Soggy Summer

Officially, summer is still a ways out. In reality, it’s already here. It’s averaged highs in the upper 80s this month,  which is 15-20 degrees warmer than normal. Yesterday, I broke down and turned on the air conditioning. I can’t sleep when I’m drowning in a pool of sweat, which starts to happen at 84-85 degrees.

As unpleasant as the heat is, especially for a fat man like me, there’s something familiar and almost comforting about summer. FaucetCompany is notorious for extreme heat index numbers in the plant. It’s not there yet, but yesterday the temperature at the load side of my machine was 88. Up on the machine where I live, near thousands of gallons of heated baths and hot air from parts dryers, it is always much worse. Thing is, I wasn’t sweating much. So much for my plans to move to Wyoming and retire. I’ll never be able to adapt to the cold now.

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Who Knew?

A dining room table is really quite useful as, you know, a place to sit while consuming a meal. Weird.

Usually, I carry my food back to the office and eat while doing whatever on the computer.

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Last weekend, I attended an Open Carry lunch with my best friend, his new wife, and seven other folks, a couple of whom I’d met at previous meetups. It was an interesting day.

First, my best friend. From all indications, he and his wife still like each other. Quite a bit. She took a little longer in the bathroom after our arrival than expected, and I caught him looking at her empty chair longingly. Kinda like a lost puppy. They probably even have sex. At their age. Scandalous!

On the way to the event, I had to pass several landmarks that triggered memories. First was the exit that I would take when going to visit the woman known here on the blog as Ladyfriend from late 2012. Then there was the restaurant where B and I took her father and little sister for his birthday almost two years ago. Then there was the fairgrounds where B and I went to see Toby Keith, also in 2014. My feelings were mixed, but mostly it was positive – remembering good times.  I have to admit that there was a little pang of sadness that those times are over.

It was an enjoyable time. My hearing aids aren’t a perfect solution, and I still miss pieces of what is being said. But even with a moderate amount of background noise, I was able to follow conversations at the far end of the table that would have been impossible before. Food was good – pizza, pasta and salad buffet. I had to go to work afterwards, but the bills must be paid.

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I feel kinda bad admitting it, but I’m glad Prince died yesterday. But only because it kept the fucking politicians off the break room TVs.

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Windstream Communications

My home phone and Internet service are provided by Windstream. They suck, but are my only option besides satellite. Considering the bandwidth restrictions with satellite, I chose Windstream.

In an effort to decrease the amount of paper that I deal with every month, I opted for paperless billing with them a few months ago. I didn’t give it any more thought until I got a disconnect notice last month. I looked at my bank account and realized that I hadn’t paid them anything the previous month, so I immediately sent a payment out for the past due amount on the notice. I intended to follow up and try to find the “bill ready” email that I obviously missed, but I got distracted and promptly forgot about it. Until I got another disconnect notice the day before yesterday.

I called and demanded to know what the fuck was going on. Long story short, they don’t send an e-mail notice when your bill is ready after you switch to paperless billing. They just turn off the paper bills. They said that there is a way to sign up for email alerts that will notify you when your bill is ready, but it’s not part of the paperless enrollment. You have to remember to log in and view it on your own. And for some reason, the amount varies slightly every month, so it’s not possible to schedule the same amount on the same day and forget about it.

Yes, you read that correctly. These stupid motherfuckers expect you to remember when your bill is ready to be viewed, log in, verify the amount due, and pay it. I don’t know about you, but I have way too many bills to remember unassisted when each one is due. For the record, there is no need to sign up to get “upgrade your service” advertisements from them. I get those all the time.

Shit like this makes me reconsider satellite.

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Weekend Off

I found out last minute that I have this weekend off. Not a matter of, we’re not running production, but you still have to come in and take care of the weekly preventative maintenance off. Honest to God not having to show up at all. The only question is how I will spend it. Whatever I decide, you can be sure that I will enjoy it.

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I’ve used H&R Block or Turbotax for years. I’ve often wondered how they’ve been able to offer a free version recently. I think I just figured it out.

The free versions are advertised as basic products, and indeed they are. For the most part, if you can’t file using a 1040EZ, you won’t be able to use the free version. And even if you can, every other screen during the interview tries to get you to upgrade or to buy other products. But that’s not all.

I started out on Turbotax this year because they offered both Federal and State free. When I got to the part about health insurance, the system told me that I was ineligible to use the free product. I have what zer0care calls a high deductible plan and an associated health savings account. This account was the reason why I supposedly had to upgrade. They said that this requires filing using form 1040 and an additional form or schedule.

This could be correct, but in my case, it wasn’t. This is necessary only if you make contributions to said account directly rather than through payroll deductions, which I didn’t. They must know this, but use it (and who knows how many other similar gray areas) to force people into their pay product.

I aborted the process and went with another company that asked the same questions and set me up on 1040EZ without hesitation. That left me having to either pay for State software, or file by hand.

I’m annoyed at the misleading/false advertising (or incompetence, in the unlikely event that they really didn’t know), but part of me has to admire the deviousness of their marketing strategy.

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