Does Customer Support really support?

My computer is 3 years old and so is most of the software I use, which these days actually isn’t all that much. But I’m working with images more than usual now that I’m church webmaster and I decided to upgrade my Adobe Photoshop Elements to the current version. Even bought a helpful book and everything. They arrived yesterday.

I sat down to install the product and immediately ran into problems. Adobe made me be a registered user before I could install and register my software, so I did that. But when the installation got to the part where I was to put in the serial number – I couldn’t find one! There were lots of numbers and even one that looked like a serial number, but it wasn’t. What to do?

Being a savvy geekette, I went to the Adobe customer service forums to see if anyone else had the problem. Several different entries but no real resolution. So next step was to open a chat conversation with tech support. It was, to put it mildly, annoying. I sent a picture of the label on the back of the box with all the numbers. I typed the numbers. I explained the problem. He told me he couldn’t get a serial number out of it. Well, duh.

Then he told me to look at the inner sleeve of the “box” that the disc came in and said the 24-digit serial number was on the sleeve. I took it apart, people, and there was nothing on that sleeve. Nothing. So naturally he told me I needed to report this to Amazon, where I purchased the product. It was Amazon’s fault that the Adobe product they sold didn’t have a serial number on it?  I don’t think so.

But I contacted them anyway. Finding Amazon chat is a little hidden but it’s always been productive and today was no exception. The lovely Christina told me to just send it all back and I would have a replacement tomorrow. Even though I’d dismantled the inner sleeve of the box?  Yes, she said, that’s not a problem.

 

This is why I will buy from Amazon. Because they support their sales and treat me like someone with a problem, not someone who IS a problem.

Knowing the Ancestors

Keel Sadie & Bill c1949
My great-grandparents, William Jesse Keel and Sarah Annis (Peal) Keel

My dad is 88 and has outlived everyone in his line, older than all of them except Aunt Maglene who died at 98. His memory is spotty and names are hard, but he has strong, clear memories of growing up in his small North Carolina town. I love knowing about the ancestors and being able to prompt questions and appreciate answers because I know who they are and how they fit.

I have an Ancestry app on my phone and can pull up the tree with its details and photo gallery at the drop of a hat. Want to know how much his mother earned in 1940? Who were the neighbors? What did (great grandmother) Mama Jane look like?  Did any of Dad’s grandparents die of cancer? With a few clicks, I can get an answer.

I’ve been researching the family tree since I was 16 and most of the time it just feels like I’m the only one who cares about the results. The exceptions are the drama-queen ancestors that are fun to talk about. But the everyday folks? I know or can piece together their stories. I’m especially glad now that I can share and appreciate those stories with my dad.

Crafting a Redesign

I just hit my 10-year anniversary with WordPress – yayyy me!  I remember that when this blog first started, they kept a running total on the login page of the number of blogs they powered. Mine was somewhere in the 330,000 level. Then it was one of many places to try. Now it’s pretty much the default, or at least that’s what I see when I peruse the web.

WindowRiverBut 10 years is a long time for a blog, even one that doesn’t get updated all that often anymore. I’ve been distracted by working with the website for my church, which is also done in WordPress. I hate the design, which was a customized template that just.does.not.work.for.me.  The colors and design are dated, blog posts go to some random page that’s not linked anywhere, the page doesn’t scale, and I can’t even figure out how to change the top picture!

So naturally I volunteered to become the church webmaster. I’ve been working with the current design to dump badly dated content and rearrange what’s there as best I can to make it work. As a newcomer to the community, there were things I tried to find on the site when I first got here but couldn’t find. Those are now much more accessible. But it still looks dorky.

I bought another domain to use for practicing and have been running around with my cell phone, taking pictures of the church and the windows for possible placement on a new design. Or, yanno, anywhere I can drop them. Today I’m writing up a proposal for the church board for one-time costs of funding a redesign as well as investigating places to host sermon podcasts and benefits to moving to a different hosting service. My brain is busy.

Happy WordPress-iversary Me!

Too Busy to Work

I thought I would be spending my retirement working on genealogy and doing house things. Hah. The genealogy, much as I love it and want to do it, has taken a back seat to the more important things like Mah Jongg. It’s very popular here in the Bay and I’m playing today for the third time this week. mahjong-2I’ve never really been a games-playing person but this just appeals to me. The tiles make such a lovely sound when they click together and the images are colorful and pretty. Bams, cracks, dots, dragons, jokers, winds are mixed into different specified combinations in order to make mah jongg. We use official cards from the National Mah Jongg League that show us what hands of tiles are valid each year for scoring. The new 2016 cards just arrived so we’re all equally confused about how to make them work. In any case, this is keeping me busy.

So is having taken on the role of webmaster for my church. Honestly, I need a 12-Step program for this stuff. The site is in WordPress, which I’ve been working with for 8 years, including this blog, and I’m having a grand time updating contents and playing with changes to navigation. The site needs a redesign to make it responsive and generally less green. But it’s doable and uses a different part of my brain that’s been missing the chance to play with familiar toys.

Life in the Slow Lane

12108756_10208073611423764_1885628941810349569_n (1)Four months ago today I arrived in Texas after a 1,658 mile drive from Connecticut. My sister-in-law flew up to share the drive and Tessie was good as gold on the trip. We stayed in pet-friendly hotels but didn’t make reservations except for the first day, since that gave us more flexibility depending on road and traffic conditions.

Our route took us through the Poconos and down through Scranton, PA and continuing down through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, just a short drive from my former home in Charlottesville. We skimmed through Tennessee and cut across Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana into Texas, completing the drive in 3.5 days. My furniture arrived within 24 hours, much to my shock and delight.

The past months have been nesting time. Figuring out where things go and what things we don’t need. My pre-move cleanout made the move cheaper than estimated and also meant fewer items to find homes for in my new house. We ended up taking quite a lot of kitchen things and books to Goodwill, including my dad’s 40-year-old stereo system that took up way too many shelves in the bookcases. I replaced it with a new Bose system with CD-player. We’re loving our Amazon Echo in the kitchen and listen to NPR and music over meals.

Dad and I joined the local community church and I’m singing in the choir, which is like breathing for me.  I’ve also been taking Mah Jongg lessons and am starting to play regularly. It’s a strange game but an important social activity here so I’m meeting lots of people.  And the parties! I’ve been to more parties in the last 3 months than in the past 10 years!

It’s been a big adjustment to go from living solo (plus Tessie) to sharing a house, meals, errands, etc. with my dad. We’re figuring things out as we go and the space is large enough that we’re not falling over each other, especially now that we have a second TV in the den. He watches Fox News in one room and I watch anything else in the other!

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Thanksgiving 2015

 

 

Weekend scrambling

Litchfield Fall StepsI love weekends and look forward to one of the two days as a chance to do nothing and be a vegetable, reading or watching TV or just being quiet. But in these pre-move days, there’s no time for being a vegetable; there’s always something else on the List of Things That Must Be Done.

What things, you ask? Grocery shopping, trip to Petsmart for food and treats, changing litterbox, washing giant comforter at the landromat, offering stuff on FreeCycle and arranging for pick up, filing papers, boxing books, doing 2 loads of laundry, making meat sauce and delivering it with crockpot to a colleague (she’s keeping the pot), replacing kitchen knobs, cleaning the oven and microwave, dumping trash and recycling.

And yesterday I went to the library before it opened to pick up my last box o’ stuff. I didn’t want to do that with people around, it just felt weird and I didn’t want anyone to talk to me while I did it. I emptied desk drawers of personal things, took down personal items from the bookshelves and bulletin board, and scooped up desk tchotchkes. Right now there are only two left: my LaFarge stained glass window poster that I got in Boston 25 years ago, and a pink flying pig clock. They’re both coming with me to Texas, unlike most of the stuff I brought home yesterday, but I really couldn’t bear to spend days at work with nothing in the office that looked like me.

So this is it, the final week. Two weeks from today I should be arriving in Texas, if all goes according to plan. Just saying that makes my tummy jump, as it seems there are still so many things to get done. But I want to be in the moment this week, to make it real.