High-brow

I always enjoy encountering people on my neighborhood walks with the dogs. The conversations are so intelligent:
“Wow! Your dog only has three legs!”

“She sure can move well on three legs!”

Another crappy day

Wednesday night was boring. The dogs and I watched some television (including another Rockies’ loss) and went to bed about 11:45 PM. A typical weekday night. All was well.

I awoke to the sound of my truck’s alarm sounding. I grabbed my glasses and my phone and headed outside. My neighbor Kevin from across the street was already outside too, headed towards my truck. “They were fast!”

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I was the victim of a “smash ‘n’ grab” — my vehicle had been staked out and then in the dark of the early morning the thieves pulled along side my truck, smashed the window and made quick work of prying the dash apart and pulling my sat/nav head unit out. Kevin said he heard the alarm and saw a car speeding off down the street but didn’t get a description or plate number.

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I called the police and since it was after-the-fact it took a while for an officer to arrive. The officer took my information and gave me the all-important report number that the insurance company will want. I was wide awake at this point and laid on the couch for a few hours trying to doze off. Even late-night programming could’t knock me out. I finally went under around 6 AM but quickly woke up so I could start cleaning.

The safety glass is great if you’re in the truck in an accident but it’s a bitch to clean up. There was shattered glass everywhere on the street, in the front seats and the back, in the cup holders, in the bits of the gear shifter, and almost everywhere else. I cleaned up the large pieces and cleaned off the driver’s seat so I could drive over to the car wash and vacuum out the remaining glass.

My insurance company did dispatch a glass service company to replace the window today. I have to visit the drive-in claim center early Friday morning with my receipts for the stereo to get my estimate for repair work and replacement of the sat-nav. Hey, at least it will be Friday of a three-day weekend, right?

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Side-swiped by a shop-vac. Really.

An idiot side-swiped my truck as it was parked on the street in front of my house. He had a shop-vac in the bed piled on top of tree limbs and the vac slid off the side of the truck, swinging by its A/C cord. Whacked my driver-side door hard enough to set off the alarm. The result is just a few scratches but they’re down through the clear coat layer so they need to be repaired and repainted.

The U.S. Postal Service: “We Lie To You”

I ordered something from Amazon.com recently. I do this frequently, and Amazon uses whatever shipping method they feel is appropriate to get me the item under their Prime program (two-day free shipping). I understand logistics and cost analysis, so when the item shipped via USPS (snail mail) I wasn’t too surprised. It’s a Blu-Ray Disc, and because of it’s size and weight it makes sense to send it via USPS.

I was surprised when I received an email from Amazon this afternoon telling me the post office had attempted to deliver the item but no one was home to receive/sign for it. I say “surprised” because I was home all day working in my office in the second bedroom. The front door of the house is less than twenty feet from the office and I have two dogs that bark when anyone walks down the sidewalk in front of the house… and they specifically let me know when there is anybody on the front porch. According to the USPS tracking web site, the attempted delivery was at 9:27 am. I was here at that time, no once came to the door, no one knocked. The web site informed me there was a delivery attempt notice left for me, but I could find nothing of the sort in my mailbox, on the front door, even on the ground on the porch. I even attempted to schedule a redelivery attempt through the USPS web site but was informed that it was not possible for this item. No further explanation was given.

I called my local USPS branch to inquire about my package. The person I spoke with didn’t sound interested in helping me from the outset of the call, but I tried anyway. I told her the tracking number and all of the info that said a notice was left here that I could not find, and included the info that was here at the time the delivery was supposedly attempted. She wasn’t too interested, instead letting me know that the route delivery guys wouldn’t be back in the branch location until 6 or 6:30 pm and they would be closed at that point. She also said she couldn’t give me any info about the package until the package was back in the office. An offer for redelivery was made for tomorrow but I declined since I was home today when the system says they tried to deliver, so I couldn’t expect much more for tomorrow. She told me I could have the package held at the office and pick it up myself tomorrow.

My problem here is two-fold: First, this is the typical kind of lying bullshit attitudes all of the employees of the Denver University Park branch office display on a regular basis. They’re put out if you ask them for any information (on the phone or in person). They lie about deliveries and mis-manage simple tasks such as holding mail on vacations. They’re hostile to their customers. I’ve come to understand this is typical of most postal employees these days, and there is almost nothing that can be done about it. In Denver, the branch postmaster/manager is essentially a deity. Have a problem, try to discuss it with somebody? Too bad, “that’s the way it is.” There is no recourse, no escalation above the branch level. Complain or try to push your issue too hard and you will be threatened with arbitrary non-delivery of all of your mail, possible charges under federal law, and worse. It wasn’t made clear what “worse” could be, but it was said in a manner that told me “you don’t want to know.”

The second reason I don’t look forward to picking up my package at the branch office is that the Denver University Park station is in a densely-populated area (including the University of Denver). The branch is small and in typical USPS fashion they will have two of six service windows running at any time. Wait times in the queue are usually around thirty minutes or longer, even when they first open in the morning. Their two automated postal machines are likely the busiest in the state because people would rather DIY instead of waiting in line for rude and slow service.

I now rent a post office box in a different branch office that is technically closer to my house by half a mile, but in Englewood and not Denver. It’s an old, smallish branch in a building on the National Register of Historical Buildings, and as such the USPS can’t close it (they’ve tried several times). The employees there are wonderfully helpful and friendly and the lines average three minutes or less — usually I am the only person in line! I’m going to have to put a little thought into my Amazon ordering process now: if the item is smallish (like a Blu-ray Disc) I will have it sent to my PO box. Larger packages will qualify for UPS shipping since they’re much cheaper that USPS parcels in most cases.

It’s really sad that a government agency that desperately needs our business to stay afloat financially allows such horrible, rude, inefficient liars to staff many of their locations. It’s understandable that people would rather deal with the UPS man who comes at the same time every day, who smiles and says hello, and even knows the names of my dogs — the same dogs that bark at him everyday, but he’s not upset about that at all.

UPDATE: Here’s the beautiful part… at 6:50 PM tonight my mail was delivered, including my package. It wasn’t a special drop-off because I called — it was what time the route carrier made it to my block. 6:50 PM! So they absolutely lied about attempting to deliver it at 9:27 am. I am not surprised.

At least I won’t have to visit the post office branch in the morning.

Paging Dr. Stubbs

It’s now Wednesday afternoon and I have not heard anything back from Lucy’s surgeon.

Lucy is starting to put a little bit of weight on her leg now so I guess she just sprained or strained something over the weekend. I have to “guess” since the dumbass vet hasn’t called me yet.

Welcome, neighbor!

I was in the front yard this afternoon talking with my next-door neighbor. My dogs were both outside in my yard or his, being dogs: laying or rolling in the grass, sniffing things. Fabi wandered down a few yards and found a patch of grass that smelled *very* good and she started rolling in that patch. No poop, no pee, just a roll in the grass. She was further away than I preferred so I called her back and she obeyed. I also noticed two sets of beady little eyes glaring at Fabi, and then at me, from the porch near where my dog had been rolling.
One set of eyes, attached to a typical Gen Y “wannabe” female, walked off the porch and stood, hands on hips, and yelled, “You need to keep your dogs leashed up! They’ve run and barked at me several times and I am frightened for my safety!”

I was dumbfounded. I am always outside with the dogs when they are in the front yard. I’ve never seen them chase or bark at anyone to the point where the person/people were scared, frightened or otherwise annoyed. “Several times” had me even more confused. But I didn’t argue the point, not much anyway. They occasionally bark at passerby as most dogs with territorial instincts are wont to do. Then they lower their heads and beg to be petted, often licking and sniffing. I’ve not seen anyone frightened by this behavior.

“Okay, sorry about that, ” I yelled back, but I wasn’t yelling in the same nasty bitch tone she used. I had to yell since she was three houses down and apparently was not going to have a mature conversation with me within ten feet. I added, “I’m sorry it had to happen ‘several times’ before you could be bothered to bring it to my attention. I’ll put them in the house right now.”

I called my dogs to follow me to home. As I was herding them to the door, the other set of beady eyes (her husband) came walking down the sidewalk. He echoed her bitchy tone, “It’s illegal for your dogs to be off-leash in the city of Denver. You don’t have the right to yell at my wife telling her she should have told you sooner.”*

I responded to him in a calm tone. “If it had really been ‘several times’ I’m sure she would have brought it to my attention before now. And I’m only yelling because she’s three yards away. Oh by the way, nice to meet you. My name is Brad.” I had not yet met either of these neighbors, so I assumed they were new to the block. They certainly were unremarkable in appearance, so they might have lived there a while. Never met them, though.

He appeared to get angry at this point. “I am doing you a courtesy by not calling the authorities right now. You have an obligation to…”

I interrupted him: “Look, do you want me to put my dogs away or not? You couldn’t just accept my apology and let me put the dogs in the house, you came down here to continue your little power-mongering argument with me. You’ve got the high ground, I was in the wrong, I was complying with your wife’s request. Continuing to talk to me in an effort to assert some little bit of righteousness is just delaying me getting my dogs under control and out of your sight. You would have thought that in the last three-and-a-half years one of my other weaselly yuppie neighbors would have let me know of the extreme danger my dogs posed to our block.”

His beady little eyes were darting back and forth, his nostrils flaring. “My wife and I are worried about the safety of our young children around your dogs. I don’t have to justify myself to you.”

I walked away. These are the type of people who are in debt up to their eyeballs so they can live the perfect little urban life: two kids, middle-management careers, european sedan and SUV, up-and-coming (aka, overly expensive) neighborhood. I won’t lie, I despise these type of people. I won’t put up with them. They’re right, they’re always right, and evidence and/or common sense will never convince them otherwise.

As a final parting shot, I said back over my shoulder, “Too bad you don’t need a license to have kids…”

I’m already waiting for the next time they whole family unit is strolling down the street. I have my comments ready and waiting:

YOU KIDS GET OFF OF MY YARD!

Happy anniversary

I took the dogs up to Guanella pass today to hike around in the snow. I’ve been ill for a week so I needed to get out of the house and be active in the sunshine. The girls have suffered, too, since I’ve been a lot less active while sick. Additionally, Lucy is having a surgery to remove the titanium plate on Monday so this was her last “hurrah”. Both girls had a great time running in the snow.
Fabi found a bone

After the hike I drove up a few forest roads scouting out some camping sites for later in the year. One road was a single lane and had quite a bit of snow along the sides. I pulled over to let some oncoming traffic pass and got the truck stuck in about three feet of snow. The traffic passed me by without noticing that I was stuck, so I had to get my shovel and dig the wheels out myself. Luckily after about twenty minutes of digging and moving dirt and gravel under the tires I was able to move the truck out of the snow. Yay.

We made it home late in the afternoon and had a little nap. When I woke up I was thinking a little and realized it’s been ten years this month since the ex left me. That’s a long time to be single. Now that I have the dogs I’m not really alone but it still gets lonely from time to time. I decided to head out to a bar to be around some people. I like the place but I’d never been there on a Saturday night. I’m actually a little sweet on one of the waitresses and she’s normally very nice to me despite the fact that I’m older than her and ugly, but tonight she pretended she didn’t know me. I guess she has a rep to uphold with her cool customers. I don’t know.

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I had some beers and chicken wings and suddenly all of the televisions in the bar were showing a UFC match. Wow. You can call me a snob but WTF is appealing about this “sport”? I finished my beer and beat a path to the door. Back home, my dogs were happy to see me and I went to bed early. That seems to be my place in life.