What a Busy Week

So it’s been a few weeks since my last update.  There were several times this past week I wanted write something, but I just couldn’t steal an hour to do it.  It’s Sunday night, Eliz is sleeping and the kids are both away.  Here is my chance!

I’ve been wanting to go to Affiliate Summit East in New York since I learned about it a few months ago.  My one big problem was how.  If Eliz went with me, how would we run ForYourSalon.com and ship orders?  And, more importantly, even if we conceded that there will probably be few orders since it is the middle of August, what would we do with the kids?  Also, since Eliz was going to assist me, I didn’t think it would be fair to have to pay for her.  If I could go on my own, I would.  (The last time I did something like this on my own was in January 2001.  I flew to Miami for a Taylor Rental event – we were interested in purchasing the one in Media and my prospective partner bailed on the event two days before we were to leave.  I went anyway and had a very tough time getting around the airport, hotel, and event, even though my vision was substantially better than today – between 20/80 – 20/100.)

Fortunately, after an email to #ASE10, I was able to work something out on entry fee for Eliz by providing a letter from one of my eye doctors.  Conveniently, I had an appointment with Dr. Ayres, the cornea specialist this past week and he agreed to write the letter for me (more on the appointment later.)  I’d like to thank Amy from Affiliate Summit for all her help!

The big question was about the kids.  Do we take them and let them take in the sights of NYC on their own?  The Museum of Modern Art is across the street from where the event will be held and 5th Ave is only a block away.  The bottom line was that we didn’t feel comfortable with that and thought it would be too great of a distraction for us.  We’ll take the kids back another time.  Eliz’s mother (Grandmere to the kids) will sleep here the two nights we won’t be here.  She’ll also grab dinner for them.  As she says, she’ll supervise not babysit.

So, along with doing my normal routine of communicating with customers, updating shipping status’, and helping Eliz with the heavier deliveries, I was also constantly checking  Hotels.com (Hotels.com by city, dates and number of guests) for a place to stay since I missed out on the good deals through the event at the New York Hilton, where the event is being held.  I just couldn’t pay $400 per night plus taxes to stay there… So, the post is sponsored by Hotels.com.

I also had a few things to do for Digital Graphics Design. The main item was end of the month invoicing. We had picked up a couple more hosting accounts, plus Dan had completed some updates for current clients. While my title is president, my actions are primarily as bookkeeper… Dan did get a lead for an e-commerce, so Dan, Ken, and I kicked around pricing for that after doing some research on what the prospective client wants. Keep your fingers crossed… In other spare time, I’ve been helping a friend who just opened a shop by creating a logo and working on a website for her. I really miss doing that, but I don’t feel my work is up to par to actually charge for it.

This past Wednesday afternoon, I had an appointment with Dr. Ayres, as I mentioned above. There wasn’t much of a change. The eye chart seemed a bit blurrier than at my appointment a few weeks earlier with Dr. Garg. I could read the E, but the S in the SL line was difficult for me. I’m not sure if I would’ve been able to read it if I didn’t know what it was. Dr. Ayres had a look and we spoke about the fluctuation in my vision. He had Gordon do some sort of scan to measure my cornea. They used a machine they were trying out and he hoped that he’d still have it at my next appointment to get another scan at a different time of day. Looking into the machine, I saw what looked like one of the flowers on the Mystery Machine. Zoinks! While I was having the scan done, Eliz asked Dr. Ayres about writing the letter for the Affiliate Summit. When we returned to Pod 2 (I still don’t know why they don’t call them EyePod 1, 2, and 3…) Dr Ayres and I talked about the letter. He told me to continue on the eye drops and come back in six weeks, in the morning. So while there weren’t any miraculous breakthroughs on why my vision can’t get back to where it was just after the surgery in mid-April, I wasn’t really expecting too much and my IOP remains stead at eight, which is good considering it could get wacky (cuckoo bananas?) because of the drops that I’m on. As promised, Dr. Ayres had the letter to me by the next morning.

It’ll be interesting to see if this week is as frantic as last week. Since both kids are away, it will certainly be more quiet here.

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Car Buying Experience = Life Sucking Event

Lately, it seems as if there is a little, black rain cloud is over me.  Nothing terribly catastrophic, just small annoyances to somewhat larger, time-and-money wasting events.  For example, when we were heading into Canada last Thursday, there was a queue at the frontier.  Two lanes opened into three lanes, then the third lane periodically opened into a fourth.  We were in lane two.  Lane one moved faster than us (we ended up being three to four cars behind where we would have been had we been in lane one.)  Lane three moved really fast, since every so often, the agent in lane four would take a few cars.  We lost count, but we were probably six to eight cars behind.  After an 50 to 60 minutes, it was finally our turn.  The agent that quizzed us was possibly the most (only?) unfriendly man in Canada.  After 20 questions or so, we were on our way, to the restrooms 100 metres down the road.  Coming back on Saturday, Eliz asked which lane.  I said, “Whichever lane we pick will be wrong, so just get in one.”  Sure enough, we were in the ssslllooowww lane.  However, unlike the unfriendly Canadian that greeted us two days earlier, we had the most friendly agent in U.S. history.  He was smart too.  He keenly knew that “the one all the way in the back” was the troublemaker…  All of us except Jane laughed at that one.

Today, we thought we had better finally try to purchase a new car to replace our almost 11 year old Durango (with over 156,500 miles on it) while the CARS program still had some money in it.  We have been looking for over a month.  We’ve driven seven different SUVs (five on test=drives, two rentals-one for each trip to Canada.)  We’ve settled on the Honda Pilot.  I emailed Ken over at Piazza Honda in Drexel Hill, even though he never tried to make contact with us after our test-drive in late June.  Within seconds, I get a mail-daemon, no such address.  So I call him.  I tell him what we want, he calls me a couple of times with questions, then finally calls and sets up an appointment for 6:00PM tonight with Eliz.

We get to the dealership at five to 10 minute early and see he is with a customer.  A “receptionist” asks if she could help us and we tell her we’re here to see Ken.  She says she’ll let him know and to take a seat anywhere we please.  I begin to think of where Jake would sit and wonder what they would do if I sat there.  (Jake likes to sit on the roof of our car while waiting for us to leave my parent’s place.)  There were two cars on the showroom floor, both four door sedans (different models.)  I think: “Would that car support me?”  “What would the people there say?  ‘Hey, what’s that bald, fatty doing on that car?,’ and ‘I think he’s retarded…'”  It brought a smile to my face.  The smile didn’t last long though.

After waiting about 25 minutes, the “receptionist” asked us if we needed help.  Eliz told her, again, that we had a 6:00PM appointment with Ken.  Her reply?  Did you tell anyone?  Uh, yeah, we told YOU.  She tells Ken then lets us know he’ll be over once he’s finished with the paperwork for the customer he is currently helping.  10 minutes later, he comes over to help us.  He has no idea who we are and why we’re there.  He fakes it, but fails miserably.  Once we remind him, he goes to get some information and we don’t see him for another 10 minutes.  In the meantime, his 6:30PM appointment is asking how much longer.  On his way back to us, Ken sees him and tells him to come back later.  When he gets back to us, he asks Eliz and I for our Registration Card, Insurance Card, and both of our drivers’ licenses.  I remind him that I don’t have one.  The light bulb that went off was as bright as 1000 suns.  (Maybe you saw it?)  He then says, because you’re legally blind.  Now I know he remembers me.  He then disappeared for 15 minutes.  In the meantime, his 7:00PM appointment arrives.  He comes back to us asks us a quick question and disappears for another 15 minutes.

The next thing we know, he is with his 7:00PM appointment (at roughly 7:25PM.)  Eliz and I are now pretty irritated.  He then leaves his 7:00 and disappears for yet another 15 minutes.  He comes back to us and asks what engine we have in our car.  I told him I thought it was a 5.7 litre V8, but I was unsure.  He literally runs out to our car to check, then disappears for 10 minutes.  His 7:00 is now just as angry as we are, so they leave.  Ken comes back to us with a price for the car we are looking at (a 2009 Pilot EXL with the entertainment system) and mentions that we qualify for $4500 in the cash for clunkers sweepstakes.  I question the price of the new car and he, yup, disappears again.  Eliz and I go look at the car from the outside, since it’s locked.  We come back in and Ken comes back and asks if we’d like to see the inside.  He grabs the keys and we head back outside.  Looks good.  I ask him if they are able to move a bit lower on the price.  Away he goes.

When he comes back, he tells us he gave us the wrong price.  No kidding.  They had priced an EXL without the entertainment system.  The sales manager comes over and explains it was an honest mistake.  Whatever.  Ken and the sales manager are off again.  I call my friend (Ken Stock) and ask him to go to vehix.com to gather some additional info for me.  After four or five minutes on the phone with Ken, I go back to the table we were sitting around.  Neither Ken or the manager are there, but the new price is and it’s $900 more that before.  When he finally comes back, we tell him we’ll think about it.  It is now 8:18PM.  We were hungry, tired, and sitting in a car that we hope will start…

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