Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summertime Blues

I know I have been a bit tardy posting here. I've come to the conclusion that blogging is a wintertime sport as summer's activities are just too helltic, I mean hecktic, I mean hectic. I've had a few incidents lately that begged a post so here I am, even though it's not my blogging season.

I figured that when I got so busy I couldn't blog, that would mean the end of traffic to this site until I got things going again in the fall. However, a couple of times I've looked at my stats and am surprised each time when I still see a fair amount of traffic reading multiple posts. Why? I figure one of the following reasons must apply...
  • My stuff is so good that people have to keep reading it over and over
  • All my readers are in their early stages of Altzheimers and have forgotten they already read this stuff and therefore keep coming back and back and...
  • My stat counter is lying
  • Somehow my bank's overdraft report is being transferred into my blog statistics and the numbers I'm seeing are actually my check overdrafts. I really think this is the most likely and plausible explanation
So I'll probably pick this thing back up in the fall.

On a related note. Went to a reception at the church in Basin City the other night. As we went through the line, we met up with the groom's parents whom we have never met before. They are from Maine. I shook their hands and said "Hi, I'm Ben Casper." The lady said "Oh, I love your blog."

I was surprised that my computer can send my blog signals clear across the country like that. 

Ok, so what's happening? Today we are picking up our son Will at the airport. He's coming from North Carolina where he's spent the last two years on his mission. We've seen great growth and dedication through his letters these last couple of years. It has truly been the best thing he could have done at this time in his life. We are glad to have him back. We can hardly wait to see him.

I'm sure in a couple of days though, I'll be looking forward to him going back to school. That's just kind of the way life and relationships go. In fact, I often encourage my wife to go back to school.

I don't think I have noted a trip we took to Australia a couple of months ago. So noted.

Why Australia? Christianne is there while her Todd goes to graduate school. I'll talk more in detail about the trip when I've got more time.

So son Michael made it to Brazil and is already a changed individual. Once again, missions are great! He is serving others in Belo Horizonte, a city of something like 2.4 million. After detailed examination and visiting 7 or 8 informational websites, I've determined Belo is a tad bigger than Basin City.

Several times Michael has pointed out that other missionaries have gotten more mail than he or has stated some disappointing fact of life that we all experience on a daily basis. Then he says, "But don't you worry, I'll be alright."

So in a couple of weeks, our kids and grandkids and tag-a-longs (their spouses) are going to converge for a fun week at Priest Lake in Idaho. I mentioned to Michael that I was going to miss having him there for the big party but then told him "But don't you worry, I'll be alright."

Right now our family is in Basin City, Utah, Phoenix, Dallas, North Carolina, Brazil and Australia. For so many years, as our kids were growing, I wanted them to be spread out in a fashion such as this. However, now that they have matured and are normal people and they have the added attraction of owning our grandkids, I would prefer they lived closer.

A couple of weeks ago, a city in North Carolina named High Point called and ordered a minor upgrade part for one of my products. They had ordered the original unit (Tire Squire) from one of our distributors. I billed them direct. The bill came to something like $27 including shipping.

So I got a call last week telling me that I had to go online and register with their fair city's website as a vendor. This irritated me a little as the application process was lengthy, governmental in nature and a complete waste of my time. They had come to me and ordered the part and yet wanted me to jump through their hoops in order to get paid. They had my invoice and address to send a check but that wasn't sufficient.

To cut the check, they needed to know what percentage of my company was minority owned. They wanted me to fill out an IRS W9 for a $27 bill. They demanded to know what category and subcategory and parts and serial numbers I was providing them with. The required information went on and on.

I had sold them 2 sets of rubber dogbones, for heaven's sake! Just pay the bill. Grrrr.

I registered online. It took me 15 or 20 minutes. During this 20 minutes, I lost 4 years of tooth wear from the grinding.

So yesterday, I got a call from one of the bureaucrats at High Point, NC. She informed me that I needed to register with their fair city as a vendor if I wanted to get paid. I'm ashamed to say that I lost it. I ruined the lady's morning by enumerating all the reasons I thought they should take their policies and... anyway, you get the idea. I was hot even though our air conditioner is working fine.

I told her I had already filled out their online registration. She said it had not processed so I needed to do it again. I said I would not as their system was obviously flawed since it hadn't gotten my begrudgingly-filled out first app. She said that perhaps she should fax me a form and I could submit it without the city's website interfering. I told her in no uncertain terms that I wasn't going to reduplicate the large block of time required to resubmit their needless application.

Why in the world won't they just cut me a check? The world is coming to an end, compliments of the millions of minions who work for the Man.

When I informed her I wasn't rejumping her hoop, she said I wasn't getting paid. When I told her that the deal was off and she should just send me my dogbones back, she said ok. When I told her I wanted a refund for the shipping charges I had previously incurred, she told me I would have to fill out a vendor application with the City of High Point. I lost it on a higher level than my previous plateau of losing it.  I think I hung up on her although my memory of that particular period of time is one of steam and smoke. It must have been coming out my ears as our fire alarms all started going off.

And then I sat there and meditated. In the first place, High Point had me over a barrel. In the second place, a few minutes before I had gotten my last call from High Point, I had just finished reading the Book of Mormon. I mean completely through. And I knew I had not responded in the proper spirit. I felt a little guilty. In the third place, the lady that had called me was just doing her job. She hadn't made the rules, she was just following orders. It wasn't her fault she was working for idiots.

I called her back and apologized. Several times. She understood my frustration. Although it was against my principles, I was now cozy with a bureaucrat from High Point.

And then I got a flash of inspiration. I informed her that since they were requiring my services to fill out their forms, she should tear up the invoice in question. She said ok. I asked her to fax me the required paperwork. Ok again.

I filled out the parcel of mumbo jumbo and sent them a revised bill. Here is the itemization...

2 Dogbone sets                                                                $20.00
Shipping and Handling                                                      $  7.95
Handling Unnecessary Paperwork/Website Entries            $50.00

Total bill                                                                           $77.95

I felt better. Do you think I got paid?

I did.