Bad day

It’s a winter wonderland in Oklahoma today.

No; no snow, just ice, ice and more ice. We’re supposed to get it all day tomorrow, too. Needless to say, I won’t be driving in to work. I’m very lucky that my boss has the same attitude about putting life and property at stake for a job. She won’t be going in either.

So, I have another day off, but that is doing nothing for my mood. I woke up ticked off after only 3 1/2 hours sleep last night — I won’t go into why. Suffice it to say, I’m still steaming. People who know me will tell you that it takes a lot to make me angry, but once I am, back off! Given that I got so little sleep because of it, I wish I could have backed off myself.

Too bad that’s not possible.

It’s my own fault. It really is. It all boils down to possessiveness. The big, ugly green monster. And, in truth, I have no reason to even feel that way in the first place. It’s petty and childish.

Even so, it’s put me in a black mood all day.

So, in order to combat the darkening I’m feeling, I’m going to think happy thoughts. Here’s something not many people know about me — I have a dream of retiring on a ranch, with a little plot of land to farm next to the house, some big dogs running around, a couple of cats who come inside to curl around my feet, and a wonderful man to warm the other side of the bed at night.

Isn’t that a pretty picture?

I think I’m going to move that from the dream category to the goal category. I think that sounds like a future to shoot for. And who knows? It could happen! :)

In the meantime, I’m going to put all the crap that has been this day on the back burner and enjoy the rest of the evening. Maybe I’ll watch the Iron Chef, then the rest of Las Vegas and end the night with the latest episode of Chuck. Then, when I can’t hold my eyes open any longer, I’ll take a Benedril to get rid of my winter itch and put me out for at least eight hours.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day.

1:30am addendum

The day ended on a high note, and my bad mood has fled, so sleep will be good tonight! :D   The power of a goal accomplished with the help of good friends.  Who’d'a thunk it? :D

Every year about this time I have a dream that is so sweet and poignant that when I wake up I’m left with such longing that I can hardly stand it. Each time, I desperately try to go back to sleep — to from: back there once again and live within that joy for just a little longer,and when I can’t or when I ultimately wake up, I can’t help but cry for the loss.

The dream is never the same, and I never remember it for long, but it’s always about the same person, and the situation is always the same. His name is Mark, and he loves me, and I love him, and we’re blissfully happy.

Mark is a real person. Well, Mark was a real person. He died around this time of year in 1986, when he was only 24 years old.

From the time we were 12 years old, Mark was one of my dearest friends. We had deep conversations, we shared sensibilities, and it was one of his greatest goals in life to make me and his other friends smile.

As wickedly funny, talented, and brilliant as Mark Wilson was, he was also an enigma. He loved to make people think he was something other than he really was, and since it was the 70s, Mark spent much of his time pretending that he was on drugs. When asked a question in class, he’d lazily look at his teacher and say, “huh?”

It was all a complete act, though. He was always keenly aware of everything going on around him, and he thought it was hilarious that the teachers were so naive that they thought a straight A student who was involved in extracurricular activities that required a lot of effort and time was a druggie.

So, while the teachers wrung their hands with concern, those of us who really knew him used our hands to hide our grins and stifle our laughter. Mark didn’t even try pot until he was 21, and he didn’t drink. In reality, he was the perfect kid; he just hid it very well.

Mark played guitar, wrote amazing music, was the best high school trumpet player in the state, had his own comic strip, wrote and created comedy tapes and made me laugh every single day I knew him. He did irreverent things. For instance, he had an old station wagon that had push buttons on the dash to change gears with, and he once drove me home from school in reverse in that car, going 55 mph down the highway…backwards. Every day in fifth hour, Mark made up a different story for me, our legs crossed one over the other on a chair that sat between us, and each one made me laugh till I cried.

By the time we graduated from high school, Mark and I had become very close — likely much closer than anyone realized. We relied on each other. In college, we arranged our classes, making sure they were all in the evenings, so we could stay up all night together, drinking coffee and from: french fries at iHOP. Our relationship was completely innocent, and it continued as flitted from boyfriend to boyfriend. He was my friend, and I never wondered why such a cute guy never had a girlfriend of his own. I’ve often wondered how I would have reacted if he had ever told me he was seeing someone.

I don’t think I would have liked it. In fact, it might have changed everything.

When we were 20, Mark came over one evening, and in the midst of telling me about The Hobbit, which he had just read, he asked me if we might try having a real relationship, go on a real date and see how it went. When he looked at me that night, there was something in his eyes I’d never seen before, and it scared me, because, even then, I was an intimacy-phobe, though I didn’t know it yet. But I agreed, because I’d been comfortable being alone with Mark for eight years, and there wasn’t a thing about him I didn’t like, and well…I loved him.

So, the next night, we went on a date to dinner and a movie. I don’t even remember what the movie was. What I do remember is him holding my hand, and how his hand shook with nervousness, and how mine was clammy with anxiety. And I couldn’t take it. When he took me home and tried to kiss me, I wouldn’t let him and told him I couldn’t have a relationship with him. It was just too weird. It was like dating my brother. He took it well…shrugged his shoulders and smiled, and that was that.

It was probably one of the biggest mistakes of my life. If only I’d gotten past my initial panic and just let him kiss me, the wall would have come down, and I would have let myself love him and let him love me. But I didn’t, and gradually he stopped coming around every day, though we still remained close friends even after I married. He obviously hated that I had married someone who didn’t cherish me the way he did, but he swallowed his feelings and continued to come over for visits.

The last time I saw him was just after leaving my husband and moving back home after spending a year out of state. We had a chance meeting as we walked in opposite directions down the street. We talked for a long time and made plans to go to the big football game that Friday night — a game we’d gone to together every year from thefrom: first year we’d known one another until I got married. But he didn’t show up that night, and it was only after his funeral that I found out that he’d committed suicide that evening, shooting himself in the station wagon with the push button gears.

I can still remember driving to the cemetery and searching for his grave, and then crying my eyes out and railing at him while I stood in front of that freshly turned earth.

That night, I had my first dream about him — the only one I remember. He came to my back door and asked to come in, and I let him in. I asked him why he hadn’t come to me before, and he told me that he couldn’t, because I didn’t know that he was dead yet, and he didn’t want to freak me out. I hugged him, and he kissed me, and it felt so real, and then he walked out of my life.

And each year, I dream about him again. I know that the dream is from: nothing but an expression of unexplored love, a wish fulfillment thing, but I always wonder if he’s not really there with me for just that one night.

I still miss him. I still wish I’d let that wall come down when I had the chance. I still wonder if he’d still be here if I had.

This is a very personal tale — one I wouldn’t normally tell — but after dreaming that dream again, I want people to know about him. He was a special, sweet, wonderful person. There’s no telling what he could have done with his life had it not been cut so short.

Unrequited love is never good, but I believe that unexplored love is even worse. The former has no hope, because only one person is doing the loving, while the latter is full of possibility, because both people love one another. The fact that such wonderful possibility is ignored and left to die makes it a tremendous loss. It leaves a future that never was.

And so, here I am today, mourning my friend, Mark, one more time, and looking forward to next year when we can live that lost future together once again, even for just one night.

Friday night, my family and I experienced something that was so ludicrous, so ridiculously bad that I felt it was my obligation to share it with you. It happened at the KFC on warningPennsylvania (Penn) just north of 122nd Street in Oklahoma City. Remember that location and save yourself tons of pissed off by not going there. The poor colonel was probably rolling over in his grave, trying to get out so he could rip the eyes out of the people ruining his reputation.

Now, before I get started, let me make clear that I’m not one of those anti-KFC people. I love their food. If you get what you want - the way you ordered it - it’s really good. I don’t know if they’re cruel to chickens; I hope not, but that will not be the focus of this diatribe. Instead, I’ll be telling you about a completely ridiculous customer service experience and the worst manager ever. (Her name is Kim, by the way. If someone named Kim whose resume says that she was a manager at KFC on Penn and 122nd in September of 2007, don’t ever hire her.)

Here’s how the transaction went from start to finish:

We drove up to the drive through window and after a few minutes, I heard a garbled message coming through the box that my son said was the drive-through girl saying she was ready to help us.

Me: We’d like a chicken pot pie with an order of mashed potatoes and a garlic Parmesan panini with mashed potatoes, a large ice water with extra ice and a large Dr. Pepper.

Window girl: Though I didn’t understand a word she said, according to my son, the great translator, she said they didn’t have pot pies ready.

Me: Okay, change the pot pie to two extra crispy breasts.

Window girl: So you want a six piece original and what?

Me: No; I never said anything about a six piece original. I want two extra crispy breasts and mashed potatoes and then the Garlic Parmesan Panini with mashed potatoes.

Window girl: Ohhhh, you want the panini.

Me: Yes, the Garlic Parmesan Panini.

Window girl: Okay, I have a number 2 wif 2 breasts and mashed potatoes and the panini with mashed potatoes, a large bottle of water and a large Dr. Pepper.

Me: No; I don’t want a bottle of water. I asked for water in a large cup with extra ice. I’ll pay the regular price for a drink if I have to.

Window girl: You don’t want bottled water?

Me: No. Like I said, I want it in a large cup with extra ice.

Window girl: So, you want a number 2 wif 2 breasts and mashed potatoes and the panini with mashed potatoes, a large ice water with extra ice and a large Dr. Pepper.

Me: Yes, and the breasts should be extra crispy and the panini should be the garlic Parmesan one. Is that what you have?

Window girl: (heavy sigh) Yes, two extra crispy breasts with mashed potatoes and the panini with mashed potatoes.

Me: That’s the Garlic Parmesan panini; right?

Window girl: (obviously annoyed) Yes. Pull forward.

Me: Thanks!

So we pulled up and waited for about five minutes before the girl would even look our way. Finally, she handed us our drinks. Mine was a medium instead of a large, but I’m used to that. Fast food restaurants generally have a hard time giving their patrons ice water for some reason, so I thought I’d let the size slide.

Then I took a drink. It wasn’t water; it was Sprite.

At that point, I tried to get the window girl’s attention, but she wouldn’t look our way. This went on for another five minutes or so until the food was ready. Finally, she returned to the window to give us our food.

Me: This was supposed to be water, but it’s Sprite. (At this point, I handed her back the Sprite.) Don’t worry about getting me another one; I’ll just get it at home.

Here’s where we made our mistake. Just happy that the order finally got to us, we drove off without opening up the boxes containing our order to see if the order was correct. It had to be right, because we’d clarified it so many times. How could anyone with a brain get it wrong?

When we got home, we were excited to eat our delicious order. (Yes, excited. We hadn’t gone to KFC for over a year, because every time we went to this particular restaurant, the customer service experience had been bad. But our love for their food made us try this one last time.)

I pulled out the order and my blood pressure doubled immediately. The mashed potatoes were both there, but my son got the chicken club panini and I had a breast and a wing - original, not extra crispy. My son does not even like club sandwiches, and I don’t like their original chicken. For me, it’s all about the extra crispy. Even worse, the “wing” they gave me was the size of a quarter. Literally. There wasn’t even any meat on the bone that a person could eat.

I picked up the phone and called the restaurant, vowing to remain calm and hoping to accomplish two things - I wanted an apology and I wanted the manager to understand that the continuing bad service at her restaurant was causing her to lose customers.

Here’s how that went:

Window girl answers: Thank you for calling KFC; how can I hep you? (All said with a wooden tone that said, “I don’t really mean thank you, and I don’t want to help you.)

Me: (in a calm business-like tone) Yes, I’d like to speak to the manager please.

Window girl: (sighs audibly and then yells to someone in the store) Tell Kim she have a manager call and see if she want me to take it. (There was no response to me at all.)

Me: No. I don’t want to talk to you. I want to speak to Kim if she’s the manager.

Window girl: (not responding to me at all again) Tell Kim she say she won’t talk to me. She want a manager.

Someone in the background: Kim say she’ll take this one.

After a few moments, Kim came on the line.

Kim, the manager on duty: This is the manager. How may I help you?

Me: Kim, I’m not calling you because I want anything. I don’t want my order corrected, and I don’t want a refund. I just want to tell you a story. First, let me start by telling you that every time I’ve ever been to your restaurant, I’ve never received good service. Because of that, we haven’t visited it in over a year, but we thought we’d give you another chance tonight.

At this point, I relayed the story about what happened that night. Then I ended with, “Kim, this is just unacceptable.

Kim: (huffily) Well, you know we get new people all the time. (No apology whatsoever)

Me: Kim, I understand that new people have a learning curve, but this didn’t happen because your window girl is new. We repeated our order many times, because she kept getting it wrong. In the end, she pretended she had it written down correctly, rather than actually getting it correct. This is a case of her purposefully not doing her job.

Kim: Well, I’m looking at your ticket, and it says an original breast and wing and a chicken club panini.

Me: Kim, do you think we actually ordered something that we didn’t want? Do you really think those words came out of our mouths when we don’t even like those things?

Kim: Calm down and listen.

Me: (Still in the calm, business-like voice) Kim, I am calm. I haven’t raised my voice once. I’m just trying to give you some information to help you do your job, so you can fix it.

Kim: Hello? Hello?

Me: Kim, I’m on a landline, and so are you. I know you can hear me.

KFC: Silence on the phone other than the sound of people talking in the background and work going on in the kitchen.

Me: Kim, I know you’re still there. I can hear the background noise. You’re a manager. This kind of childish behavior is ridiculous for anyone but especially the store manager.

KFC: The sound of someone’s hand being put over the phone and the continued sound of background noise from the restaurant, proving that she heard what I’d said.

Me: (beside myself, to my son) Oh, my God! Now, the manager of the store is pretending she can’t hear me! She’s holding her hand over the phone, but I can still hear the background sounds. She knows I know she’s there, but she still won’t say a word! I’ve never experienced such a thing in my life!

My son: Mom, I told you those people don’t care. Give it up. They don’t want to get better, and they’re not going to tell you they’re sorry for your bad experience. Just hang up.

Me: Kim, I’m giving you one more chance to be a good manager. Quit pretending you don’t hear me and respond.

KFC: Continued sound of background noise.

Me: Okay, Kim. You’ve just earned yourself a letter to the owner and to the corporate office where I’ll be naming you by name and telling this story. If I were you, I’d get the resume ready, because I won’t give up until I see you fired for this.

And then I hung up.


I never raised my voice at all. I remained calm and business-like the whole time. And THAT’S how I was treated. No apology, an angry attitude and then a childish pretense from the one person who’s supposed to be running the place.

Honestly, my mind’s still reeling from the experience. It’s so beyond my idea of how a business should be run that it’s hard for even me to believe it happened.

So, save yourselves a LOT of hassle, citizens of Oklahoma City. Don’t visit Kim’s store. And if you are brave enough to try it and have a bad customer experience there, do what I did and tell the owner and the corporate office. They have the right to know.

President and Chief Concept Officer: Gregg R. Dedrick
COO: Harvey Brownlee Jr.
Director Public Relations: Laura Schalow

Customer Satisfaction Numbers
U.S. - 1-800-225-5532 (1-800-CALL KFC)
Canada - 1-866-664-5696

Online Customer Comment Forms
U.S. Feedback (Continental United States)
International/Hawaii/Canada Feedback (outside the Continental United States)

KFC’s Corporate Address for Comments
P.O. Box 725489
Atlanta, GA 31139

Owner of this KFC in Oklahoma City
KFC US Properties Inc.
DBA KFC Y336006
PO Box 35370
Louisville, KY 40232-5370

I‘ve never understood people who think it’s acceptable behavior to call for help and then treat the person on the other end of the phone like they are trash. What makes these people think it’s okay to do that? What’s more, what makes them want to do that?

If you ask these people, they will tell you that their behavior is their way of gaining control, of getting what they want. I’m sure they’re telling the truth, but we all know that it’s not necessary to treat strangers poorly to get what you want. In fact, you can get more by treating the person on the other end of the line with kindness and respect.

So, why do they do it?

Abusive behavior often originates from a sense of entitlement. It is classic misuse of power and control within a customer service context. Sadly, abusing strangers is a learned behavior. Those who do it probably grew up watching their parents do the same thing. In addition, people who abuse frequently avoid taking responsibility for their behavior at all, blaming their abuse on the situation or the company itself. Sound familiar?

I’ve learned that there is only one way to deal with abusive callers. The first rule is that you never show your anger; doing so gives the abuser the upper hand. The second rule is to use their own behavior and account history against them. Here’s a little story to illustrate what I mean.

Years ago, while working in the retentions department at a call center, I got a call from a man whose bill had been in arrears for so long that it had been with a third party collector for over a year. This meant that the man hadn’t paid his bill in over a year and a half! I answered the call in my usual pleasant way only to have this man spit vulgarities at me at an extremely high volume. His beef was that he couldn’t get another cell phone because we had sent him to a collection agency, and he’d tried calling our call center numerous times only to be told to call the third party collector, who had told him to call us.

I let him abuse me until he stopped to take a breath, and then I said, “Sir, you’ve been run back and forth between companies unnecessarily, and I’m very sorry that happened. I would like to be the one person to do this right, but I can’t do it as long as you continue to abuse me.” This resulted in escalated abuse. The fact that I’d dared to stay calm during his tirade made his anger even worse. At this point, I chuckled audibly and said, “Sir, do you realize you’re abusing the one person who’s willing to help you? Do you think that’s a good idea? After all, I’m in control over whether this situation is handled right here and now, or whether you’ll have to continue to call in.”

Taking away his illusion of control flustered him, but the abuse continued. At this point, I pulled out the big guns. My friendly tone was replaced with a stony tone, and I said, “Sir, I’m not responsible for this problem; you are. I’m not the one who didn’t pay my bill for six months, in spite of at least 50 attempts to work with me. I’m also not the one who continued to let the bill languish at a collection agency for a year in spite of numerous calls and letters from them. Finally, I’m not , I just work for them. If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at yourself, be mad at the company if you want, but don’t be mad at me. I’ve never talked to you before. I’ve never looked at your account. You are abusing a perfect stranger whose only sin is trying to help you finally clear it up.”

This was answered by silence, at first, and then by an apology. The rest of the call went perfectly. I dropped the stony voice and told him I’d do my best to help him, and I did.

This is exactly what usually happens when someone stands up to the schoolyard bully. They’re so used to lording it over the weak guys that they don’t know how to handle it when someone stands up for themselves. I’ve used this tactic numerous times as a phone rep, and it always works.

If you’re someone who abuses strangers trying to help you, remember this - the stranger on the other end of the line is truly the one in control over whether you hang up satisfied or frustrated. He or she can help you, or he or she can make the situation worse. Just as a waiter can spit in your food if you mistreat him before he’s brought it to the table, so can a call center rep hang up on you, or worse, create even more “errors” in your account.

So do what’s best for yourself. Treat the person on the other end of the line with respect and courtesy. If you don’t, you’re likely to spend a great deal more time in a state of stress and frustration.

And remember this - your violent behavior only hurts you in the end. Don’t kick the family dog or beat your wife and kids. Get some help for yourself. Abuse is abuse, no matter who it’s directed at.

Is that the person you really want to be? If so, what’s your account number? I’d be happy to take care of you. };>

When I wrote yesterday’s post about Paul Potts singing Puccini’s Nessun Dorme, I had no idea that the great tenor, Luciano Pavarotti would pass away later that evening from pancreatic cancer.

It’s hard to believe that someone like Pavarotti could be gone. He’s been an icon for as long as I can remember, appearing on shows like Johnnie Carson’s Tonight Show and on the world’s greatest stages. His voice was amazing — so resonant, clear and strong — and his spirit seemed just as strong.

Nessun Dorma was Pavarotti’s signature piece, and no one performed it better or with more feeling. Here is his amazing rendition:

Though Nessun Dorma was his favorite, my favorite recording of him is him singing Schubert’s Ave Maria. I’ve got this one in my 6 CD group of my favorite songs of all time and listen to it all the time. No one sung it like Luciano Pavarotti.

He will be greatly missed.

Note to self:

No matter how much rain you get - even if it’s 45 inches, like we’ve had here this year - don’t ever, EVER put off mowing the lawn and doing the landscaping, because it’s still wet.

I must admit, I’ve been afraid to look in my backyard for the past couple of weeks. For the past two months, it seems like every time we’ve had a chance to work in the yard, it’s rained a gully washer. Now, I’m finally off for a few days, so I finally got up the nerve to go take a look and get started.


This isn’t just six weeks’ growth. This is a jungle! I worked for two hours and got about a third of it done.

Never again. I don’t care if I’m wading ankle deep, I’m going out there with at least the weed eater.

[Please note: The picture above is not of my backyard. It’s a jungle in Borneo. But it might as well be.]

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