Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Beauty and the Beast

The other morning I woke up to my husband's eyebrows attacking me. I know that I don’t usually tackle these hard-hitting subjects, but there is a time to joke and a time to be serious, and seriously his eyebrows were scaring me.

I did not know how to broach the subject with him so I started off gently by saying, “What the heck is going on with your eyebrows?”

He said, “Oh, that. Well, I am not sure. I go to bed looking like my normal self and when I wake up, I have the eyebrows of an eighty year old.”


“Really. I’m not sure what to do about it. I try to keep them trimmed back with scissors but they keep getting longer and wirier and stranger.”

“Have you tried plucking them?”

“With what?”

“A tweezer.”

“I don’t have a tweezer on my Leatherman. In fact, I don’t think I have a tweezer in any of my tool boxes.”

And that conversation is when I realized, not only are men and women different, but men know nothing about grooming. So, I decided it was time for my husband to learn about the wonders of self-maintenance.

Again, I introduced the subject of grooming, “Honey, have you ever heard of the term metro-sexual?”

“Yeah, isn’t that just another word for chick?”

“Actually it means the strong, sensitive man that is not afraid of taking care of his appearance.”

“Sounds like a wuss to me.”

“Why don’t you want to spruce yourself up? You want me to look my best, why wouldn’t you want to look your best?”

“It is like this: Women are already attractive. You can polish a Porsche, and it looks even better, but even if you polish up a rusty old pick-up truck, it still looks like a rusty old pick-up truck.”

“But don’t you care about how you look?”

“I mean, I don’t want to look like Frankenstein, but I don’t have to look at myself all day, so I would have to say, not really.”

“Aren’t you worried what other people think?”

“Eh . . . no. I mean, take the bearded lady at the Conoco, she has a five o’clock shadow by 9 a.m. but I look at her and think, well at least I am not the bearded lady. I am the bearded lady for other people. They look at me and think; well at least I look better than that guy.”

“So you are a humanitarian?”


I was not going to give up, mostly because I believed that my husband would feel better, if he looked better. And, I was afraid if we didn’t do something those eyebrows would strangle me in my sleep. So I went to the store and bought him a tweezer.

I noticed the eyebrows had been tamed a bit recently, so I asked, “How is the tweezer working out?”

“You know, it isn’t bad. It hurts like the dickens but at least you know what is coming, not like that nose-hair trimmer you got me for Christmas.”

“I didn’t even know that you used the nose-hair trimmer, what is wrong with it?”

“Oh yeah, I use it. If I don’t it looks like a toilet brush is hanging out of my nose. But anyway, sometimes I stick it up there and everything is ok, and then sometimes, the motor twists those hairs around and I think I am going to die. It is grab bag really.”

“ . . . Ewww . . .”

Then he said, “Yeah, I am glad you helped me out with this whole grooming thing. You are kind of like that dog that helped his owner by chewing off the infected toe.”


“You really came through.”

“What dog? What toe?”

“On the news. This guy had cut his toe and he didn’t go to the doctor and it got infected. Then one night the guy passed out on the couch and the dog chewed it off and saved the owners life. The guy can only count to nine now on his toes, but sometimes that is the price you have to pay.”
“So you are glad about taking care of the eyebrows, but you think I am a dog?”

“Yeah, you are helpful like that dog. Always looking out for me and stuff. I would like to point out though, that the dog waited until the guy was asleep, more men would groom if it could be done while they were unconscious.”


“I know, right? So, thanks hun.”

“No problem.”

Then he said, “Is this one of those times, when you feel closer to me, I mean did this talk help you too?”

“Well, in a way, it is helping me to understand what is wrong with you. I think I am going to take a long, hot bath.”

“It’s part of your grooming right? See I am catching on.”

“If grooming includes trying to cleanse ones mind and forget about this entire conversation, then yes, yes, it is.”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Complete Breakdown

My dryer broke recently. this forced me to call Some Extremely Annoying Repair Service. I don’t like to bad mouth anybody, so for the purposes of this post I will call them SEARS for short. The day the dryer died, I went into the SEARS store where I purchased the dryer, and asked to set up a service appointment. Some college kid stopped playing solitaire on the computer long enough to hand me a business card with a phone number on it.

He said, “We don’t do that here.”
“You don’t do service?”
He rolled his eyes at me. “You have to call the number on the card.”
“Then one of you will come and fix it?”
The teenager sighed and shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know who fixes it. You have to call the number.”

So I went home and called the SEARS number on the card but their offices were closed. I was just at the store two minutes before I called, but in the time it took me to walk out to my car and drive the ten blocks home, SEARS had had time to kick out all remaining customers, turn off the lights, lock the doors and turn on the answering machine. This amazed me, because the person I spoke to didn’t seem capable of moving that fast.

Anyway, I called early the next morning. After ten blissful minutes navigating the electronic phone tree, I was finally allowed to speak with an actual person. I do not know her name, all I know is she was a Crazy Lady On Phone, or CLOP for short. The CLOP had to ask me a few questions before she would let me make an appointment with SEARS.

CLOP: I have to ask you a few questions to ensure you have not violated the terms of your warranty agreement. Has your dryer been used for commercial purposes?
Me: No.
CLOP: Has your dryer been used for residential purposes only?
Me: Yes.
CLOP: Did you, or have you ever, used your dryer to wash hazardous materials and/or flammable materials such as gasoline, kerosene or oil?
Me: You can’t wash in a dryer, you can only dry . . .
CLOP: Ma’am do you need me to repeat the question?
Me: No.


Me: No. I have not put any flammable materials in my dryer.
CLOP: Has your dryer been damaged by lightening, hurricane, flood, mudslide, tornado, or any other weather-related incidents that could be classified as ‘an act of God’?
Me: . . . um, no . . . I think the heating element is bad.
CLOP: Has your dryer been moved aggressively, bumped violently and or dropped from a height?
Me: Nooooo.
CLOP: Now you are free to make an appointment. What would be a good time for you?
Me: How about today?
CLOP: We have nothing available today.
Me: Tomorrow?
Me: When is the next available appointment?
CLOP: Friday at 10 a.m.
Me: I’ll take it.
CLOP: While we are there servicing your dryer would you like an estimate for new doors?
Me: No.
CLOP: New windows?
Me: No.
CLOP: Would you be interested in an estimate for new countertops, new appliances, cabinet refacing, water softeners, vinyl siding, light fixtures or a deck made completely from engineered lumber?
Me: No.
CLOP: Ok, how about we do a preventative maintenance on your washer at the time of your dryer repair?
Me: How much?
CLOP: $39.95
Me: . . . Ok . . . but that is all . . . I mean it.
CLOP: Thank you again for choosing SEARS, we will see you between 10 and 2 on Friday.

The last thing CLOP said before she hung up . . . between 10 and 2 . . . was I hearing things? I thought my appointment was at 10 a.m. so I called back. Twenty minutes later I get Another Crazy Lady On Phone (ACLOP).

Me: I scheduled an appointment for 10 a.m.
ACLOP: Yes, between 10 and 2.
Me: But my appointment was for 10 a.m.
ACLOP: Yes, the technician will be there between 10 and 2.
Me: But I have things to do that afternoon, he will need to be done by 2:45.
ACLOP: I will notify your technician.

The day of my service appointment, 10 a.m. came and 10 a.m. went. By 11 a.m. I called, ACLOP told me not to worry, the technician would be arriving soon, he would be done on time, my dryer would be fixed and life would be rosy.

By 12 p.m., I was looking out the window every 5 minutes. By 1 p.m., I was pacing. By 2 p.m., I had a stop-watch and was counting the seconds. By 2:15 p.m., I called SEARS again.

CLOP: Your technician didn’t come?
Me: No.
CLOP: He didn’t call?
Me: No.
CLOP: He will be there.
Me: When?
CLOP: Soon.
Me: When?
CLOP: In a half hour or so.
Me: Well, I won’t be here. As I told you before, I have other things to do.
CLOP: Would you like to cancel your appointment?
Me: No.
CLOP: Did you want to reschedule your appointment for another day?
Me: No.
CLOP: He is on his way . . .
Me: I want to talk to your supervisor.

So CLOP goes and gets the Supervisor In Charge Of CLOP or SICO-CLOP.

SICO-CLOP: He will be there.
Me: I have to leave soon.
SICO-CLOP: We will let him know.
Me: Can I just talk to him directly?
SICO-CLOP: We will have him call you.
Me: When?

Thirty minutes of hair-pulling and binge-eating later, my service-man from SEARS finally calls as I am heading out the door.

“Sorry I couldn’t call sooner. Our jobs are put in a queue, we don’t even know where we are going next until we complete a job, and the next one pops up in our assignment list. I didn’t get the message to call you until 20 minutes after your job was assigned to me, at 2:15 p.m.”

I gritted my teeth and told him to be at my house at 3:15 p.m. or I was pushing my dryer out the second story window and buying a new one from his competitor. He told me I was the 4th person this week to say that, isn’t that a strange coincidence?

Him: You know your warranty agreement does not cover a dryer dropped from a height?
Me: So I hear.