A friend in need…

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 18-01-2010

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I know most of you won’t know who this is, but trust me when I tell you that he is probably one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. On Sunday, I saw a Tweet from my friend and colleague Shawn Powers that simply said “My house burned down”. I was hoping this was figuratively or some weird Linux thing I don’t understand (hey, it happens more often than you’d think!). But no. His house did burn down. He, his amazing wife and 3 girls (ages 12, 10 and 9) are okay. The family pets did not make it. I cannot even begin to imagine how you recover from this. He and I work together (virtually) with Linux Journal. He’s a funny, yet caring gentleman who would give you the shirt off of his back. So, I’m here asking you.. if you have an extra dollar or two sitting around in your paypal account, can you pass it on to his family to help them get back on their feet? I’m writing this on Sunday to post on Monday – he hasn’t asked us to set this up, Linux Journal just did it – we know there are things they are going to need that he hasn’t even thought about.

So there ya have it… my plea for a friend :) This money goes directly into his paypal account, bypassing myself and the Linux Journal crew completely. My thoughts are with you and your family, Shawn. If you aren’t able to contribute, you can always stop by his blog with thoughts/prayers/whatever. I know he appreciates just knowing we are thinking of him.

You can give by clicking the button below or by visiting the donation site directly at http://helpshawnpowersfamily.chipin.com/

I also wanted to add a note here about the power of the internet. See that total up there? Is that amazing or what? I remember back in the early 90s when I was using a BBS, my mother asked if I considered “those people on the computer” my friends and I told her yes. She asked how I could call someone I’d never met my friend. She understands a little more now since she has email and works from home via internet, etc. BUT…

Yes, you can make wonderful friends virtually. I’ve met Shawn once. We had dinner together with a group of Linux Journal people and then walked around downtown trying to find a place to do some remote video thing LJ was doing (I have learned to just nod my head a lot). But I still consider him a friend. No, maybe more like a big brother. I look up to him and I know that if something ever happened to me, he’d be there to beat those mean people up! I also have a stinky little Internet brother too, but that’s another post for another day (love ya, Justin!).

In the meantime, help if you can… you can follow Shawn and find out his status by visiting:
http://www.facebook.com/shawnp0wers
http://www.brainofshawn.com/
http://www.natuba.com/shawnp0wers/
http://twitter.com/shawnp0wers

Heard From the Front Door: Mom’s Work

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Heard From The BackSeat | Posted on 10-12-2009

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Cassie just came in from school and had started her homework when the doorbell rang. I went to answer it and came back with a package.

Cassie: Who was that?

Me: The courier.

Cassie: What’d he give us? (probably thinking it was something fun cuz Fedex and UPS both came with goodies yesterday)

Me: Just some work stuff from a client

Cassie: Geez – MORE work stuff, mom?

Yes, Cassie… more, indeed. It never ends. But we are lucky. Not everyone has work these days. We’re lucky.

Sprint Resolution

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 16-11-2009

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sprintSo, Sprint finally resolved this… how it was resolved is kind of interesting. I was emailed by a supervisor in the equipment fraud department Sunday night. I think one of his people saw my Facebook complaints and contacted him and he emailed me assuring me he’d make sure someone handled it.

By 8:10am, I had a $250 on my account (I guess $50 for my trouble). I must say that once I got someone’s attention (too bad it had to be someone NOT in customer service) they took care of it right away. And everyone that’s contacted me since made sure to apologize for their error. In that respect, they’ve treated me very well. BUT – I have to wonder why it came to this. I mean, I spent hours emailing and calling and posting to social media places as well as their forums to get their attention. It shouldn’t work that way.

So – the reason they charged me an early termination fee is because I shut down the PHONE NUMBER that we reassigned to the older phone. Apparently, Sprint assigns lines of service the phone numbers and not serial numbers. I really think that’s ridiculous, to me, I’m doing away with an old phone, not a phone number. I could have easily ported my number to another carrier if that were the case. Instead, I wanted to stay with Sprint, keep my number and continue on about my business. I hope this is one practice they will look at in the future.

BUT the bottom line is that their customer service reps, supervisors, and retentions department screwed up. I wish someone would have told me somewhere down the line that I was getting hosed in that deal *laugh* Instead the retentions guy was all happy have a solution for me.

Such is life, I suppose. At the end of the day, I’m happy, but after 14 years of being a customer, I still can’t help but feel a little slighted. I mean, this was only over $200 and it was their mistake. There were several times in the past that something to do with Sprint actually WAS my mistake and I paid for it without a problem. I am very happy that they took care of it for me though, just sad that I had to make such an internet stink and throw a social media hissy fit to get it done.

I still remain a loyal Sprint customer… however maybe slightly more wary…

What happened to @Sprint Customer Service? Seeking Opinions!

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 14-11-2009

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Update 11/16 4pm: Sprint finally did resolve this – the story is HERE (shorter this time, promise!)

Update 4:30pm: I realize it’s a weekend so I probably won’t hear back from anyone at Sprint, if I ever do, but so far this is the other actions I’ve taken. At this point, it’s more of a matter of principal. I’ve posted about this on Facebook (with some really interesting conversations going on too) and Twitter where a Palm developer responded. I also called and left a voice mail at the Consumerist’s Sprint whatever line. I also emailed a link to this blog post to dan@sprint.com, customerservice@sprint.com, sprintcares@sprint.com, ecare@cc.sprintpcs.com, and customer.servicenet@sprint.com (amazingly enough, none of them bounced and I got a standard “we really do care and someone might actually read this one day!” from the dan@sprint.com one). I’m simply not going to pay that $200. The had THREE different chances to make sure I knew not to change that number. I’m a 14 year customer. Will Sprint let a 14 year customer who is always singing their praises go over a $200 mistake that they made?

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Update 3:00pm: So,  I chatted with some poor guy at Sprint online customer service… I’m not sure that he understands that the $200 wasn’t something they would have charged me if the CSR people would have handled this properly in the first place.  So, it’s not like they are missing out on my little $200. So, they are willing to lose a 14 year customer over $200 that THEY made a mistake on and wouldn’t have gotten from me in the first place if they hadn’t, in my opinion, lied to me by omission? I love it. Chat transcript HERE.

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I’m so annoyed right now. Back 14 (?) years ago, we signed up with SprintPCS. They were brand new in Hawaii and we needed those newfangled cell phones. Any time I’ve ever upgraded my phone, I’ve never had a problem. I call them up and they make it happen. Back 10 years ago when we moved here to Austin, we brought our Sprint phones with us. Again, never had any real problems. Seriously, I’m constantly singing their praises (My AT&T friends will even tell you, when their service goes down I’m all “neener neener” at them). They’ve never messed up a bill even. In FOURTEEN YEARS. They usually are 2nd only to Amazon in customer service.

preUntil June. Tom had been dealing with this horrible Palm Centro that just never worked right and the face was chipping off and it was just a bad phone. But it was to the point that it never synced or worked right so we had to get rid of it and get something reliable. We could have paid the $50 or $100 (whatever) and gotten it replaced under our warranty (yes, we are those people that pay for all the extras, extended warranty, roadside assistance-I’ve had to use it twice and it ROCKS by the way, etc) but at that point we were considering either moving to an iPhone or getting him a Pre. I had gotten my Pre previously and he really liked it, but I was within my 30 day period so I could easily return it and we could move to the iPhone. No problem. I don’t really LIKE the iPhone, but with his phone being in the shape it was, I knew I could deal with it. But we both really really liked the Pre. It’s a fabulous phone and it was Sprint – who we trusted.

BUT… they wanted him to pay $800 for the phone when he went up to the Sprint store. Um. No. So, I called customer service to talk to them about getting out of his contract and returning my phone since it was under it’s 30 day thing. It would have cost us probably $200 to get out of his phone at that time. But no, they didn’t want to lose a customer of 10 (well, 14 really, but I guess Hawaii billing is separate?) years so off we went to customer retention (which I had dealt with before because they didn’t want to give us the same deal they were giving new customers on a Treo). They were great. Eventually the guy told me that what I needed to do is go get a NEW line of service with a new Pre and make the Centro an emergency phone (or drop it in a drawer because frankly it didn’t work!). It would cost me $60 for the 3 months left on his Centro contract because we could add a shared line for $20 per month so he even credited my account for that $60. I just needed to call and cancel the phone in 3 months when the contract was really up. Awesome. I was loving Sprint and again singing their praises and enjoyed my Palm Pre (in fact, I love this phone, it’s the perfect phone for someone with a mobile life/business). Yippee. We all win. Right?

So, last month, I called them up to cancel the phone. No problem, they did it, they didn’t say anything about fees or anything. Voila. Easy. Again, I’m telling everyone I know how cool Sprint is. But today, my phone was doing something weird so I called Sprint to ask for help (ended up being able to fix it myself while on hold) but the lady said “oh, and to update you on your balance, it’s $360″. Um. What? I thought maybe they hadn’t gotten the payment I sent on the 27th, but no, they had gotten it. Weird. So the lady opens up my account and tells me that I have a “termination fee”. I’m lost. What termination fee? We aren’t leaving Sprint. We are super loyal, ask Time Warner or Bank of America or State Farm or, hell, ask Sprint! But apparently, that phone I canceled? They want to charge me because I added the line in June. WHAT? No no no, I canceled the CENTRO not the Pre.

But apparently they don’t show it that way or it connects to the phone number (because I switched the phone numbers on the phones when we got his Pre). I’m still confused and no one can answer me as far as why they are charging me. The customer retention dude told me this was all a done deal. I was a very happy customer. So, I call back and tell this same story to 3 or 4 people. Until I get to customer retention where he basically tells me “too bad”. Um. What? I didn’t do anything wrong here! I did exactly what YOUR department told me to. He then tells me that this was all in the terms of service. Yes, I know that document. I’ve seen it in various forms for the past FOURTEEN YEARS. But I assumed that was handed by customer retention or didn’t apply because we were canceling after 2 years with the Centro. He didn’t mention it at the time, the lady who I switched the phone numbers with said nothing, the lady who I canceled the phone with was VERY nice and didn’t mention it. What? I’m basically yelling at this poor guy, it’s not his fault, HE didn’t lie to me, but it’s not fair. I didn’t do anything wrong here, I just followed the rules they gave me. What?

So, here I am where I was in June. Only instead of $200 to get out of Sprint, it will cost me almost $600 to drop my “other” 2 lines. Which, quite frankly, I’m considering doing because I’m SO angry and so disappointed that the Sprint representatives were allowed to lie to me like this.

The problem is that I love the phone and am not a huge iPhone fan. But at what point do we as consumers say “enough is enough”? I guess I might be able to jailbreak the Palm Pre phones and move them to another carrier? I guess I have some research to do and figure out where to go from here. But I really really am upset. I don’t like being lied to. The worst part is that this whole thing could have been avoided back in June if they had just told me this up front. I could have made the decision to pay the $200 or not. The way they handled it now, I have no choice because NO ONE was honest about how it would be handled.

What’s interesting is that Palm is also losing a huge fan out of all of this. I’ve been using Palm products exclusively since they were, well, fancy moleskins! *laugh* And what about the investment I have in the Pre phones? I have 2 touchstones, 3 car chargers and tons of other accessories that yes, I BOUGHT FROM SPRINT STORES. I could have bought them online cheaper, but no. I go to the store because I know if there’s a problem, they will fix it. No questions asked. Easy. Done deal.

Heck, in fact, last night I was talking to a friends boyfriend telling him how fabulous the Pre is and Sprint is. ARGH! What? Am I now supposed to do like everyone else does with their phone plans and switch every 2 years? Does loyalty mean NOTHING to these folks? I joked when on my 10th anniversary with Sprint, they sent me little grip guards for my phone. It was funny, but it was a small “thank you” that meant something, at least I thought they recognized customer loyalty. Apparently not.

Sigh. Now what? What would YOU do? I really want to know… I don’t think it’s fair of me to break down and pay that $200. If I had known it in the first place, maybe. But at the same time, it seems silly to pay the $600 to get out of them all together, but they lied to me. And putting my trust in any company for 14 years and then being lied to, well that hurts.

Okay, so I did it… I took that leap…

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 19-02-2009

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Part of the reason my blogging has dropped off is I’ve been forming and acting on this project I’ve been wanting to do for the business side of my life. I am absolutely in love with what I do. I love the freedom it gives Tom and I in so many aspects of our lives. I have been wanting to find a way to give a little bit back to the virtual assistant community that has supported me in so many ways…

So…. http://www.2minuteswithava.com was born.

I’m so freaking out. I’m doing video blogs. Me. I HATE BEING ON CAMERA. But after reading a book or two and other things that go through my head I found that I don’t challenge myself enough. I am happy to sit in my own little word and not ACT.

So, I’m acting…

Oh, god, I think I’m going to throw up… *laugh*
:)

But ya know… I feel good about myself. I’m doing something that makes me feel a little weird, but I’m helping others.

And that… well, that, feels pretty good.

Theme Song Time! – Oh yeah, it’s January for sure…

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 29-01-2009

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OMG. I’m basically screaming this song these days. Remember when one of my friends discovered my theme song back in June? HERE is the post.

Yeah, so because the 31st ends on a weekend, the government so nicely gave us Monday too. OMG. I may go completely crazy before then. I’m taking Tuesday off.

And yes, I haven’t blogged (Hi Mark) – bite me.

I.So.Totally.Hate.January.

ARGH!

Child labor, woohoo!

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 20-11-2008

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I got roped into working on the student directory for the school this year. I am so far behind on that project that it’s ridiculous. Jamie noticed I had the papers laid out and offered to help staple some stuff. Child labor at it’s best, folks!

Child Labor

Okay, so he only did about 20, but it was a help, but I think it’s funny he’s developed that weird habit of sticking his tongue out when he’s concentrating. LOL

Evil mother, yeah, yeah, yeah…

The kids do a jagger (aka pimping my kids out for a poster)

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 26-09-2008

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One of my clients, Linux Journal, held a contest – for people that were willing to do a jagger, you could win a free poster (super cool geek poster). Anyway, here’s a link to the contest HERE. I, of course, bribed my children to do it… enjoy! (it’s REALLY funny, at least I think so!)

Meet The Teacher was last night…. and cha-cha-cha changes… (Long and Rambling)

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Posted by Candy | Posted in School | Posted on 22-08-2008

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So, the welcome walk was last night. Yes, they come to the house. There are joys to having a small community elementary school (350 students in 6 grades – plus Pre-K). How cool is that? Both seem very very nice, which helps seeing as I’m handing them my babies for 7 hours per day. And no, I didn’t scream “baby stealer!” at Cassie’s Kinder teacher.

Cassie’s teacher came first and we had to call Cassie out of Jamie’s room – they had been in there for an hour or more playing with legos. Earlier that day, we had made a pencil craft (with a pinwheel on top) and Cassie gave it to her teacher as a gift (something we started last year and appears to now be a tradition). She was very surprised and will put it in her room to show it off. Cassie was, of course, beaming. Cassie was a bit shy but I think she’s fine and the teacher shook her hand and told she would see her Monday for supply drop off. We found out later that a kid she knows will be in her class so she’s feeling pretty good about it all.

Jamie’s teacher came a few minutes later. The lady was pretty nervous, but I have to admit if someone told me I had to go visit 18 kids at their home with their parents asking me random questions, I’d probably pee my pants and then go hide. I thought she might start crying when Jamie gave her her pencil. That has ended up being a pretty good ice breaker. The little girl next door won’t be in his class like he wanted, but his bully will NOT be in his class (we requested it ahead of time), and he knows a few kids that will be in his class, so it’s all good.

For those of you that don’t know, Tom is moving to a limited capacity working with me. He’s found that he really wants to see people during the day (well, more than just me). He took a contract job over the Summer and is considering substitute teaching a bit this year. I’m okay with that, but it will be a huge change. I actually really like working with Tom and while we have our moments (seriously? you didn’t do that? You know it’s like – OVERDUE – now, right?) I think we have worked super well together over the years. Having said THAT, it will nice to eventually have insurance that doesn’t suck and other benefits.

He should hear soon about the substitute teaching. He had an issue with getting fingerprinted. Tom has palmar hyperhydrosis (which basically means his hands sweat a lot – and nearly all the time). They had some issues with the prints coming back as altered because when your hands sweat a lot the whorls and ridges aren’t as pronounced due to the swelling or whatever. Anyway, we haven’t gotten the final results yet so we are in a holding pattern until we hear back.

I’m very proud of Tom in that he will graduate this April (or June? I cannot remember) with his bachelor’s degree. WooHoo! The degree is in Business Marketing. So, of course, he wants to be a teacher now. *laugh*

Actually, he’s not even sure what he wants to be when he grows up (yes, my 36 year old husband is trying to find himself). I’m all for the teacher thing because you can’t beat the hours or the time off – PLUS it has a great benefits. Frankly, that’s becoming more important than the salary to me. He’s also thinking of a starting a small hosting business for QuickBooks and Sharepoint, but he doesn’t actually know what he wants to do at this point.

I’m going to really feel weird the first few weeks. I’ve had someone here while I worked for the past 5 years. But I’m also looking forward to a more focused work-time. It’s going to be REALLY quiet! Not such a bad thing :)

So, there you have it… the update on our lives right now.

Work to do and a couple of kids are coming over for a last hurrah today to play with our kids. (I truly believe the more the merrier – they keep each other busy so I can work – plus I secretly smile when I hear them all playing nicely together). We are so lucky to have great kids in our neighborhood that get along so well. It’s like stepford without the freakiness. *grin*

(Hey! I typed stuff and no pictures!)

My little networker….

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 05-05-2008

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Because of some weird scheduling thing, I had a little networking meeting and had to take Jamie with me. Luckily, it wasn’t a big deal to bring my kid because it’s SUPER informal. Anyway, Jamie found this tag in my bag and made himself a name tag. I thought it was so cute I, of course, had to get a picture.

I have to say what a little man my kid is. He’s so smart and cute and funny. He was SO good during the meeting. I was very proud of him!

Jamie gets ready for our meeting