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Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta’

Dear UPS,

You SUCK. Truly and completely.

Scenario:

Gideon left his glasses at a friend’s house. Friend and friend’s mom sent them back via UPS. They never arrived. Tracking number came up as “invalid” on phone searches. A computer search turned it up in Alpharetta. Where? I don’t know. This is all the information I had:

Left at the front desk WHERE in Alpharetta? Friend and mom shipped from Brookhaven to Gideon in Savannah! (Note: Brookhaven is 20 miles away from Alpharetta, and both are more than 270 miles from Savannah.)

So I filed a claim.

A month went by with no answer.

I emailed you.

This is what you said:

Shan K., I can ASSURE you it was not delivered to the address.

I wrote back. (I TRIED to call, but was hung up on TWICE.)

Then Ana Z got involved.

  1. The delivery address was correct. I confirmed that with friend and friend’s mom and THE ACTUAL RECEIPT.
  2. They sent it from Brookhaven. The package ended up in Alpharetta.
  3. There are EIGHT UPS stores in Alpharetta.

I called ALL EIGHT stores looking for a Richard who was working there in March. The LAST store I called was the only one with a Richard. He happened to be working when I called.

Oh, yeah. It’s right here.

He confirmed that the address was correct. And then CHARGED me to have it resent.

Why? Because the package was sent originally from a different store. UPS stores are franchises. So Alpharetta is not responsible for Brookhaven.

So to recap:

  1. The first driver was lazy as hell. (Mailing address was accurate.)
  2. The claims process is a joke. (No updates/information.)
  3. Your customer service is beyond laughable. (Didn’t actually do anything and gave conflicting information.)
  4. I’m out $11.68 and time out of my life to deal with this hassle. (Evidence of your sucktitude.)
I paid the ransom money, and it arrived Friday.

YOU should have tracked down this package for me. I should not have had to call EIGHT stores to find one with an employee named Richard. And I want my $11.68 back.

Never again, UPS.

Sincerely,
A Former Customer

*Sorry, Stevie.

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Dear Dominic,

You may look like your father, but your personality is all me. And that’s why we drive each other crazy. You know what buttons and borders to push.

When you want something, you don’t stop until you get it.

That’s me too.

Take, for example, a car.

I told you I needed something to drive when I’m in Savannah. You took it upon yourself to find me something. In Atlanta.

Well, to find yourself something.

Lucky for you, I’m a big fan of muscle cars like this.

I had the dealer FaceTime me. As soon as he started it up, and I heard the signature purr of the engine, I was sold.

So I did cancel the second leg of my flight to buy it and drive it down.

But I didn’t tell you that. I told you I was getting a rental. So when we went out to get in “the rental” to go car shopping, you were shocked.

The good news for me is that this maneuver ensured you wouldn’t forget Mother’s Day.

$1. Funny kid. 🙄

I love you, you silly boy.
Mama

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Dear Mean Girl,

You actively sabotaged me.

You lied about me to ruin my reputation and stall my career.

You friended me on Facebook to gather information then defriended me when your nasty work was done.

But I guess I should thank you.

In the words of Christina Aguilera (whom I never thought I’d quote):

After all you put me through
You’d think I’d despise you
But in the end, I wanna thank you
‘Cause you made me that much stronger.

I met up with someone recently who knew you when you were just starting out. You did the same thing to that person that you did to me.

So I know it wasn’t personal: You’ve got a history. A pattern. A way. It’s like that parable (and song) about the snake: “You knew I was a snake when you took me in.”

It’s sad, really.

It’s hard enough for women to succeed without other women dragging them down.

Being in a leadership role is not like having pie: Some for me doesn’t mean less for you.

Anyway. Our circles no longer intersect, and now I’m better off.

If you hadn’t made my life miserable, I wouldn’t have focused on finding new opportunities. And I now love my job.

So thank you.

I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Best wishes and warmest regards,
Beth

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Dear Dominic,

Thanks for going on a road trip with me to bring Eddie some stuff that ended up with me in St. Louis.

It was a great bonding experience for you and your new brother.

It took nearly 16 hours of driving (should have been 12), but we made it manageable with stops in Chattanooga (no time for towing, sadly) and Atlanta (so you could harass all your school friends).

Barb the Minivan (rental) served us well. She was spacious enough to allow for a litter box for Leo’s bathroom breaks.

It turns out that he’s good on car trips.

Just so everyone knows, I don’t usually put clothes on pets. But Leo is naked, and it was cold when we left St. Louis.

So thank you for making the trip with Leo and me. Next time, I promise we will stop in at a ridiculous museum that will amuse us both.

Love,
Mama

*Thanks, Willie.

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Hey Rock Music Fans! Have I got a new album for you.

Jesse’s Divide releases “Thirteen Steps” tomorrow. Some of you even responded to my prior call to action and helped fund this album. It’s their first.

“But wait, Beth,” you might say. “Haven’t they been a band for years? Haven’t they released songs?”

Well, yes to both. But this is their first ALBUM. The others were EPs.

Now, I’ve reviewed books, movies, plays/musicals, performances, etc., but I’ve never reviewed an album before.

But like an antivaxxer who knows ALL ABOUT the danger of the COVID vaccine thanks to his YouTube research, I’m going to act like an expert.

This is a great album — their best work to date.

Let me give you a frame of reference for my taste: Of their EPs, I’m partial to “Strange Alchemy.” Specifically the title track.

So let’s get to it. The debut features 10 tracks plus a special “secret” track, which is not so secret, clearly. (Why isn’t it 13? I don’t know. You’ll have to ask them.)

  1. Bad Decisions
  2. Free Thinker
  3. Down Again
  4. Long Time Coming
  5. Fyre!
  6. Thirteen Steps
  7. Jajvam
  8. The One
  9. Hollow Throne
  10. Anubis
  11. SYCM (aforementioned “secret track.”)

Bad Decisions

I feel like this is “my” song. My oft-used phrase “bad decisions make good stories” was, I’ve been told, the inspiration for the title. And the song is about bad decisions the guys made during their U.S. tour: Too much beer on the plane for Nick, too much tequila on stage for Rob, too much ALL THE ALCOHOL for Si in Savannah. The chorus even references what you do with a tequila shot. (“Lick it. Down it. Suck it. Wooo!”)

Photo evidence of debauchery:

I know you want to look at Si’s tongue. Don’t. Look at Rob’s dead eyes.
Look at Rob’s tequila sweats.
In addition to looking vaguely like Papa Smurf, Si has the dead eyes like Rob.

I don’t have photos of Drunk Nick, sadly. I wasn’t on the plane.

Anyway, the song. It kicks off the album with a bang. The main riff vaguely resembles the theme from “The Munsters,” so I’m a fan. Si has a fantastic voice, but here he screams like Steven Tyler. That’s great, if that’s your thing.

Free Thinker

This is the song for the antivaxxer mentioned who will think the guys agree with him. (Hint: They don’t.) It’s a critical COVID anthem.

Down Again

“Free Thinker” segues nicely into “Down Again.” And it’s catchy as all hell. It’s been in my head every morning this week. This could and should get radio play.

Long Time Coming

The lyrics make me think someone in the band is getting a divorce. (What’s going on, guys?) Again, catchy as hell. Accessible to people who like rock, pop, alternative. Also could and should get radio play.

Fyre!

No one likes a KISS soundalike song more than I do, so this is a song for me. I want them to wear fancy pants and big boots and play this in a stadium full of fans, all of whom are yelling “Fyre! Fyre! Fyre! at the chorus. “Burn baby, burn.”

Thirteen Steps

The title track is a heavy-as-balls concoction that references 13 steps to the gallows. Grim. But the song is a banger.

Jajvam

What the heck does that mean? A Google search says it’s Klingon for “Today is a good day to die.” Delightful! “Jajvam” hearkens back to JD’s first EP “Metadome.” And it would be a great song on that EP. Here it is overshadowed by everything else. Sorry. It’s just that the others rock SO HARD. (To be fair, I saw them do this live, and it killed.)

The One

This will kill live too. I want them to play it after “Fyre!” It’s an energetic and infectious rock song.

Hollow Throne

The opening riff sounds like a mix of Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and the soundtrack to a whodunit. This, “The One” and “Thirteen Steps” are, in my opinion, the heaviest on the album. But they still are accessible to pop-lovers like myself. We’re not talking Slipknot* heavy.

Anubis

Like “Down Again” and “Long Time Coming,” “Anubis” feels commercial. I could hear this on any number of my Sirius presets. It also sounds like a divorce song. (Seriously guys: Are you OK?) That said, it feels optimistic. It connects the whole album together and ends it on a high note.

Oh, but wait.

SYCM

It’s an acoustic amuse-bouche. Why here (this position and at all)? I’ll probably never listen again. I’m so sorry. I’m honest to a fault. I hope the guys will still love me. 😉😘

Anyway, the album rocks your face off the whole way through. No real ballads here, which is fine by me. It’s already pushed out “Strange Alchemy” as my favorite release of theirs.

So, be a trendsetter: Download the album on your favorite streaming service today! If you like it, spread the word and buy some merch.

*Look. Listen. I know there’s way heavier stuff than Slipknot. Not for me. This is as far as I go. You know my taste!

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Dear Missouri Drivers,

I’m so glad I learned to drive in Atlanta where Nascar has nothing on I-285. If I hadn’t, there’s no way I would have been prepared for you.

Perhaps you didn’t get any drivers education. Let me help.

Pro Tip 1
People getting onto the highway need to be able to merge. Let them in, for crying out loud!

Pro Tip 2
When someone has his/her/their turn signal on, that means the person wants to get over. Oh but wait, none of you seems to know what that is.

Pro Tip 3
The turn signal is a lever on your steering wheel that, when activated, lets other drivers know you want to make a turn or get into a different lane. You are in the Show Me state, so show me your freakin’ turn signal.

Pro Tip 4
It’s helpful to other drivers for you to pick a lane and STAY IN IT. Weaving in and out is annoying and dangerous.

Pro Tip 5
The posted speed limit is not a suggestion. It’s the max. It’s right there on the sign!

Maybe y’all drive this way to avoid all the potholes and road damage.

Seriously, these roads are about as bad as the ones I had the misfortune of driving in Antigua. That’s saying something.

Please, for the love of God, think of your fellow drivers.

I thank you from the bottom of my wheel wells.

Beth

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Mi casa es su casa.

Dear Readers,

You may be wondering where I’ve been. I’ve been in Hell. Specifically, I’ve been in the First Circle: Limbo.

I do not do well with uncertainty. And finding a place to live in St. Louis has come with SO MUCH UNCERTAINTY. And dealing with people who hang out in the Fourth Circle: Greed.

First, I was going to rent. Then I saw how expensive rent is here. (It’s not as bad as Atlanta, but considering we are paying for two places to live, it’s bad.)

I decided to buy a cute condo downtown. Until I saw how much HOA fees are. (Hint: They are not cute.)

My brother said, “For that amount, you can buy a nice house.”

But I didn’t want a house. A house comes with upkeep.

My realtor said, “For that amount, you can hire someone to do the upkeep.”

So I found a house and decided to buy it. It’s adorable. It’s on a street that reminds me of Savannah, and the neighborhood brewery is a one-minute-and-20-second walk away. (For real. I timed it.)

But.

BUT.

The inspection found a few issues in this 1891 gem. We negotiated like mad to work it out.

But then, a new problem:

The seller got a divorce. Never took the ex off the deed.

Uh oh.

That delayed closing a week. Meanwhile, we had to get out of the place in Atlanta. No problem: Seller was going to grant possession prior to closing (as she should: It was her fault). But she wanted to charge $83 per day.

Excuse me?

As my stuff was in a moving truck and ready to go to St. Louis, I was in a tight spot.

Sigh. FINE.

Then — as Eddie and I were driving separate UHauls to Missouri (another terrible story), the seller changed her mind.

SHE CHANGED HER MIND.

Now, I need you to know this: I discovered (because I did spend many years as a reporter) that the seller would be my next-door neighbor. SHARING A WALL, as it is a row house.

So this woman fully knew she would be royally screwing over her soon-to-be-close neighbor. And she did it anyway.

(This is not even the climax of the story, in case you are wondering. We have a ways to go to the denouement.)

My GOD.

Now entering Fifth Circle: Anger. Please keep hands and arms inside the vehicle.

As the owner, it was her prerogative. For sure. But also a dick move.

So.

I’m nothing if not resilient. While driving the truck, I booked a storage unit in St. Louis and hired some folks for the next day to help us move my stuff into it.

Recalculating. This route avoids the Seventh Circle: Violence.

On the day I was supposed to move in, we ended up staying with my mother. Thankfully! And made the best of it.

I did close on the house a week later. Her decision cost me a week and SO MUCH MONEY because I had to hire actual movers, instead of abusing my family.

That experience was atrocious on its own. (Hence my comment about the climax.)

The good news is that the house is mine. I’ve been here two weeks. And my neighbor hasn’t dared to show her face.

Are you surprised? I’m not. She knows what she did.

But I have a place to live. And a forwarding address. Finally.

And you are welcome to come visit.

Your hardy friend,
Beth

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Dear Netherworld:

For some reason, I’ve never had a burning desire to visit you. I guess I prefer “real” haunted houses/places.

“Fake” ones rely on jump scares, which are too much like pranks for me.

However, when your children — whom you haven’t seen in almost two weeks — want you to go with them someplace, you say, “Yes.” Or at least I do.

Our group consisted of three moms and five teenage boys, ages 15-16.

Someone needs to shave.

Here are the things that I found scary upon arrival:

  • The ticket price. It was $30 each. Yikes!
  • The porta potties outside didn’t have lights inside them.
  • The lack of masks indoors. COVID isn’t gone, y’all!

Once inside, there were other things to scare me:

  • Just as I started to walk in, the dude pulling back the curtain stuck his hand in front of my face. I screamed from shock. Then giggled because HOW DUMB?!?
  • A huge animatronic demon face bum-rushed me and shoved me into a wall.
  • The floors were designed to match the “rooms.” Squishy flooring to represent grass in a cemetery, for example. What’s scary about that? The broken-ankle potential. I don’t need that again.
  • There was a corridor of clowns. HORRIFYING. I loathe clowns.
  • Each of the two haunted houses ends with a chainsaw-wielding madman. Or three. I loathe chainsaw-wielding madmen. (That comes from a certain movie seen at an impressionable age.)
  • One of the boys’ friends putting on a badass act. “What? I can’t help it if I’m not scared.” OK, then, Buzzkill.

I did have a good time, though. One of the best things was the boy banter.

Dominic: Gideon, be careful they don’t put you in one of the exhibits.
Gideon: What?
Dominic: “Oh, here’s another skeleton.”
Dylan: More bones, all Fernbank style.
Gideon (laughing): My superhero name can be Bones.
Dominic: I feel like this right here is a villain origin story.

I’ll probably see you next year.

Happy Halloween!
Beth

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Dear Mid-America Apartments:

I hate you with a white-hot rage. The temp of a thousand suns.

I hate you like Bette hated Joan.

I hate you like a high-school boyfriend hated shirts with sleeves (much to my father’s chagrin).

(I hate you so much, but I still don’t hate you as much as I hate Mitch McConnell.)

You installed “smart locks” a few months ago. Ours has never worked properly. Your maintenance folks have been out to fix it more than four times.

Last night, it wouldn’t open. Period.

I called the emergency line. Twice. Eddie called too.

Someone will be right over.

Someone did not come over.

Someone called.

The someone: We don’t do lockouts. We only do emergencies.
Me: This is an emergency. Our lock isn’t working. We need to get into our place. Don’t you have the special key to get into the garage?
Him: No. You’ll have to check with the leasing office.
Me: They don’t open until Monday.
Him: I guess you’ll have to wait until Monday.
Me: How are we supposed to get into our apartment?
Him: I don’t know. We only handle emergencies.
Me: This is an emergency.
Him: We don’t consider this an emergency. Don’t you have the garage door opener?
Me: If we had that, I wouldn’t be calling you, would I?

I hung up on him.

I mean … WHAT the ACTUAL F?!

So we borrowed an extension ladder from a friend. I hummed the “Mission Impossible” theme while Dominic shimmied up and saved the day.

I was TERRIFIED of what bad things could happen here.

We should not have had to do this. Your emergency line people should actually have the capacity to help.

And you should have installed locks that actually work.

I can’t wait until our lease is up. I will NEVER recommend your company/complexes.

Beyond vexed,
Beth

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I Tetrised the heck out of my stuff to get it all to fit in my tiny trunk.

Dear Readers:

I’ve been keeping this blog for 12 years. I started it because I was about to make a class of students start one. I figured I needed to practice what I preached.

Anyway, though I’ve traveled all over the place and written about my adventures, my home base (i.e., where I get my mail) has always been Georgia.

That changes today. I’m Missouri bound.

Q: Um … why?
A: I got a great new job, and I’ll be based in St. Louis.

Q: Isn’t that where your birth family is?
A: Yes. The universe clearly has something to say. It’s also where I have loads of adopted family.

Q: Is your family excited?
A: Excited for me, yes. But Eddie and the boys aren’t coming with me right now.

Q: What?
A: Yeah. Eddie did not thrive when we moved to Atlanta. He missed Savannah, his job, his friends. So he went back to work at his old job. He’s much happier. The boys are staying in Atlanta with friends until winter break, then they will join him. I’ll be back with them as often as I can, and we’ll work it out.

Q: You think this is the right decision?
A: I effing hope so. We had many family discussions. We decided on this plan together.

Q: You’re ok?
A: Eh. In general. I watched two episodes of “Intervention” last night because I couldn’t sleep. Of course, I convinced myself I was scarring the children. I told Gideon that this morning. He rolled his eyes at me. So maybe I’m not scarring the children.

Q: But what if you are?
A: What if I am? This is the path we chose together. At least the boys will see their parents doing jobs they really like.

Q: When do you start?
A: Monday. I’ll be staying in university housing for two months. My plan is to find a permanent place this week, so I can make arrangements to get all my stuff moved up there.

Q: And you’re sure you’re ok?
A: Well, there’s been plenty of ugly crying. I made a road-trip playlist. I got to “Wide Open Spaces” around Chattanooga, and lost my shit.

If you are inclined, send positive thoughts my way as I (we) embark on this new journey.

I am looking forward to writing about a new environment. I’m sure the Show Me State is named that for a reason.

Meet me in St. Louis,
Beth

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