Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dear Splenda:

Dear Splenda:

I know you don't read your customer service emails, as evidenced by the fact that I complained about your selling me an empty box, and in response you sent me a spoon. That's really too bad, because I want to share the completely, totally true story of how your product saved my Uncle Bob's life.

Many people might think my Uncle Bob didn't deserve to be saved, what with the fact that he swindled billions from grandmas and grandpas who invested their life savings with him and all. But there is a phrase that my family uses to describe these people, and that phrase is: jealous of anonymous Antigua bank accounts.

I think the rest of us can all agree that forcing Uncle Bob to go to prison was both unjust and inhumane. I mean, have you seen the thread counts on those sheets? And not only that, they use industrial detergent!! With NO fabric softener!! Plus the cooks have never even heard of tarragon.

(And don't even get me started on the side effects of the generic toilet paper,)

So when Uncle Bob made a break for it... Well, who could blame him?

I guess the guards could, apparently. One of them actually had the audacity to shoot at Uncle Bob! At close range! My poor, sweet, dear Uncle Bob.

(If that guard was on my Christmas card list, I'd totally be crossing him off right now.)

But fortunately for Uncle Bob, the bullets couldn't penetrate his skin.

Afterwards, he went to see his private doctor, and the doctor kind of nodded his head and said, "Mm-hmm. Do you eat a lot of Splenda?"

And Bob said, "Well, yes! I do! A lot! But how could that make a difference? I mean, it''s...natural! It's made from sugar!"

And the doctor just kind of nodded his head and muttered something about "powerful lawyers," and then he wouldn't meet Uncle Bob's eyes.

So I think we can all draw our own conclusions.

My point is, Splenda, that we have you to thank for the fact that in the language of the country we're now living in, there are no words for the phrase "extradition treaty."

(But there are totally words for SPLENDA IS AWESOME!!!)


His favorite niece

Why Nobody Should Buy Splenda. Like, Ever.

So the other day I told my sad tale of buying a box of Splenda packets, then getting home and discovering it was completely empty. And I shared with you the bizarre response I got from their so-called "Customer Service" people.

It gets even weirder.

Yesterday in the mail I got a little package from the Splenda people. I was expecting maybe an apology. Or at least the coupon they promised me.

Is that what I got? Ha.

What I got instead was a packet of recipes. Pages and pages of recipes. (Which I can apparently make with the Splenda I don't have because my freakin' box was empty.) Oh, and I also got a plastic mixing spoon with the word "Splenda on it.

I am not making this up.

No acknowledgment of my complaint at all, or of the fact that I'm out $5-ish because they produced and shipped a completely empty package. Although I did get a little note printed on a half sheet of paper that said that if I had any further questions (yes, questions!!!), I could call the number printed on the box. (Because they couldn't be bothered to print it on the piece of paper.)

I am still trying to pick my jaw up off my chest. Does this company know how to do customer service of what?!?!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Seattle Streets Quilt with T-Shirts

 For basic directions to a Seattle Streets quilt, click here:  Seattle Streets Quilt Tutorial.

Since I have been doing NO quilting since my dearest husband tidied up my sewing room* before Christmas, thought I'd share this with you instead.

I got a great email yesterday with the above photo from Robin C, who lives down South:

I came across your "Seattle Streets" pattern online and decided to try it out for a friend's t-shirt quilt (from all of his Southern University Marching Band shirts). I didn't strictly use your strip piecing directions as I had lots of odd-shaped rectangles that didn't lend themselves to strip piecing, but as you can see the effect is still the same. I used leftover fabrics for a simple pieced border. Feel free to use my photo if you like, just give me credit :-)

I LOVE it! It would never have occurred to me to do this with T-shirts, but now that my daughter has seen it, she wants one for herself.

Thanks for sharing it with me, Robin!

* And I do mean dearest. My sewing room was to the point where it was a such a disaster that I couldn't do anything with it -- fabric everywhere. He went in and put everything in boxes so we could use the room as an actual spare bedroom, and it's fantastic. (Plus I still have two living poinsettias on the window sill, still blooming and brightening my day.) But I haven't been able to make myself mess it up by digging through it for all my stuff. Eventually, though, I will get back on that hoss!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Customer Service?

So a few weeks ago I bought a box of 50 Splenda packets. Or at least it was supposed to be a box of 50 Splenda packets. When I opened it up, it was completely empty. Sealed up like a normal box, but absolutely nothing inside. I hadn't noticed, because...well...50 Splenda packets are really, really light. So I wrote to the company and explained the situation.

I just got the following email response, emphasis added. I can't tell if they consider this a preliminary step, or a full resolution.

Dear Laurie:

Thank you for contacting McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, makers of Splenda® No Calorie Sweetener Packets. It is always important to hear from our consumers, and we appreciate the time you have taken to contact us.

Although we were sorry to learn of your disappointment with your package of SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener, we appreciate the confidence in our company that prompted you to contact us.

We'd like to assure you that each complaint is reviewed seriously and personally not only by the Consumer Relationship Center's management, but also by managers in other divisions such as Quality Assurance, Research, Operations and Marketing.

We hope we have restored your faith in us. In the meantime, we will forward a coupon via regular mail should you wish to purchase one of our products in the future.

Again, thank you for your interest in our company. Should you have any comments or questions in the future, please contact us via our website or by calling our toll-free number 1-800-962-5357. Our specialists are available Monday through Friday between 8 AM and 8 PM EST and will be happy to assist you.

The Information Center

Um...gosh. You've restored my faith in, exactly? By not reading my email, then sending me a form letter and (apparently) a coupon that would allow me to spend more money on a product I already paid for but didn't receive?

Wow. That's service.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Best Recent Google Search String Used to Find My Blog

I've had "Play Strip Soccer," "Aurora Avenue Prostitution," and "Does Excedrin cause hemorrhoids?"

Today's search string?

"Relief of an empty bladder."

Thanks for stopping by, and I have no desire to know more.

(I myself was talking about my dog.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

False Alarm

I was very worried about my dog the other night.

I've talked about him before -- he's permanently on medication for epilepsy, but still has the occasional seizure which is heartbreaking to watch. He shakes uncontrollably, loses voluntary motor control, and drools like somebody's turned on a faucet in his mouth. One of the first signs that he's coming out of the seizure is the return of his ability to swallow.

I worry about him. He's the best dog in the universe, but there are no guarantees in life, and this is particularly so with a dog who has epilepsy. The medicine causes progressive liver damange, the seizures cause progressive brain damage. You try to go for the balance that will give him the longest, happiest life possible. And all the while you worry and watch for signs that all is not well.

This happened the other night. No seizure, but...the drooling. Drip, drip, drip, from his mouth onto the carpet. Dozens and dozens of droplets, so much we had to clean up with a towel.

I put him to bed that night and worried about what I would wake up to.

But he was fine the next day. Perfectly normal.

(Except that we've decided that my son will no longer be allowed to eat French fries in front of him.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

From Worlds Apart

Tonight in my ESL class, we ran into a bit of a problem. We'd spent the last two sessions learning the words for household goods, and the placement of household goods. ("The sofa is next to the end table." "The telephone is on the desk.") We had moved onto a drawing of a birdseye view of an apartment, and I wanted to be sure they recognized the items before we started describing placement.

"Point to the coffee table," I said. I was met with blank stares.

What was wrong? We knew "coffee table." We learned it last Wednesday, and they'd come up with it spontaneously tonight when I'd showed a photo of the real object. Maybe they couldn't recognize it from the picture angle. Time to try another object.

"Point to the TV." Everybody knows TV.

More blank stares.

Finally I realized what the problem was. Nobody had taught them the word "point."

This is my fourth week of teaching. I started out doing one day a week, on Wednesdays, but when the agency couldn't find a teacher to teach the same students on Tuesday nights, it felt like the right thing to do. We could all get more continuity with one teacher. Yes, it's a huge time commitment, but to be honest, I love it.

I can't get into too much detail about my students for privacy reasons, but there are eight of them. Their native languages are Chinese, Cambodian and Spanish. They range in age from 19 to somewhere in mid to late sixties. They moved here to start a new life, or to be with a husband, or to be with kids and grandkids. They have been here anywhere from one month to six years.

As somebody who struggled to get around France after studying the language for five years, I am amazed by their courage, and their tenacity, and the fact that they don't get discouraged. They just keep coming back for more. (We are at close to 100% attendance for this session so far.) I feel inadequate sometimes, but mostly I feel energized. Each time I hear them use a word they didn't know a few hours ago, or say a nearly perfect "TH" sound, or (best of all) converse with each other during the breaks in English, I feel like this is where I need to be.

And as of tonight? My students now know how to point.