ours opened.

You tossed the car looking for stuff of value. You didn’t take the registration or the insurance, or the car itself, and that’s how we know you were a kid, not a serious thief. You left it a mess, but you didn’t break anything, and you only took one thing.

The FM transmitter for our iPod.

Our first one broke about ten months ago, and I’ve been without one for that long, because sure, they’re only about forty bucks, but we didn’t have that money for something that wasn’t groceries or bills. We got another one on sale just two weeks ago, so I could finally listen to my orchestra work on the way to rehearsal again, and we could listen to the Harry Potter audiobook we got. We have another eight-hour trip coming up this weekend, and we were really looking forward to that audiobook. It was going to be a huge treat for the whole family.

We work really hard for what little we have, and we work by the rules. And in a couple of minutes, you ruined that. And you know when we found out? At the end of a day where we had finally decided, after a lot of angst, that yes, we could afford the gas to drive to visit my parents for Easter weekend, so that our kids could see the grandparents they only see about five times a year. It was also the day where after we’d made that decision, I discovered that one of my little cats is sick, possibly very, very sick, and had a crisis because I couldn’t afford to both take that trip and take the cat to the vet. Friends stepped in (many friends offered their help, and I love them all so very much for their caring and support) and now I can do both. But it was a really, really bad day. Then you made it worse when we found that you’d invaded our privacy and taken the one thing that has made my life in the car a lot more bearable after months of frustration. Add the sense of violation and anger at feeling ineffective to it all, and you’ve got what my day was like.

One good thing has come of this. We now know that the wonky driver’s side master locking switch is officially fried and unreliable, despite its helpful beeps that say it’s working, which means we’ll have to walk around the car, open the passenger side door, and use that one. I suppose I should be thankful that you didn’t steal the CDs (although most of them are copies because I don’t like taking originals in the car, as they get scratched), or the kids’ car seats, which would have put paid to any travel anywhere. But you know what? I find it really, really hard to be thankful for anything associated with this.

In closing, I hope that the moment you plug that transmitter into a car it blows out the whole electric system of the vehicle, and you have to pay a craptonne of money to repair it. I hope it fries whatever MP3 player you plug into it. I hope that bad luck dogs every step you take, because you stole a $40 bit of electronic equipment that a family down on its luck saved up to buy, to give themselves a bit of sunshine in their stressful lives.

LATER: Fortuitously found a cheap replacement FM transmitter in a flyer that just arrived for a discount electronics place around the corner. Shall check it out tomorrow. I refuse to let this get me down.

The Best-Laid Plans…

… of those being virtuous and preparing info for tax reports gang aft agley.

The plan of the day was to take my file of collected business receipts into the living room, spread everything out in the sunbeam on the floor, sort things, then add the sorted piles up, then enter it all in my spreadsheet. The spreadsheet would be e-mailed to HRH at the end of the day, who would print it out at work (no, I still do not have a functional printer, because I can’t afford to refill the colour ink cartridge so that the black ink cartridge will work. I hate this stupid co-dependent cartridge thing). Then we could call our awesome tax guy, drop the stuff off, and pick it up in a week or so when I’d have received a freelance cheque and could pay him.

That was the theory, anyhow.

The actual order of events went like this:

    9:45 EDT: Okay; taxes today. Going to carry my messy, bursting-at-the-seams file of stuff into the living room and work on the floor in the sun. To me, my calculator!

    10:30 EDT: Receipts sorted into general piles. Now sorting into more precise subcategories, and the fun of adding it all up. Losing my sunbeam, though.

    10:45 EDT: GAH ARRG RAWR — Gryff just tore through the room, caught the carpet in his claws, yanked it up and over as he went, scattered the sorted receipts, and overturned a full mug of tea on it all. I sopped up what I could, hung the worst of the larger pieces of paper over chairs to dry, then peeled the soaking receipts apart and lay them in what sunbeam is left. When it’s dry I’ll have redo all the piles. ARGH!

So I and this task are on hold until things are less damp.

The bitter irony is that only last night I looked at Gryff, who was on my lap while I spun the rest of the chocolate Coopworth long-draw and plied it all up, and said, “Your claws need a good trimming, mister,” because he was poking my knees with them.

In Which Life Is Not Fun

UPS just showed up with my secondhand lazy kate and bobbins.

Guess what? There’s a huge brokerage fee, plus GST, plus PST. All calculated on the value, which UPS determined was $106, which is the value of the item plus all their service fees. (How they can get away with saying their services qualify as part of the total value of the shipment, I cannot fathom. I originally misunderstood the $106 to be the value declared by the seller, but a close inspection of the fine print on the copy of the bill I was given indicates that no, UPS is just a bully and a bastard.)

Total brokerage fees? $57.84 CDN.

How much did I pay for this secondhand set? $60 CDN.

How much is this lazy kate + bobbin set new? $120 CDN.

I could cry. This was supposed to save me money. I’m ending up with a used product for the same amount of money I would have paid for new. I could have ordered it via my friends at Ariadne Knits and supported them for the same cost.

The UPS guy was so, so nice. He talked about all sorts of options, including never using UPS cross-border because of the inflated fees (he says he works for UPS and never uses them!) and asking people to declare the actual value paid or as used goods between 1-10$ so the associated fees are much lower.

I don’t even have the parcel now, because not only am I morally opposed to being charged an insane amount of money to obtain my already-paid-for-shipping-and-all goods, my credit card is useless and I didn’t have the cash. He’s coming back tomorrow. What really makes me angry is that I tracked this parcel from the day it was sent, and not once did they include any info about charges, which would have made me ready for them so I could have had the money on hand, or at least been emotionally prepared for having to refuse it or whatever the shipper and I decided to do about it. He says they do it on purpose, and I fully expect that they do. He gets this kind of reaction all the time, and he thinks it is completely unfair to those receiving the parcels. And 90% of the time, people pay the fees, because what else can they do? They’ve ordered an item they want and/or need, after all.

I feel like I’ve been kicked. I’m trying to find some sort of solace in the fact that I helped a fellow spinner out, but it’s kind of hard. Money’s tight, and I was trying to do what was best; I found the item used and at a good price, saved up for it, and now I feel like I’m being punished somehow for trying to do the right thing. Anyway, I’ve sent the shipper an e-mail to try to work something out. If I refuse it and it gets sent back to her to be shipped again via the post office, we lose the original UPS shipping fee, but the PO would have to charge $40 in order for our total shipping costs to match the extortionist import fee UPS is trying to charge me. And from a quick glance at the fee tables on the USPS site, it looks like it will cost between $10 and $15 to mail, which at least saves me about $25.

I hate being penalized for trying to do the right thing. I hate it.

ETA: A couple of people have asked, so let me clarify: This is not duty, it is brokerage alone. UPS evaluated the parcel and said, “We have decided that you need not pay duty on this. Now pay us $58 for telling you so.”

ETA LATER: The seller is an absolute star. She was as indignant about the brokerage fees as I was, and has told me to absolutely refuse the package. She’s never shipped anything cross-border via UPS before, and you can be darn sure she won’t do it again. When it gets back to her she’ll ship it out via the post office, and she’s offered to absorb part of the cost. I’m so thankful that she was as aghast as I was and agreed to work with me to get around this, even though it means a bit of extra effort on both our parts. So I won’t have my lazy kate and extra bobbins for another couple of weeks, but the time is worth the $40 I’ll ultimately save.


This morning I am on a homicidal rampage against HP.

When I got the Mac my printer worked, yay (unlike my previous Windows PCs where I had to install sixty trillion things to get my peripherals to work); no need to install all the HP software that takes up huge amounts of space and that I don’t use. And then I said to someone I’d scan and e-mail them a printed photo. For some reason, that didn’t work at all. The printer says it isn’t connected to the computer when I try to initiate the scan from it; the printer says there’s no scanner hooked up when I try to go at it the other way around. This is hunh?-worthy, because my printer is an all-in-one unit, so if the printer is connected and works, then the scanner is also connected and should work. So last week I finally downloaded the Mac software from HP and installed it. The scan worked. And then the computer froze upon reboot the next morning. But since then there hasn’t been a problem, not that I’ve tried another scan.

Till this morning, when HRH asked me to scan and send an image to him at work.

Nothing works. Nothing. I tried going at it from sixteen different directions. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling four times; now the software and drivers won’t even install without crashing. I downloaded non-HP software that claims it works with my scanner; it doesn’t recognize it.

My research online tells me that an awful lot of people using Macs have the same problem with HP printers of all models and types, despite HP claiming to be fully Mac-compatible. Apparently HP is dreadful in general with their drivers, but even more so with Macs.

Gods-damned HP. Why do I keep buying their products? Why? (Because they’re cheap. And I’m paying for it in other ways.)

This means I may need to need to buy or acquire a third printer within four years. I am not pleased. Although HP was so ashamed of the bashlash they experienced upon the release of Snow Leopard because they’d utterly failed to match the upgrade (they actually told people to buy new printers instead!) that they decided that it would be a good move to develop Snow Leopard-compatible drivers after all, and finally made sure the scanner part of the all-in-one units like the one I have would actually be supported, after ages of ignoring them in the driver updates. So if I upgrade to Snow Leopard, the printer and scanner should work. This is worth thinking about, as Snow Leopard is only $35 and by all reports is very shiny and exciting. Still; I shouldn’t have to upgrade my OS from a perfectly functional release to get my scanner to work. HP should be releasing fully functional updated drivers concurrent with every previous OS upgrade instead of crippled ones that only address one of the functions in an all-in-one.

I can’t even spin to relax because I don’t have spare bobbins, and I can’t go ahead and ply the stuff I’ve got because I still don’t know if I’m using the n-ply or the two-ply for Devon’s wrap.

I had Girl Guide cookies for breakfast. I suspect I’m going to make chocolate chip shortbread cookies very soon, and probably focaccia for lunch. Also, if it’s going to go up to 14 today, would the sun please come out?

rawr rawr rawr. and grump.

Maybe I’ll retake all those awful swatch photos while listening to decent music. I’m not calm enough to open my new freelance assignment and work on it just yet.

Dear City of LaSalle…

… any time you want to give us more information on the boil-water advisory issued last Wednesday evening (July 1 for those keeping score at home), we’d be more than happy to receive it. Cause you know, you told us you’d have results on Friday at the earliest, thereby setting up the expectation that we’d have news in two to three days. I know Wednesday was a holiday, and there was a weekend in there, but come on. We’re on day six of the advisory, and if there’s been nothing concrete in the test results, at least tell us that testing is ongoing and thank us for our patience and continued co-operation. I know you don’t want to spread misinformation or raise alarm more than you already have, but even a “stay tuned” note would go a long way right about now.

I’ve been optimistic and given you the benefit of the doubt, but really. The ball is being dropped in a major way.

No love,


ETA: Well, thank you. Although why did you wait till Monday to run the tests?

Note To The PTB:

Yesterday was made of fail. I want it wiped from my mind and from the record in general, thanks. The only good points were scoring the cello case and my lesson. Oh, and the boy opening a thank-you gift from the Nightdemons family for the use of his baby swing and absolutely loving it. (Thank you!)

Seriously, I know that for a variety of reasons I must be stressed, but I didn’t need to combined total of two and a half hours in traffic. Especially when it made me late for both things I needed to be at on time. Especially not on top of the driving out into an area I’d never been, and through traffic there too earlier in the day. I cried in frustration so much yesterday at various times that I have the crying-hangover thing happening this morning.

Thanks go out to Pdaughter for keeping the boy an hour past her regular ‘closing time,’ for the hug, and the glass of cold water, and the rolls of Rockets; to HRH, who ordered Chinese food; to the boy himself for gently patting away my tears with a tissue and for his patience; and to Nightdemons for providing that little bit of gift joy when we finally got home last night.

I hate, hate, hate that after doing next to nothing all spring and summer, construction companies rip roads up just before winter, and more than they should at once in that final rush to get a Band-aid on the roads before the snow falls. I hate that there is no way to get wherever I need to go without encountering construction-based traffic on every alternate route I can think of, traffic made worse by people trying to avoid yet other construction. I would so be doing the public transportation thing if it wouldn’t take three times as long as a car trip and take three buses. Even with the traffic.

I am determined that today will be nothing but relaxed. And there is the boy’s first official Halloween excursion tonight to look forward to. Yesterday he was practising: “I knock on the door, and they open the door, and I say ‘trick or treat!’ and they give me… good luck.” Good luck? Whatever. I’m not going to correct him. The first time someone gives him candy his head is going to explode. Am I am so looking forward to seeing it.