May 28, 2013

Tuesday Tidbits 5/28/13

Since I started the new job… well not so new now that I’ve been at it almost 6 months now, it’s been difficult to find the time to update my blog.  :(  Boo. 

Did all my U.S. readers have a good Memorial Day weekend?  Touted as the unofficial start of summer, it was anything but this year.  Cold, windy, rainy, dreary.  Yeppers.  It didn’t stop most of us from grilling out, though!  The BF suggested we make Asian Grilled Pork Ribs.  We started out putting a rub on the ribs and let them sit in the fridge for most of the day.  Toward the end of grilling, the BF brushed them with a sweet and sour themed sauce that I made from scratch.


Later in the day, I made cinnamon rolls from scratch (Sorry, no pic).  A breadmaker makes it so easy to whip up dough.  The rolls were so scrumptious!

I have a finish.  Yes, I do!  I finished the Welcome Banner.  I can’t say that it was the most enjoyable thing I’ve stitched, but I do like how it turned out.   I’m not a big fan of backstitching that goes over full stitches, so I ended up making partial stitches as I stitched the design.  When it came time to finish it into a mini banner, I wasn’t happy with the instructions.  Basically, this is what the back was supposed to look like when finished:

The straight edges were to be folded over and tacked into place.  And, the instructions said to cut pieces of red floss to use as the hangers.  Ahhh… no.  How bad would that look?  Yeah, exactly… bad.
Since I didn’t want to rip apart what I’d already done, I took a piece of fabric and folded the edges to match the banner.  Then I used a matching thread and stitched through both pieces, wrong sides together.  It’s not the best finish, but it’s a whole lot better than if I’d stuck with the instructions.  If you look close on the front, you might be able to see the machine stitching in between the cross stitches.  I also made actual cloth hangers that match the backing fabric, and added a cute button on the front.

Design:  Welcome To Our Home (OOP) Mini Banner Kit
Designer:  Dimensions
Fabric: 18ct white aida
Fibers:  Unknown cotton fibers
Embellishments:  Ivy Button

Close Up

In addition to the finish, I’ve been working on two other projects.  One is a 4th of July exchange.  I’m about halfway done with the stitching.  My partner already sent me mine.

Liberty Bells by Little House Needleworks
Stitched and Finished by Jessica in IN

 Very pretty, don’t you think?  At first, I thought it was a pinkeep but then realized it was a flatfold.  It’s sitting on top of my TV armoire right now.  Thank you very much, Jessica.  I love it!

The other project I’ve been working on is Yuku.  I’m happy with the progress I make each time I sit down to work on her backstitching and French knots.  I’ve been working my way from section to section.  Soon, I’ll be down to the bottom.  Here’s her obi (See all those FK’s?):

Once again, Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe is hosting an awesome floss giveaway.  Click on over and check it out.

Until next time,




May 6, 2013

Marvelous Monday Update 5/6/2013

Since I finally have my laptop up an running, I can finally update my blog!
Things at work continue to go well.  The Morale Committee presented all the employees with May Bowls filled with popcorn and M&M's in celebration of May Day.  We had our usual birthday day treat day.  Since we were only given 2 days notice as to the date, I didn't have enough time to make something -- I bought OJ and mini cinnmon rolls for my contribution.
I had my 90-day review.  I've been at the company almost 120 days, but they just got around to my review.
The comptroller (my immediate supervisor) and the CFO marked Exceeded Expectations in every category they had on the review form!  On one hand, it's fantastic they think so highly of my work so far.  On the other hand, I feel it's all down hill from here, lol.  I can't get any higher marks. 
In my last job, management made it clear that they give everyone "met expectations" unless an employee did something to really blow their socks off.  But, I digress...
In addition to receiving a good review, I have been asked to be the new "face" of the tax department and take over sales tax preparation while I get up to speed on taxability issues.  I will be the tax liason... dealing with the sales staff, billing, and other staff that have tax questions.
I've worked a bit on the Welcome Banner.  I have the top of the lamp post to do and the cardinal.  I think a finish is on the horizon!!

Here's what it looked like before:

Look how far it's come:

I also had a couple of finishes while I was away.  This one was my first try at a finish of this sort and thought it turned out pretty well.

Designer: Camile Colje-Camps and Jardin Prive
Fabric:  28ct Purple Hand-Dyed Monoco Evenweave
Fibers:  DMC
Embellisments: Vintage Crocheted Lace

What I did was turn this little freebie into a lined totebag.  It could also be used as a lunch bag. 


I stitched the design over-one (FYI - It's sooo much easier using mag eyes!)  The lining of the bag matches the handles and the double pocket border on the backside of the bag. Vintage lace surrounds the perimeter of the bag as well as the stitched design.  The top of the bag is held closed with dual snaps on the inside.

Designer:  Bent Creek
Fabric:  25ct Hand-Dyed Linen
Fibers:  DMC, Anchor, GAST

The Black Cat was a quick stitch.  I found a piece of hand-dyed 25ct linen in my stash that works really well with the design.  I don't know where I got it, or who the manufacturer is.  Not sure why, but the photo looks more red than it is in real life.  I swapped out the called for threads for ones I had in my stash.

This week, I'm going to try to do more backstitching on Yuku.  (I think she's feeling lonely!)

May 3, 2013

BEWARE! HP Total Care

HP Total Care is Total Crap!

Long time fans readers may remember that I bought a custom built Pavillion DV6 last year.

Last month (one month before the one year warranty expired), I couldn't get the laptop to turn on so I called HP Customer Care. The CSR got it up and running by having me remove the battery, unplug the power cord, and holding the power button down for 10 seconds. I was able to power up the laptop. Toward the end of the phone conversation, the CSR asked if I wanted to purchase a 2-year extended warranty for $199. Since my warranty was due to expire on the 6th of April, I decided to purchase it. Little did I know what was to come.

On April 20th, I couldn't get the laptop to boot up so again I called Customer Care again. This was 16 days after the one year warranty would’ve expired. Had I not purchased the extended warranty, HP would’ve said “too bad, so sad” and I’d be left with a one year old laptop that I’d have to repair.

Back to the call: The CSR diagnosed the problem as hard drive failure. I had expectations that a product such as HP would not have such a problem with a fairly new machine. In doing some research on the internet, however, I’ve found that this particular problem on HP’s products goes back YEARS!

A “ticket” was submitted by the CSR to have the hard drive and recovery discs sent to me. I was told HP doesn’t deliver to PO Boxes so I told him that it could be shipped to my work address, and emphasized that it was my work address and not where the laptop was. An appointment was set up to have a technician come install the hard drive on the morning of April 27th. According to HP, a FOUR HOUR window is required which means I had to sit around and wait for four hours. I had to reschedule and cancel appointments, including a medical appointment so I could sit and wait for four hours!

Two days prior to the scheduled date, I received emails and calls from HP asking if the hardware and software arrived. I also received what I perceived as an email reminder that a technician was scheduled to come on the 27th and that the service address was at my work address! I called HP Customer Care to tell them and the CSR told me, “Oh, just tell the technician when he calls”.

On April 26th at 8PM (the night before the scheduled technician arrival), I received a call from HP telling me ALL the service technicians were "busy" and wouldn't be coming. I was LIVID! Not only had I cleared my appointments for the morning and it was too late to schedule them back in, I had received emails just two days prior that a technician was coming! The CSR kept telling me she understood my frustration and guaranteed they were doing the best job possible. Seriously? If HP Customer Care thinks their service is the best, they are in serious denial. The CSR must've repeated the phrase at least three times before I finally said "Look, your guarantee doesn't mean squat to me so quit repeating it over and over!" I couldn’t foresee my frustration level was going to increase...

The next morning, I called HP's Customer Care again and demanded to talk to a supervisor, however the CSR wouldn't transfer me until *after* I repeated the entire tale again. Once the supervisor got on the line, I had to repeat the story again! He supposedly escalated my ticket and told me a technician would be calling me within an hour. Guess what? Over an hour later, no technican had called.

I called HP Customer Care once again. By this time, I was out running errands and didn't have my ticket number and told the CSR that. What is the first thing he asked me after my name? "Ma'am, do you have your ticket number?" HP Customer Care truly does NOT listen. The CSR looked up my name and told me I had two laptops... one under warranty and one not. No, I have one laptop. The he tried to inform me that it's not their "policy" to have a technician call in an hour. That it takes 24-48 hours to set up appointments. I responded back that I didn't care what the policy was, that the supervisor I talked to earlier told me a technician would be calling within an hour. I asked to speak to another supervisor.

Supervisor #2 told me Supervisor #1 didn't escalate it my issue properly… that he just sent it to dispatch. After an hour on the phone explaining the entire thing AGAIN, he put me on hold so that he could get a conference call with a case manager. He asked me for a 2-3 hour time frame on Sunday, April 28th for a technician to come and for a case manager to call. He told me a technician would be coming to install the HD and recovery discs (on the 28th), making sure that the computer was in running order before he left. Guess what? No one called. No one showed up either.

By this time, my frustration level was wayyyy higher than I am tall. I was so irritated and tired of the service HP Total Care had not provided. I made yet another call to HP. The CSR put me on hold while he read the notes on my account (because I told him to... I refused to repeat the story again). After about 5 minutes on hold, I was disconnected!I called back again. CSR #2 said he saw in the system that I called a few minutes prior and that a request was put in to talk to a case manager. This CSR told me that case managers don't work on the weekend (remember earlier, Supervisor #2 told me one would be calling on Sunday?), that he didn't care what was said previously, they only go by what's in the system and somewhere along the line they had put in a request for my hard drive to be replaced on May 4th! Since the case was already "escalated", this CSR refused to give me to another supervisor because the issue was being "addressed" and that was the end of it.

On April 29th at 8:22PM, I received a voicemail message from case manager “Jonathon”. What’s with the late night phone calls? I work for a living and have to get up early. A second voicemail was received 12:32PM the next day. I returned the call at 6:21PM after I got home from work.

I did not reach Jonathon, but another case manager in queue who had an accent that I had difficulty understanding. When I asked to either transfer me to Jonathon or another case manager who spoke clear English, I was told that I could communicate via email. I asked him how he thought I would do that since I have ONE computer that was broken. Then he asked, “What’s the problem with your computer?” I responded, “Seriously? Have you not read the notes on my account?” He said, “I’m doing that right now.” I hung up on him, frustrated once again.

On May 1st, I received a call from a repair technician located in Peoria. Peoria is 3 hours south of where I live! Through the phone conversation, I learned that he thought he was going to the town I work in, which is 2 hours north of Peoria.

Keep in mind that I had the hard drive shipped to where I work because HP would not ship it to a PO Box. When I received the email stating where HP “thought” the service address was, I immediately called HP and told them. The woman I talked to said, “Oh, just let the technician know when he calls.” I ALSO told one of the “supervisors” during many round-and-round phone calls to them where the service address was... had to spell out my street address and city. Yet, they STILL had my work address as the place to repair my laptop!

The technician laughed at my complaints about HP and gave excuses as to HP’s poor customer service. He said he didn’t understand why they would want someone from so far away to repair the laptop. He said he’d contact HP and get back to me. On May 2nd, the technician from Peoria left a voicemail message around 12:30 to confirm the repair on Saturday morning, May 4th.

Since I have added a second hard drive to a desktop PC years ago (not an easy task to connect two HD's, btw), I decided that a laptop couldn't be that hard. I opened the box HP sent me to find step-by-step instructions on how to do it! It took me all of 8 minutes to remove the faulty one and install the new one. Yet, HP wanted a technician to drive 3 hours to do this??? Installing the OS took longer... several hours to reinstall using the restore disks sent by HP.

On May 3rd, I used the box and packaging material that the replacement hard drive came in to return the failed hard drive. I put the return slip in with it and placed the Fed Ex return label (both provided by HP) on the outside of the box. I dropped it in the Fed Ex pick up box located on the lower level of the local banking center building. It was due for pick up at 5:45pm on the same day. I called HP and politely told them to cancel the technician and to note I returned the hard drive.

When I purchased the HP Total Care warranty, I received an email stating I could and I quote exactly, "take full advantage of HP's award winning Total Care service and support programs, giving you the peace of mind and confidence that comes with knowing that HP will take care of you if you need help with your HP or Compaq products."

Based on my experience, I did not receive award winning service nor did I feel HP "took care" of me. Not only did I get poor service, I was given false and misinformation. I spent hours on the phone with HP's Total "Care" and received nothing but VERY HIGH levels of frustration and irritability.

The only good thing I have to say is that HP shipped the replacement hard drive and restoration CD's relatively quickly. HP's "Total Care" needs some serious help!

I sincerely hope that I do not have any other problems with this HP laptop now that I have experienced HP's Total "Care".