Verizon kicks longtimers to the curb

Well, they did it.

They f-in’ did it. It’s been long rumored that they would. Just when was the question.

Verizon essentially kicked their unlimited data customers to the curb.

We were a rare breed since Verizon quit offering unlimited data for $30 a month in 2011. To be clear, that $30 was strictly for data usage. Other services such as calls and texts had their own costs.

Verizon’s been puttin’ the squeeze on unlimited data users for years with a laundry list of claims (i.e. clogged networks) not to be believed. Unless you do want to buy that slice of (swamp) land in Florida!

Anyhow. It finally happened. November 15. Anyone with an unlimited data plan of the past now bears an extra $20 a month. A deal that used to cost $30 now costs $50 (before taxes). That’s, a what, 77% increase? (can’t remember the figure I read.)

So unless you use THAT MUCH DATA to warrant that jacked-up price, you’re gonna leave the plan. Go to one of their “replacement” plans — S, M, L, XL they’re labeled, how quaint — each with a data cap. Go over it and you’ll pay.

Many customers are understandably looking at the competition. Sprint, T-Mobile, Boost to name a few. Some are offering enticements to lure disgruntled Verizon customers, myself included, into their fold.

It’s only because I’ve got so much on my plate that I’ve neither time nor energy to research the options. So I’m sticking with Verizon — for the time being.

When I read about the price increase on my bill — yes, I still get paper bills AND I read ’em! — I immediately said: “Nope. Not gonna pay that extra $20. Can’t afford it.”

Even with my BAREST-BONES plan of 450 phone minutes a month and a charge for every text (except from Verizon), whether I write or receive it and regardless of whether I read one received, I’m paying $70 a month.

So, like so many others, I was forced into ditching unlimited data — by Verizon design.

I switched to the M plan. The S plan, for the record, allots 1 GB. Average use for most customers is 3 GB.

The M plan allots 3 GB of data use a month for about what I’d been paying for unlimited data. Since I’m no longer on the road and homeless and relying **heavily** on the Verizon network in the middle of nowhere, I’m confident I can keep within the allotted 3 GB.

I’ve been ticked off, frustrated, exasperated even by Verizon during the many years. Loyalty certainly has no reward. Not in the Verizon camp.

A lot of folks have a lot to say about Verizon’s move online. Reportedly you can maintain the unlimited data only if you buy a new phone at full retail ($600-700). And you can pay that in monthly installments over a coupla years. Plus you gotta sign on the dotted line, commit to 2 years.

I smell trouble ahead. I sense customers taking that route are gonna regret it when Verizon throws a curve ball down the road. Read: Price bump.

So I’m not taking that route. Don’t want to be on a Verizon plan regardless. I’ve been month to month for the past two years and plan to keep it that way! No commitment to Verizon makes me a happy camper. 🙂

Yep, they went and did it. Shoved us long- and old-timers with unlimited data off the boat.

V is for Verizon. And victory. Theirs. No winners amongst the customers to see here. Sucks.

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Kisses for everyone!

It’s not what ya think.

‘Tis the season of bountiful harvest and abundance.

So it’s fitting that my mind overfloweth! With thoughts of gratitude, creativity and how to express them in my (newish) home and to those around me.

Take jalapeño poppers.

Not the most traditional fare on Thanksgiving, admittedly. But then, neither was my Thanksgiving.

Worked a half-day at a job I love. Gratitude! Returned home to a much-improved domestic situation — more gratitude! — to resume creating my fabric window treatments.

Then in the evening bopped down to the saloon for the regular Thursday music and our gang of four, five including myself.

Only turkey in my sight Thursday was a drumstick leftover from a potluck four days prior. I picked at it at work. Fed little pieces to Caesar the cat at the radio station. That was the extent of my traditional holiday fare.

Jalapeño poppers are a blast to make. Plus they’re light. And super-tasty with beer. I reckoned they were the perfect fare for folks with tummies heavy with Thanksgiving feast.

I’ve a poppers post pending plus pix. So wait for it.

Meanwhile, these thoughts of gratitude and creativity overfloweth.

On the long list is my job at the radio station (currently 11 hours a week with hints of more, possibly 8 — yes! — in the wind), my coworkers and of course Caesar the station cat.

So today kisses are on the agenda.

Candy cane kisses from Hersheys.

Y’all have seen ’em. In bowls at workplaces, offices, parties, atop cookies and cakes.

Hershey's holiday kisses

Hershey’s holiday kisses

Those red-and-white peppermint droplets dressed for the season in their finest foil.

Butter. The sole glitch.

A half-cup reads the recipe on the bag. So one cube, softened.

So late last night after work I set the butter on a dish near a window that gets good morning sun. So it’d be all nice ‘n’ soft by the time I got up around noon.

Hard as a rock!

Might as well’ve just stored it in the fridge! Tells ya everything ya need to know about the climate.

Not wanting to turn on the oven (don’t have a microwave) or melt the butter but just soften it, I did the McGyver thang.

Set the unwrapped butter cube in a bowl.

Set the bowl atop the heater floor vent.

Set a box on top of the bowl to trap the heat.

Turned the furnace up just a smidge.

And of course the force of air sent the box sailing!

So I grabbed the first heavy object I could think of to weight the box down.

My McGyver oven

My McGyver oven

Open sesame!

soft-y, no melt-y!

soft-y, no melt-y!

See!? Like opening a Christmas gift but knowing what’s inside.

Softened butter. Courtesy of the furnace and thank you, furnace! Bet you don’t read about a McGyver oven every day!

Off to bake kisses of gratitude. Toodles for now.

Talking turkey? Nah. Talking gratitude.

There’s much I’m thankful for today.

The dozen gray quail just racing across the road, their short skinny little legs galloping like high-voltage electric wires.

The music by Lhasa de Sela wafting from the stereo speakers.

The second cup of morning coffee, reheated, I confess. Coffee brewed with a tea kettle atop a stove often takes me back to the many cups brewed with a single propane burner in a forest, a desert, a campsite during a road trip or homelessness.

I’m grateful for the town I live in, the state I live in (Arizona) and my Subaru of 13 years who made it possible. Makes all my traveling and movement, as integral to my nature as oxygen, possible.

I’m grateful for the buds I’ll meet up with later tonight for music at the saloon. Our weekly Thursday thang. I’m grateful the saloon’s open on Thanksgiving! Then again, pubs and eateries do brisk business on the holiday!

I’m grateful for the sun pushing its way through the semi-stormy clouds.

There was a day — about every day collectively for five years — when the sun was rarely seen. When its appearance for 10 minutes, before it was swallowed by Gray, Cold Wet Gray, was celebrated! When my bones were constantly damp and cold, when you layered-up and wore coats even in the summer in the Pacific Northwest.

Today I’m working a half day. My boss asked me a few days ago whether I’d mind coming in to run the board from noon to 4 p.m. I don’t mind! Not a whit!

Matter of fact, I’m grateful I get to work at a job I love and enjoy! “Even on Thanksgiving.”

Part of the gratitude is admittedly rooted in many Thanksgivings spent at jobs I detested. Loathed. Would rather not be doing. Jobs where I’d rather be anywhere else but then had no where else to be and no one to spend it with anyways. Save strangers in a bar.

Because I’m quite detail-oriented and meticulous, I tend to lose sight of the forest for the trees. When I zoom the camera back for a wide shot, it’s abundantly clear how far I’ve come, how much my life has improved, incrementally, gradually.

The journey’s been like pushing a boulder forward, true. I’m stubborn (and not unlike my dad — hi dad!) I’d like to learn how to make it less of an arduous exhausting push, more of a glide. 🙂

After work, I’m coming home to resume crafting curtain panels for the new windows (recently installed by the landlord) that I love — and a huge improvement they are! The window treatments are the final big beautification/repair project in the new place — well, 3-months new.

There’s also writing and assorted other projects on my plate — that btw is turkey-free. When I accepted the extra shift at the radio station, I gave up attending a Thanksgiving potluck. I’ll miss seeing people I wish to see; however, it’s a trade I was willing to make. The answer’s always yes! when the station’s involved, when opportunities for extra shifts is floated my way.

I’m grateful that the frequency of the fill-in shifts has increased. I dream of more becoming steadily mine; a coworker looks poised to release one so I may be on the brink of more, yey!

Odd though it may sound, I’m grateful for the job at Fry’s market that I want to release and replace with better. There’ve been issues brewing that suggest we may part ways soon.

I don’t want to leave on bad terms, whatever happens. Time’ll tell after the holiday how it’ll shake down.

I’m grateful for so much, I could go on — and on! Last but certainly not least, I’m truly grateful that I moved from my former digs beneath S. & Y., aka the Clack & Clomp Couple.

While I was thrown a curveball and cringed when told they weren’t renewing my lease, I really did want to move to get away from the entire situation, primarily the upstairs neighbors.

The search for new digs was a grand chore (summer season, influx of returning students, increased rents, etc.). In the end, it all worked out. It really did. I’m so much happier — calmer — domestically now than before. It’s a far better setup for me than the last one — though I do miss living in the heart of downtown.

Well, I could go on like I said. Fortunately for any reader, work beckons! Which segues to gratefulness, again. For my readers. Be they 1 or 100, I’m truly grateful when anyone reads my words! That is a gift to me.

May blessings abound wherever ye be on this American Thanksgiving.

The lotto ‘n’ a whole lotta light

“Buy a lottery ticket,” he said, the older gentleman manning the Costco gas station.

You know ’em. Those days when no matter what you do, nuthin’ goes right.

Then there’s the flip side. Those good days when everything flows.

People are nice. A driver lets you in.

You find exactly what you’ve been shopping for. Or discover something even better!

You get an unexpected call-back from a job that excites you. Or get more hours at one you love.

You engage with strangers with a smile as if you’ve known ’em for a month. You bump into someone you’ve not seen for a while.

The list is endless. And it’s all good.

A day of magic. A day of mojo.

Such was my day today.

Dunno why and I can’t explain it, neither do I want or need to. Deep down I suspect it’s got sumthin’ to do with a PT job that I’m preparing to release. Or it may release me.

Either way, I’m not working that job this week (requested time-off). Consequently, a spark’s been ignited. Something within’s come alive! Sprung back to life!

As if a weight’s been lifted off my shoulders.

As if I’ve a chance to breathe for a week.

Plus get some important projects and tasks back-burnered due to the draining effects of that job completed!

This coming week’s a mini-vacation. Yet a vacation all the same.

Unpaid but that’s not the point. Point is, my life force just burst through the door. Simply as a result of … not being where I’d rather not be very much longer.

Today was flow flow flow. Flow and mojo. Mojo and flow.

‘Twas beauty to behold. No earth-shattering event or anything. ‘Twas just one of those days when all the little things, the so-called mundane daily occurrences, collectively jived in harmony and positivity, uplifting my spirit and mind, cleansing my worries, releasing me from (job) tasks that genuinely don’t fulfill so that I could just enjoy life again.

So I mentioned that to the Costco gas man. How luck and timing seemed with me today.

“Buy a lottery ticket,” he suggested.

I thought about it. I did. Even though lottery tickets interest me zilch. Figured if I’m gonna get lucky with a scratch ticket, today’s the day.

Then something happened.

While thinking where to go to get that ticket, I stopped at a Starbucks for a seasonal beverage and free pastry — today only for Starbucks card members.

Lo and behold, I bumped into a fella not seen in months! We got to yakking. By the time I got home, ’twas late. Reckoned that as the day’s close drew nigh, so might by flow and luck.

So never did get that lottery ticket. Will never know whether I gave up $500 in winnings in exchange for a chat with that fella.

Even if that’s the case, truth is, that’s OK.

Today was solid, uplifting. A day of mojo. Fruitful. Blessed. Joyful. Relaxed. Centered. Calming. Creative. Lighted.

Lottery ticket or no, is there a better winning?!

You’ll find fish but not fairness at Fry’s Food.

2.30 in the wee hours. Something’s gnawing at me. If I don’t write on it, a long night of insomnia awaits.

This small fiasco over scheduling & Thanksgiving at Fry’s (post prior) is illuminating something and it’s not sitting right with me on a deeper level.

Employee schedules are computer-generated. Schedules run week to week (Sun-Sat.).

A manager works on the scheduling via computer about 2 weeks in advance.

Any request for time off must be submitted to the manager in writing about 2 weeks in advance. If the request is not submitted in time, the computer will automatically slide an employee into a slot it needs to fill.

The new schedule for the coming week is posted Thursday. Thereby employees get only 72 hours’ advance notice of their coming week.

Fry’s demands 2 week’s notice for any change in your schedule.

Don’t give it and get scheduled on a day you can’t be there and there are burdens, even prices to pay. If you can’t find a fill-in — that’s the employee’s responsibility — then you’re written-up as a no-show. Perhaps even put on probation depending on your performance history. A punitive system.

On the flip side, an employee gets no more than 72 hours advance notice for his/her week ahead. Schedules are unpredictable in days and hours. (Forget trying to plan or commit to anything in your personal life!)

The balance is heavily weighted in favor of Fry’s. You have to give them 2 weeks’ notice for ANY change in availability. And they give you: 72 hours.

It feels grossly disrespectful. Unfair. Because I’ve a very deep sense of fairness (reportedly like the grandfather I, sadly, barely knew), I feel the offense directly, pointedly. And can’t sleep.

Shit.

Now 3.37 in the a.m. Guess writing/rewriting didn’t spare me from insomnia after all! ‘Night now. Maybe.

A stretchy rubber band & sucky situation

It’s not that I have ADD.

Only feels like it! Go! Go! Go! Go here. Go there. Go to job A. Wait. What day am I scheduled? What time?

Go to that job, job B. Thankfully that’s a consistent schedule. Except when I’m filling in for someone. That’s almost as unpredictable as the schedule at Job A!

The move in August was productive, positive, unwanted in some ways yet overall a blessing in disguise. Drawback is I’m on the perimeter of town rather than in its heart, increasing drive time – and gas use – considerably.

When not leaping between two jobs and bountiful errands and tasks, I’m at home working. Unpaid work! Beautifying, repairing, creating, fixing — in short classing-up the place, a former grunge ghetto.

I love the creating! Don’t get me wrong. And being the source of shine and healing to a space that’s been subjected to a lot of sh*t. It’s who I am, it’s what I do. As natural as breathing.

All told, though, I’m a rubber band, pulled, stretched continuously. Might I snap? And what would that look like anyways? Who’s to say! And who’d want to?! 🙂

Intensifying the stress is the latest development at Job A. Called Job A not for its relevance and connection to my soul and purpose but for wear-and-tear and high aggravations!

A computer determines our schedules. We, in the lower ranks that is, know our schedules Thursday for the week starting Sunday, 3 days later. Makes it impossible to plan or commit to anything week to week. That’s another “tensioner” in the rubber band and another topic.

On the flip side, any employee needing a day off must submit it weeks in advance. About 2-3 weeks. Knowing that deadline week to week’s like tracking a women’s menstrual cycle! The one manager who does scheduling herself has a wacko schedule. I never know when she’s in or will be in or is producing the schedule!

So, to the story.

I left B. a note requesting days off for Thanksgiving week, starting unofficially tomorrow. Thanksgiving’s Thursday for any Canadians reading 🙂

They’ve always honored any request for a day off so I’ve no reason to suspect they ignored the request.

However, I was scheduled regardless. Whether it was because B. didn’t get my note in time — and I believed it was sufficient advance notice — or she didn’t act on it in time I don’t know.

Some possibility that she ignored it I suppose. This IS Thanksgiving week! Every day’s Black Friday at Fry’s Food! Even in the slowest of times, they’re woefully understaffed — Fry’s being a revolving door since they treat employees like disposable tools to its own benefits & gains.

So B. may’ve decided “no way is anyone getting time off in our busies week of the year.”

It’s all speculative. Fact is, I’m scheduled for 3 days, INCLUDING Thanksgiving, that I’d requested off.

An employee who can’t work as scheduled is responsible for finding his/her replacement. The how isn’t important. Let’s just say it’s an arduous task, time-consuming and in no way guarantees that you’ll land a replacement.

If for various reasons you can’t find a replacement — and are still unable to be present — then you’re written up as a no-show. Or I suppose fired, if you’ve a history of no-shows. They reportedly issue warnings and put you on probation before that point.

I think it’s safe to say that my chances of securing a replacement for 3 days in a row during the holiday week are slim — and zero on Thanksgiving.

Personally — and it’s hard for me to say this with my impeccable work ethics that too often are my prison bars — I am NOT WORKING AT FRY’S ON THANKSGIVING DAY.

I’ve a gathering to attend, a potluck feast arranged back in October.

And I am not working at a job I truly dislike and have been trying to drop for better for months on Thanksgiving for minimum wage.

It’s not because it’s the worst job I’ve ever had. It’s way down there but it ain’t the bottom of the pit.

Truly, it’s mostly because I want no part of the Fry’s/Kroger ingratitude. Not on Thanksgiving, the one day of the year dedicated to the Feast of Gratitude.

If I had any respect for Fry’s and its parent company Kroger, I’d feel differently but wouldn’t behave differently. I’d still attend the gathering. Historically, it’s extraordinarily rare for me to even share Thanksgiving with people! Normally I’m at some job. Hence my gratitude for the opportunity to simply share the day with others runneth over.

Yet Fry’s is dictating nuh-uh. You’ll be here (and for $8 an hour) and if you’re not, you’ll be punished. Unless you find a replacement.

And good luck with that on a major holiday! And the climate. (So many employees don’t like their job, don’t want to be there, are there only because of our Obama economy.)

The situation’s sucky. I’m screwed.

Today’s is my day off from Fry’s. And a MUCH-NEEDED and valued day off it is too. I’ve soooo much to do. Nonetheless, I’m going in — on my day off — to spend considerable time (unpaid) in the arduous attempt at a replacement for my 3 days that I’m scheduled (even though I requested them off).

If I can’t accomplish this, then I will be punished.

Nice position over the barrel. (Not.)

* * *

Dear God, bring me a better job. Please please please and please. I’d be so grateful to be free of Fry’s and working at a place that I enjoy. Doing work that I enjoy. Thank you, thank you so much Thanksgiving gods, whoever and wherever ye be.

Signed,
me

Linked-In. More like What’s-The-Link?!

I’m a social-media mutineer.

I’m uninterested in social media and its multitude of manifestations. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram … I’m aware of their presence. However, for example, I’ve never been on Facebook — shock! — and don’t intend to. I had to be practically shoved into blogging back in 2006. You get the picture.

Sorry (not really) but I just can’t hook into the Me-Me-Me-Look-At-Me Culture that’s given birth to exponentially-exploding growth in social media — both platforms and number of people engaging.

I do appreciate their positives. Like that story of a man trapped beneath rubble after an earthquake. No one of course knew where he was and his phone {that he had on him, who doesn’t these days?!} was out of service. (I should say so!) So he texted someone and from that text rescuers located and saved him.

I get that.

But as my father said once when I was child, the {shit} cream rises to the top in life. He didn’t use that word but the message’s clear.

I hadn’t yet experienced life enough to come to the same observation. When I did, I arrived at the same conclusion. The {shit} cream rises to the top in life.

Hence my aversion to social media.

Then there’s Linked-In.

Seems one of the “lesser evils” in social media. The one that’s better circumvented the crap better than other platforms. I got “dragged” into it long after Linked-In arrived on the scene only after a friend whom I greatly respect and trust {the five I have} and who shares my aversion to social media assured me of Linked-In’s merit professionally.

My Linked-In presence admittedly is near nil. I rarely stick a toe in those waters. I haven’t updated in like more than a year. While I do respect Linked-In more than other platforms, in the end, I just don’t care about social media.

But here’s the Linked-In mystery.

Invitations.

Why do I receive invitations from complete strangers in fields with absolutely no connection or relevance to mine? And from strangers with not only no professional connection but no connection by associations (individual or group) or geography?

Today, I got an invite from a program specialist at a Fort Worth independent school district.

One, how the hell did she find me?

And WHY? Again, there’s NOTHING connecting us, save time spent in Texas many moons ago. And trust me, I left no social footprints! Just tire tracks from my Subbie. 🙂

Sorry but unless there’s a sensible, valid or genuine reason to “hook up,” I’m not gonna accept an invite.

Again, this exemplifies my aversion to social media.

I realize it’s “fashionable” on Facebook and other platforms to have a zillion “friends.” More followers means validation of your worth. So padding your media bed with connections and “friends” who are in fact TOTAL strangers is sought. A prized achievement.

Well, I don’t look at it like that. Not even a tiny bit.

So I put it out there to anyone more engaged with Linked-In than I. Why do people with *no link to me by profession, association by group or individual or location* produce an invite?

Please clue me in, shed light on the Linked-In mystery. I’d sure appreciate it! Thank you and best regards from a misfit of social-media