American Politicians — There’s Nothing Like ‘Em!

As a responsible United States of America citizen, born and bred in the South, I cannot understand our politicians. Presently, there are ridiculous debates ongoing about the debts of America. Many of them have stated that we may not be able to pay our citizens — those who depend and HAVE PAID their portion to Social Security…not to mention those precious soldiers who are fighting our wars, to keep our peace. Do they really need to worry about how and IF they will be paid? What about their families? How do they survive IF American politicians cannot get their act together and recognize — hey, we need to make decisions/agree to disagree/but get the issues resolved.

If our credit rating is downgraded – just what will happen? That question brings me back to the early 1980’s when my immediate family was going through a crisis. Yes, it is true, we struggled, but I managed to readjust the family budget, and I went back to work – just to have a steady income to pay our bills. My husband was in construction at the time and the developers, contractors and such were similar to the American politicians. They would not pay! It was truly the worst financial crisis of our time as a married couple, but we dug our way out and survived, without filing bankruptcy and we worked hard to be accountable and responsible for all the commitments we had made.

I don’t know how you are feeling about the issues in Washington, but I feel it is time to get rid of all of these “Good ole boys.” Maybe they should take all of their millions, contribute them to the country to help America rise above these financial mistakes. Maybe they should have to worry about surviving with Social Security, Medicare and/or getting paid as a soldier — that is IF they get paid.

This is a disgrace. Next year is the year for all of us to take a stand and to tell Washington we are mad as Hell and we are not taking this anymore!

I am ashamed of all of them! Living in South Carolina, I am still a bit disgraced over our politicians. Yes, next year I will do all I can to voice my concerns by voting, and I suppose I will continue to voice my opinion in my blogs!

American Politicians…there’s nothing like ’em! Why can’t they simply recognize America has made the financial mistakes and it is time to pay these bills! We cannot allow our country to keep slipping away. It is time for “Made in America” to actually mean something again — instead of “Made in China….” “Made in Vietnam….” Etc. Etc. Don’t even get me started about all of the telemarketers who call me from India, or customer service reps who reside there to make hotel reservations, or to assist with complaints or service! Nothing gets under my feather quicker than the inability to understand someone who cannot speak the same language as I do so we really can communicate!

And now, I’m off of my soapbox for today. Stay tuned – I just might have another opinion!

Sears — Still Waiting…and Waiting…and Waiting!

I suppose my ‘saga with Sears’ is continuing. Recent reports from me stated that they were to return phone calls. Since the executive office of Sears phoned me weeks ago, I have returned their phone calls SEVERAL times.

Still, I await the credit of the delivery fee ($69.00) to be credited to my account, and I AM STILL WAITING for the promised “$100 gift card.”

The Sears delivery supervisor was supposed to do this. I suppose I should’ve asked, “When,” but I failed to do that.

Lessons Learned!

If only Sears would recognize, If I receive a promise, I expect it to be followed through, and I thought the “Executive offices” would be prompt and efficient with returning phone calls. Duh! I’ve yet to receive one call since they left the original message.

Funny. I have received numerous phone calls from a Sears telemarketer to explain a credit card protection service.  Repeatedly I have told them I am not interested, nor do I want these phone calls to continue.

I’ve completely lost respect for Sears and from now on, I will think twice…and third and fourth time, before purchasing items at Sears.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I still believe in the concept of customer service and promises made. Silly me.

Now, just where is my $69.00 credit and that blasted gift card? Are you listening Sears. Somehow, I think not! You can’t even have the decency or respect to return a phone call!

Friends Are so Precious and Special

Here I go again with freewriting, only this time, it is about a subject I have failed to truly reach out to and appreciate until now. The subject of Friendship and how precious and IMPORTANT it is to our lives.

If you read my post on the 17th of this month, you read about a wonderful friend I recently lost. Still, I find myself thinking of her. Only yesterday, I thought I saw her again. Gee. Am I losing my mind, or what?

I suppose it is the cycle of grief that is racing inside my mind. Years ago, I failed to reach out to new people I met in fear of their rejections. I admit it. It’s hard for me to make a friend, simply because friendship means more to me than words can describe. A friend is someone you not only laugh and have fun with, a friend is someone who will truly be there for you, during the good, the bad and the ugly days of darkness.

As a young girl, I made friends easily, only to discover they were saying ugly things behind my back. Ouch. That truly hurt. As a teenager, friends were jealous of me. Imagine that?!? Why, I do not know, so in high school I only had a few “friends.” Funny, I still keep in touch with them. One lives in Ohio, the other in my hometown. Rarely do I see either. One refuses to do e-mail, so we correspond via the antiquated way of letter writing. Her letters are in cursive writing. Mine…are — of course — typed and I do sign them with my cursive penmanship.

I think I hate freewriting, because it appears to be just random thoughts, not organized or edited, just thoughts rushing along a keyboard.

Today, I managed to treat myself to a day at the beach — my first day back in over four weeks. It was delicious! Arriving, I noticed the sandbar was covered with the warm spraying of the ocean waters.  I placed my beach chair down, covering it with a thick beach towel, opened my book and relaxed. No one around. No music blaring. Just total relaxation while the roar of the warm ocean waters moaned and groaned my name. It was great to enjoy the beach again. At times, I feel as if I could step across the waters into the beauty of Heaven. Needless to say, my dear friend was on my mind as I relaxed and finally I allowed myself to cry, to release the ocean of tears I haven’t been able to cry, until today.

Yes, I still feel as if I let everyone down at the memorial service since I was so emotional while speaking, but all who thanked me were kind. Two of my friends mentioned they wanted me to write their eulogies.

“Don’t even go there…writing another eulogy is something I do not want to do again — EVER.”

Yes, there will come a day when I will write another, but I hope and pray it is a long way off.

I hate freewriting! It makes me think — too much. So now, it’s been nine minutes of this freewriting, so I’ll hush and get a small bowl of orange sherbet! Yes, I’m treating myself to something luxurious tonight — a delicious bowl of orange sherbet. I think it’s time!

Happy writing!

Today Has Been an Emotional Day — Something Unusual

Today at 2pm, I attended the memorial service of a dear, cherished friend. Today has been an emotional roller coaster ride for me, starting with a silent prayer to God to just get me through this day. Feeling confident, my husband (Rock) and I left for the church chapel early so I could focus. Before I give a speech, like an actress, I like to get into character — just to focus; however, today was a day I could not reach inside of myself to focus.

Since her death on July 9, 2011, I’ve kept myself busy — confident that no matter what I felt, I could cope. Until today, I haven’t been able to cry. Walking around the church, I felt strong, although my hands were shaking and my eyes teared up, just a bit. I hugged many of the friends that Bernice and I knew and when the ceremony started, all was fine — until the ceremony began. I reached for Rock’s hand, squeezing it tight in mine. Today, I needed the strength of my husband like I haven’t needed since my dad’s death on July 6, 1999.  Words were spoken. Prayers were expressed, and then I heard my name and an introduction for the eulogy.

My voice quivered. My heart palpitated and now, my hands were shaking almost uncontrollably. I inhaled. Exhaled. Glanced out at the audience, saying another prayer.

Adjusting the microphone, I swallowed and began:

“Our paths crossed as many paths do, late in the 1970’s when our children were in
school. We smiled at PTA meetings, Parent Teacher Conferences, and when we met each other within our community. Many times, I drove by her house and waved at her as she shuffled children and parents busy with daycare. We were busy with family, commitments and our schedules could not afford the time. At least, that was my excuse and I regret, I failed to make the time. Flash-forward to 2008, my husband and I met her again at Glenn L. Jeffers VFW when Michael Viljac as Elvis the King brought us together, only this time when our eyes met, I
approached her, introducing myself again, telling Bernice  that I wanted to get to know her better, only this time, I wanted to be her friend.

She smiled that infamous, welcoming smile that always brightened my day. We
exchanged phone numbers and soon, we bonded with a dedicated and devoted bunch of friends who met on Friday nights for dinner, karaoke and much fellowship. One night I found the courage to sing, selecting “The Rose,” and when I returned to our table, I noticed Bernice wiping her eyes. Little did I know that tune was special to her and her beloved Jerry. She apologized for her tears, explaining how “The Rose” brought back special moments of their lives together before she lost him a few years ago. During his illness, she stood firm and tall, telling everyone he should not be in Hospice, but in their home. There, she cared for him with loving gentleness and dignity until he slipped away.

Bernice  is the type of woman who lights up a room. Beautiful, graceful, with a melodious movement  whenever she enters a room with that smooth, delicate, graceful glide, I  teased her, telling her she was not only a lady but also a magnet to men. She  cackled with that smooth, charismatic Southern laughter and charm and I knew Bernice and I would be friends for a lifetime.

Our discovery that something was not quite right with Bernice began during our New Year’s celebration at Jon and Betty’s home. We thought she was annoyed with us, or simply wanted to be alone, as I do many times. Eight days later, when I got the phone  call that Bernice was in the hospital, I began to put the missing pieces of  the puzzle together. The next afternoon when I visited with Bernice, I told  myself she would be fine. God would take care of her and provide us a miracle.

While Bernice fought for her life, she gave me a new appreciation about friendship. Bernice is a  rare, cherished friend. The kind who sits and listens. The quality of friend you share stories and confidential moments with, knowing that those confidentialities will not be broadcast to others. Bernice is a rare, refined  lady. A delicate, beautiful rose among the thorns in life.

The magnetism of Bernice was appreciative. She was a friend who  captivates, someone who entices others to be around her. Like an aromatic  candle, she lights up a room, showing me the way to accept those things in  life that I have no control over. Now the words, “God grant me the serenity  to accept the things I cannot change…” suddenly has new meaning.

Today, we cherish the precious  moments and memories from the gift and blessing of knowing our loving rose  and friend, Bernice . A devoted friend. Sister. A wife. Mother.  Grandmother. A magnet who attracts others, just by being in the room. An amazing, precious and loving woman of substance! We cannot allow the grief to  capture us. We must embrace it, knowing we must go on, remembering those precious moments we shared with her, and we must cling to the friendships and extended family we became when Bernice came into all of our lives.

Many of those precious memories are  the gifts of love from her beautiful, devoted daughter, Shannon and the  precious grandchildren, Mary Catherine and Austin. Mary Catherine is a  feisty, beautiful young lady filled with spirit and charm, who reflects the  personalities, values and high standards of her mother and her grandmother.

Austin is more reserved. He  sits back observing, processing what is going on. Affectionate and ready to give a tight hug, Austin is protective, and authoritative. Wise beyond his  years, he is truly a “Little Man” who knows the right words and affections  to comfort his mother and sister at just the right time.

Both children  adore their “Mimi.” When they enter the room, Bernice’s eyes light up like a Christmas tree. No doubt, the magnetism of Bernice will go on  and on as Austin and Mary Catherine grow into adulthood. Both of you must remember the good times you’ve shared. The stories and laughter, along with all of the welcoming hugs, and Bernice’s gentile demeanor for the times when you were reprimanded as children. When you miss her and ache for her, touch your heart. Bernice is there for you – ALWAYS!

Today, Let us all give thanks as we celebrate the life of Bernice while embracing her one last time to allow her to stroll towards the guardian lights of God and her  beloved Jerry. Bernice, go towards the lights of Heaven with our blessings.  While it is true, we will miss you. Words are a bit difficult to express during the grieving process.  People come into our lives for a purpose and we are  blessed to have you, and your precious memory inside our hearts. “

After my speech, I sang, “The Rose,” a bit off key at first because my voice felt as if it had bricks inside; nevertheless, I got through the song, in memory of my dear friend, Bernice. This was my last tribute to her and I knew she was helping me get through the emotional roller coaster and tears I experienced.

Yes, today was an extremely emotional day for me. Good friends are so hard to find, and when they are lost, a heart breaks, and breaks and breaks. Today has been another lesson of how short life is and how much we must always put our best foot forward, while reaching out to those we love. Life is precious, but a bit too short. We must cherish each and every moment we live.

Saga of Sears + The Power of a Blog

If you are reading this blog, you are probably familiar with my complaints about Sears — trust me, those were legitimate complaints!

Since I have been posting on a blog for a while, and I am a professional writer, I have recognized that even though I might think people do not read this blog, — trust me — they do! Sears has made the attempt to reconcile these complaints via e-mail and a follow-up phone call.

Unfortunately, this is a busy week for me. I lost a dear friend over the week (last Saturday, to be exact) and of course I’ve had the dilemma of Sears failing to deliver my refrigerator TWICE — on time! After a bit of discussion with their reportedly ineffective delivery service, the refrigerator was delivered on Sunday, between the hours of 1:30-3:30pm East coast time. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DELIVERED SUNDAY BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 7AM-9AM.  The delivery supervisor assured me they would not be late. Guess what — they were late! AGAIN!

I am still awaiting to check my Sears account to see if the $69.00 delivery charge has been credited to my account, and I am STILL WAITING for the $100 gift card that was promised. Funny, it hasn’t arrived in the mail!

You probably can detect I am a woman who expects promises to be kept, so I will not go away quietly!

Now, Sears has phoned me – leaving a message on my phone service last evening with a ‘case number…etc…etc.’

I left a message at 11:03 am, letting them know it might be best to return my call on Monday when I will be home. Today, I have several meetings. Tomorrow I am busy in the morning cooking my Italian spaghetti for the family of my friend, and tomorrow afternoon I will be at her Memorial Service where I will share the eulogy I’ve written and I will sing, “The Rose.”

I have commitments — just like Sears. The only difference is — when I make a commitment, I keep it. Pity Sears does not.

What makes this plot thicken? Only moments ago I received a phone call from Sears. I rushed to my desk to get the phone while collecting my notes, only to hear the voice of another Indian accent encouraging me to purchase a form of credit card protection — from Sears???!!!

PLEASE! My purchases at Sears will be limited from now on. No doubt they will miss me since I’ve bought new tires, clothing, home appliances, gardening tools, lawn mower and so much more. Nevertheless, I am the type of woman who doesn’t appreciate their lack of customer service. Reportedly, they pride themselves in customer service. Hey guys guess what — I worked in customer service for over twenty years, so I know a bit about customer service and my observation about Sears is — you might get a bit of kindness and follow-up to ‘close the sale’ at a store, but getting service and the proper delivery — well, the poor guys with “the flat tire on the truck could not even take a moment to phone to let me know they would be late, or we would need to reschedule!”

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Steel Magnolia Woman Who Knows How to Assert Herself!!!

When Sears and I finally connect, one of my first questions is — just where is the $100 gift card I was promised, and has the delivery charge been credited to my account? Can’t wait to hear their reply!

So, the saga continues with Barbie Perkins-Cooper and Sears — however, I’ve recognized there is power in sharing my experiences in my blog.

The plot continues! Stay tuned!

My Saga with Sears

Yes, I’m still just a bit annoyed with Sears. Our new fridge FINALLY arrived at 2:22pm today – totally messing up another day of waiting…waiting…and waiting. The delivery supervisor assured me the delivery would occur today, July 10, 2011 during the hours of 7am–9am.

Didn’t happen!

Apparently whoever schedules the deliveries (and I suspect they are outsourced from India, or some other foreign country) scheduled the delivery for the hours of 1:30-3:30pm today!

Why should you care? Simple! If you purchase appliances from Sears EXPECT the delivery to be a major achievement, and expect to stay home — waiting…and waiting…and waiting!

Another fine example of whatever happened to customer service in America!

I do tip my hat to the delivery professionals today. I imagine they were prepared to expect a ‘demanding woman who is just a bit annoyed!’ Yep…that would be me! They went out of their way to be nice and professional and I never heard one negative word. Good job! They should be commended. Perhaps I’ll get a survey! On second thought, if Sears reads this blog, they’ll choose to ignore me.

Wonder why? Let’s just say — I am so GOOD with Surveys! I tell the truth! Perhaps the power of being a woman who knows how to speak up — with diplomacy and a bit of firmness!

Sears & Company Customer Service – What Ever Happened???

Recently we purchased a new Samsung refrigerator with French doors. Pleased with the sale price, I was ecstatic. Finally, I’ll have additional room in my refrigerator. Allow me to correct that statement. What I should say is I WILL HAVE ADDITIONAL ROOM IF SEARS EVER DELIVERS IT!

Delivery was scheduled for Friday, July 8, 2011 between the hours (East Coast time) of 1:30 – 3:30pm. Phone calls were received confirming this delivery schedule. On one call, they phoned the house at 6:47AM!

Getting the old refrigerator emptied, I had everything ready to simply place the freezer items in the freezer section — all frozen items were in plastic bags, organized for the storage.

Tick. Tock. Tick Tock -Tock! The two-hour window passed. Knowing we had dinner reservations at 6pm to celebrate my husband’s birthday, I chose to phone the Sears delivery person. Thank goodness for caller ID! At 4:15, I left a message. He returned it within 15 minutes. Seems the truck had a flat tire. They would be delayed. To quote a new cliché, “Surprise. Surprise!” The true question is why didn’t these unprofessional delivery people make a phone call?

“We need to reschedule for Saturday.” I said.

Duh. The phone was silent!

I phoned the salesman at the local Sears store. He assisted, phoning me again to tell me we would need to reschedule. My diplomatic arrogance kicked in.

To make a long story short, the new scheduled date was scheduled for Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 7-9am, that is — according to the supervisor for delivery. I told him I would accept that time, but they better not be one minute late! Also, I demanded a $69 credit on my account for the delivery charge and I wanted free delivery now. Mission accomplished! Also, the supervisor said he would give me a $100 gift card!

Today, Saturday July 9 I get a phone call from Sears — another automated phone call where they choose to speak with a foreign accent — ‘the delivery is scheduled for Sunday at 1:30-3:30pm.”

Duh. What part of customer service doesn’t Sears understand?

Stay tuned later to see what time Sears decides to deliver the new fridge. Monday, I will be at the store — a displeased with customer service customer who will have her say! Yes, I’ll be diplomatic – but I think they know I am not a woman who gives in, and I will achieve something else, complimentary of Sears! My time is valuable too!

All it took to please me was a simple and courteous phone call stating, “Hey. We’ve had a flat tire and will be delayed.” There’s no excuse for not phoning to let the customer know. It is a courtesy ALL CUSTOMERS deserve! Now, I’ve discovered Sears has a major communication problem. According to the automated system, the 1:30 – 3:30 time frame on Sunday was scheduled. I suppose the supervisor miscommunicated too.

Next time – I’ll buy my appliances at a different store. Sears SUCKS with their customer service and communication skills! Let’s don’t even discuss their automated service system. It is the pits.