Tuesday, May 29, 2007

To Battle

Some would say that the pen is mightier than the sword or in today's times, the keyboard, or what have you. I am not going to argue the finer points of whether a pen is mightier than a sword, although I would get much more satisfaction from driving a sword into my enemies heart than a pen (if this is even possible).

I have been in a battle with HP (Hewlett Packard) now for about two weeks regarding my laptop being inoperable and whether they are going to honor the three year "no matter what happens" warranty I paid good money for. In summary the reoccurring hostilities went something like this.

First I called the support line getting someone obviously not from here, being the U.S. with very little understanding of the English language. Now I am forced to spend no less than thirty minutes attempting to convince them that I do in fact have the warranty I claim to have, not to mention all the misunderstandings we have between our dialects . Of course I have to email them receipts and do a little "this is my warranty" dance in the living room with underwear on my head before they actually take me seriously and by this point I am stabbing myself with a pen. Eventually, after going through two or three different service representatives I get a tech who takes me through the "Let's see if you are a moron and your computer really works fine" process by making me troubleshoot all the problems I have wasted countless hours attempting to do on my own before even calling H.P. Never the less, if I want help, I must humor the commies.

The tech then says they will take care of me by having a local rep call me about a pickup and confirms my contact information. We hang up and I wait with baited breath and my wife's DELL notebook in lap for a call from the local tech nerd. This call , of course, never comes. Nazi, commie, pinko-pig-a-zoids!

What to do? Call them back of course.

This is, for the most part, the routine for two separate phone conversations. My first contact with H.P. was through online chat a week prior to calling them. Explaining that to the foreigner on the line made no difference however. The third time I call, yesterday, I am highly agitated and not in the mood to be toyed with.

Here are the notes I took while on the phone with Ufinder and Razi.

@ 0957 EST on May 29, 2007: I have been transferred to 800 474 6836 after calling 281-370-0670 (the tech number listed on my documentation, HELLO!!)

Local Technician has not called as of the 25th. Case #7340****49 is not correct so reference back to case # 734*****45.

Started off with rep Ufinder (pronounced 'you-fender', more like 'you-offend-me') saying computer is out of warranty (heard this before) and placed on hold @ 1012. On hold now for approximately five minutes. Ufinder comes back on phone saying warranty is not up to date and wants to argue with me about the validity of my warranty (must I argue this every time I talk to these morons?)

1024 EST: I Send two more emails to hp.pop@mail.support.hp.com one with a return receipt request through Outlook. Ufinder insist on taking me through same hardware checks that all previous techs (including myself long before I even attempted to call HP) have taken me through despite reading previous emails from HP explaining all this has been done before.

Finally, thank God I am able to convince him not to go through the entire forty five minute ordeal by basically explaining everything I would do
in detail without his directions; I can tell by the five seconds of speechless silence Ufinder is not accustomed to dealing with people who actually have a general understanding of hardware. Placed on hold again @ 1032 on May 29, 2007.

Ufinder has come back online @ 1041 on May 29, 2007 (I have to put the date since it is possible he would leave me on hold for an entire 24 hours ;-p ) saying he has in fact received the warranty confirmation and that the confusion is related to a changed phone number on record (sure it is little buddy). Ufinder claims, like other reps before him, that he is fixing this problem and I tell him that if I have to go through this process again I am catching a jetliner to Cat Man Doo.
He places me on hold again @ 1046 while he supposedly gives my info to a hardware specialist technician (and what the heck were you Ufinder?) Ufinder has come back online giving Case #733*****82 @ 1049 on May 29, 2007 and changed my home phone number as previous reps have (man this is getting old). @ 1051 on May 29, 2007 Ufinder places me on hold AGAIN!

@ 1059 Ufinder comes back online and asks me to take the computer through a Hard Drive Self Test which I have started @ 1100 and computer states test will take approximately 67 minutes to complete. This has been completed several times before and is documented. This will be at LEAST THE SECOND time I have gone through this test with a Hewlett Packard Technician on the phone. This is great documentation on their part - NOT.

@ 1103 I am placed back on hold by Ufinder. @ 1126 Ufinder has come online supposedly with a hardware tech Razi. Razi is not connected or we are having problems. Ufinder says he believes there is a disconnect and has put me back on hold once more.

@ 1129 I receive a call from Ravi on home phone. He claims he will have the tech center pick it up for repair. Razi again confirms warranty and arranges for Fed Ex to send a box for pick up in the next two business days. He agrees to give me a confirmation number and website to plug it into (now we are getting somewhere) after I tell him that I am not hanging up until I get something of substance.

Call completed @ 1145 EST on May 29, 2107 (not really but it felt like a hundred years).

Angels rejoice!

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Yin and Yang of Living

Life has been a little dicey, to say the least, here lately and I have often found myself pondering the meaning of it all. What is there beyond survival and temporal success? The obvious answer here for me goes beyond the mortal, transcending the understanding of terrestrial existence and touching on the spiritual. A challenge here is to keep this celestial mindset whilst life, the flesh taking its moment by moment beating, continues its perilous trek here on planet earth.

The biggest problem with existence is this duality. Most do not even attempt pondering this coexistence and just tamp their days with the business of busyness. I empathize, for this consideration all in itself is enough to drive one mad, the stress of balancing a dual mindset without allowing one or the other to consume you is a formidable challenge.

Right now my biggest challenge has been discerning the difference between earthly and heavenly success. It seems I have been a spectator to this struggle all my youth, watching my dad achieve some form of worldly success and then lose it again. He repeated this process of gain and loss many times over and I, in my own limited juvenile perception of this battle did not quite grasp the metes and bounds of such effort. To me it seemed normal and even now I find myself overburdened by my perception of success and failure. If I do not make ‘x’ amount of money then I am a loser. If I do not achieve ‘x’ then I am a complete failure. It is these thoughts which steadily erode my being.

To strip away such cares and come to the truth is much more difficult in its simplicity than I can even appreciate. All surrendered unto Christ. It really is that simple but then the ignominy of worldly failure creeps up in my being choking out the yang of spiritual awareness. This yin is a cancer needing to be cut away and I manage to cut it out only to find it has been replaced by yet another savage parasitic cousin.

This is the struggle. Not worldly achievement and wealth, and knowledge or learning but to understand that all of this is nothing without the saving grace of Christ and our ability to surrender all to this. We must be willing to embrace earthly disgrace if that is what it means to, at the same time, pick up our cross and carry it.

For one steeped in secular indulgence this mindset is ridiculous but then this is where the duality of existence is lost to them. We are here on the earth and we must coexist as aliens amongst those who prefer the treasures here over eternal fortune and we must do so with the same grace Christ shed on us. We too were once aliens to eternal fortune and eternity itself. In its simplest devise we are cousins to those around us refusing to even attempt a balance. Our cousins, just like us, could shed their worldly crust and join us at any time on an equal ranking and it is because of this uncomplicated and unfettered benchmark that we are forced to maintain a duality.

Christ would not have us forsake those around us in face of the truth that we are but vacationing here. He would have us share this awareness with our cousins in hopes that they too will adopt our duality and accept worldly failure for heavenly acquiescence. With such acceptance comes true wealth.

Regardless of our place in the hierarchy of comprehension here on earth we will continue to struggle. In the constant, daily, moment by moment surrender we continue to glorify God. So I believe that a part of our heavenly success is in our earthly failure. We fail to gain the ultimate in material achievement because we choose to be triumphant in our walk with God instead.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 Tell those rich in this world's wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they'll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Today is a day is a day is a day...

Seems like life sort of is in slow motion sometimes. You find yourself repeating steps that you know you should have completed long ago, never to return to. I am almost 31 years old. Man am I getting old fast, and today I went through another job interview. I thought I was past the whole job interview process again like you do when you start over.

Well, that's it. I am starting over. Life seems to repeat itself in the areas that are most frustrating. Areas that you can't really learn a lesson from and leave behind like you would like to. Areas that make destiny an old album of no so great music that you find yourself listening to over and over again. I really don't understand it.

Today I was interviewed for a job like one who is just starting out in a career. I am really. Starting out in a career, and of course I got the job.

Real estate? We shall see.

A day is a day is day. Right? Perhaps tomorrow can be a new day.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Wipe Away the Cobwebs

We have, or I suppose I should say, my wife has started a cleaning business. I am more the sales person than anything else. Oh, and do not forget moral support. Moral support is very important after all.

So, do we know what we are doing? Yeah, we can clean really well given all those white glove inspections while stationed with the Marine Corps but when it comes to running a cleaning business well, we will have to see how this all works out. No doubt this is going to be more work than either of us have imagined but then we are only guilty of what every other human being is guilty of in underestimating the task before us. There really is no better way to know whether you can handle a task, outside of any planning that may be done, than to dive in and pray you do not drown.

One neat feature to this is that we, Sugar and I, will be working together more than we have in a very long time and I believe this is going to help our marriage. We will be wiping away the figurative relational cobwebs while doing the same to literal cobwebs from our clients living spaces. Many people I know have said they cannot work with their spouse. I cannot give a judgment here in either direction only because I have yet to experience this but like to think we are going to work very well together. Ask me how it's going in a couple of months and we will see if I have an answer for you.