Wednesday’s Wandering Thought

Twenty-nine minutes.

It doesn’t seem like much time.

It was how long he waited for Microsoft to update.

MS updates always seem invasive. Waiting for it to do its thing is the norm. This is helpful, he reminded himself. New features. Updated security. Bugs fixed.

But he was on a writing schedule. This was twenty-nine minutes of not writing, of sitting and stewing, impatience and irritation growing, while the computer did its thing. Icons didn’t appear on the taskbar. No notice was given about how much longer was required or what was going on. All he could do is sip coffee, tap a finger, and wait.

Eventually, it finished. When the browser finally opened after twenty-nine minutes of waiting, it displayed a message.

He wasn’t impressed. MS had to make up a twenty-nine minute deficit before their updates would start saving time.

Rant over. Back to the normally scheduled program.

Amazon Sucks

So, here we go again, first world blues. I’m just a jaded American who is too easily irritated and prone to whining.

Amazon and the USPS are at my issue’s center. Really, it’s more than that. I have a cat getting on in age. He’s been puking often. Give him hairball stuff. These are hard little pellets. He likes them. They help some. But still, a puke every other day. He’s otherwise a happy, healthy, good-looking boy.

Reading online, others suggest a raised tilted food bowl will help alleviate the issue. Well, why not? I will try that.

I searched locally. Nada. Widened the local search. Nada. Reluctantly turned to the net. Ended up on Amazon. I really try to avoid ordering from Amazon. Amazon is wealthy. Its founder, Bezos is super-wealthy, as wealthy as a small nation. Doesn’t pay much in taxes, he or his corporation. That sort of matter irritates me. Plus, I hear his employees aren’t overly happy working for him.

So, avoid them when I can. But I went with the bowl on Amazon because, reviews, and convenience. Well, so much for convenience.

It shipped right out. Great. Was due for delivery yesterday. USPS. Okay. Was out for delivery at 6:10 AM. Either my wife and I were home all day. Never a time when both of us were out.

Checked the front porch throughout the day. Nada. Talked to Alexa about it. Chirpy as always, she assured me it was out for delivery. Went up and checked the mailbox at 6:30 PM. Nada. Checked online. Out for delivery. Okay.

First thing this morning, I asked Alexa about the delivery. “Your package was delivered to your selected pick up point.”

What the hell does that mean? I checked the front porch. Nada. Dressed, I prepared to walk up to our mailbox. On a whim, though, I checked online.

They said it was waiting for pick up. The USPS claimed that they tried delivering it at 4:02 PM. Now it happens that I know that I was at home at 4 PM. I was at that moment reading a book, “Law of Innocence” by Michael Connolly. I was doing that in the dining room, about fourteen feet from the front door. Facing the kitchen window. Which looks out at the front porch. I know that time because I was thinking that I had to make dinner but I wanted to walk a few miles and what time would I do these things? If someone walked onto the front porch, I would have seen them. Had they knocked, I would have heard them. If they rang the bell, you get it.

I was annoyed. No, pissed. Mostly because the USPS lied to me. Then they shifted the burden of delivery to me. I can either walk or drive a few miles to get the package they’d been hired to deliver.

Yes, I know. First world blues, right?

I decided to contact Amazon ‘customer service’ about. Can’t really call it customer service. It’s a bot that sent me around in circles without satisfaction. The bot said it was delivered. I replied, “I didn’t get it.”

“Did you look around the house?” the bot inquired.

No, I’m an idiot and this is the first time that I’ve ever had something delivered, I snapped back, but that answer wasn’t available to enter. You can only enter pre-canned responses. It makes it easier on Amazon. I selected, “Yes, I didn’t find it.”

“Well,” the bot replied, “the status was updated too early. It’ll get there.”

That was it.

I searched for ways to contact Amazon. They provided me a number to call USPS. I imagined how that call would go.

Yes, I know the answer to all of this. “You get what you pay for.”

I finally succumbed to talking to Amazon. Didn’t want to. Like most Americans, I prefer written correspondence. But I hit the button. Amazon called. I talked them through it. They contacted the USPS and brought them up on the call. “It was an early scan,” the USPS rep said.

Yeah, sure.

“It’ll be delivered tomorrow.”


They thanked me for my patience.

I hung up.

Technology, Again

Our county library has changed its system.


I was happy with the old system. They didn’t ask me. Running the library was outsourced to a private, for-profit firm several years ago. They asked me. I voted against it. I was outvoted. As a result of that move, the library hours were immediately cut, and people were let go.

Then came the coronarivus…

They’ve been doing a pretty good job during the pandemic. Kinda hard to screw up. Put a book on hold. When it’s available, present self at door. Provide name and card number. Librarian checks book out and gives it to you. You return the book to a drop box when you’re done with it.

That all worked well but changes were required. Technology sprints ahead. We must catch up. ‘They said’ in their notice that it would be easier to search online content and find my books. I was having no problem with those things. They can’t be easier than that, can they?

‘They’ also told me that the first time I logged in, my PIN would be the last four digits of my telephone number. I logged in today and entered the last four digits of my telephone number. ‘That information is incorrect’, the system told me. Okay, reset password.

I went through that, receiving the link to do this in my email account. After I reset my PIN, I went to my account to see what telephone number was in my account.

It was a number that I didn’t know.

Naturally. Technology, right. GIGO. Garbage in, etc.

I changed the number. The system told me a librarian would review the information before updating my account.


I logged out.

A few hours passed. My wife wanted to know what books were on the hold list. She uses my account because she didn’t want to go through the bother of getting a new library card the last time that the system changed, a few years ago.

I logged in.

‘That information is incorrect’, the system told me.

WTF? No, it isn’t.

Well, the system disagreed. Everyone knows that the system wins in these instances.

I reset my password again via an email link. For extra points, I used the PIN that I’d previously created.

Yeah, it took.

I remained logged in afterward. But then again, I decided, log out, because if it doesn’t recognize me and I need to reset my PIN, well, three times is a charm, right?

Does technology know that?


A brief bout of Amazonitis hit our house this week. Don’t know if you’ve ever been afflicted. Essentially, it’s a common medical condition brought on by something that Amazon or its affiliates do. First, someone’s mood grows foul. The person is then often afflicted with spurts of anger and short temper, accompanied by swearing at the computer. Side-effects include swearing at other people, the news, and animals.

My wife was afflicted first. Her book club is meeting on Wednesday next week. The book chosen for 2021 is Girl, Woman, Other. As soon as the announcement was made in early December, I went online to the library, checked for copies, and put it on hold. I was number two billion on five copies. (Yes, that’s an exaggeration for effect; actual number was seventeen on six copies.) (My wife’s library card doesn’t permit her to put books on hold online. Her card is part of an older system. The system was revamped five years ago. One needed to go in and get a new card. She never did that, so my card is used for her requests along with my requests. I don’t mind; I need to keep the karma points.) (Okay, I mind a little.)

I tracked progress of the book on hold. I’d reach number nine by the last week of December. Okay, the library book wasn’t going to be received in time. In lockdown, finding it locally was something she shied away from doing. The book was ordered online from Amazon.

Amazonian wheels began turning. The order was processed. Shipment took place. Estimated delivery was by 8 PM on January 8th. Candles were lit. The vigil began. Shipment notifications claimed it was out for delivery. The front lights were turned on to help the deliverer find their way.

Eight PM passed without a delivery. “It’s not here,” my wife growled, the first stage of Amazonitis. “Let me see what the tracking notification says.” She opened her computer. “What the actual fuck! They say it’s in Hillsborough, Oregon.”

Hillsborough is a suburb of Portland, about two hundred ninety miles away.

My wife turned to me. “It’s not going to be here until between the twelfth and fourteenth now. Book club is on the thirteenth. I won’t have time to read the book. Where can I get it?”

I did online searches of local bookstores to see what could be done. Wasn’t in.

“Can you order on Kindle?” my wife asked. “Do you have an app? Can I read it on the iPad?” Lots of questions, for which I thought, sure. That’s when my Amazonitis struck.

I went to Amazon, found the book, and ordered a digital copy. Amazon said, “Download our free app and read it now!” I downloaded the app. “Your devices don’t support the app,” Amazon answered. “Want to buy a new device that does?”

WTAF? You’re telling me that I can’t read it with your app on my ‘puter? WTAF?

I didn’t realize it then, but I’d already caught the Amazonitis.

The bug was spreading fast through me. Two of our floofs, Tucker and Boo, started a hissing and growling contest under my desk. “If you two don’t stop now, I’ll give you two something to hiss and growl about!” I yelled.

My wife laughed. “That’s something that I bet your Dad never said to you.”

The Amazonitis had attacked my sense of humor. I wasn’t in the mood. I’d followed a link to another app they recommended, downloaded and installed it. Then I clicked to read the book.

Unfortunately, the book was completely blank. Hundreds of blank pages. In fact, there were no pages with any words, letters, or numbers.

The Amazonitis crept deeper into my muscles. “What the actual fuck?” I snapped. On the Kinder app, my newly purchased book didn’t even show up. As Amazonitis wrapped its tentacles around me and my anger surged, I went back to my orders. Under the book on my order page was a little ‘Read Now’ button. I clicked it to see what would happen.

The book opened.

That was it? Why, oh ‘great Amazon’, I snarled in my angriest internal voice, did you have me go through all that shit about downloading apps and chasing links if I could just order it and click and read it right there on the page? Huh? Why? Why, why, why?

The crises had been averted, more or less. My wife couldn’t read the book on the iPad but she could read it on her Mac. (None of the apps had been downloaded and installed on her Mac, BTW. It was all done on the iPad or my Dell. So, she could read it on her Mac without any app.) No, she couldn’t take it to read in the bath, but, oh, well. The Amazonitis began to creep out of our systems.

Today, she checked on the tracking notification for the other book. You know, the hard copy that was supposed to be delivered by 8 PM on the 7th. The one which had suddenly been changed to a delivery date of between Jan 12 and 14.

“They say it’s been delivered,” she said.

“Where?” I asked. It was about two PM. I went to the front porch.

There it was, sitting on the mat.

I felt a new bout of Amazonitis coming on.

Med Frustrations

Okay, gotta vent. This is one of those first world blues rants, the kind that deal with technology, systems, and customer service taken for granted that ends up failing and pissing me off.

I’m on two medical prescriptions these days. One is for my enlarged prostate and was prescribed for me when I experienced problems in peckerville in 2019. It’s all benign and is working well enough now.

The other prescription is for high-blood pressure. That was discovered as a result of my peckerville issues. I’d been borderline high pressure throughout my life but it was suddenly over two hundred thirty.

Changes were made in diet and exercise, and the prescription, Amlodipine, begun. I was always getting thirty day prescriptions. I shifted that to ninety day for convenience, and then, concurrent with COVID-19, I started using a mail service to refill my prescriptions back in February or so.

This was being done through Express Scripts. I set my meds up for auto-refill. All was going well. I was satisfied.

But, last week, I noticed I was down to nine Amlodipine pills. I hadn’t heard from Express Scripts. That surprised me. I went into my email and did a search to verify that I hadn’t received something from them. Nope. I logged into my account.

Finding the Amlodipine prescription, I noted that it wouldn’t be automatically refilled until 10/23. Well, that was too late. I put it in the cart and ordered it. Done and done. Went to my email. A confirmation email had been received. Wonderful. The system was working.


Everyone expected the but. But what happened, I’m sure people are wondering, to set off the rant?

But, I didn’t hear anything else.

Days passed. I logged back into my online Express Scripts account after not receiving further emails. I checked my recent orders and shipments. Why, there are no recent orders and shipments. I searched via the order number they provided me. That order wasn’t found. I searched via the invoice number provided. Nothing.

WTH? I’d copied it from the email and pasted it in.

The email also had a ‘click here for order status’ button. I clicked it.

It took me to the login page, where I went through the same thing as before.


I did this several times, re-reading the email and tracing steps, trying to understand what went wrong. I couldn’t. I’m sure this wasn’t good for my blood pressure.

I reached out to them via an email and explained my issue.

That was Wednesday evening. I heard from them today, Friday. One was an email. Call us. Two was a phone call. ANONYMOUS.

I didn’t answer that call; I don’t talk to ANONYMOUS in this day of scams where everyone and their dog is trying to con me, asking for donations, or pleading for political contributions. Their message: call us.

I called them. They claimed that the order put in was for my other medication. That was ordered the 18th. It’d been canceled because it was an overfill. By the way, my Amlodipine isn’t on auto-refill. Do I want to put it on auto-refill?


I don’t think this exchange did my blood pressure any good.

My response: how did my Amlodipine go from auto-refill to non-auto if it wasn’t the one that I ordered the other day?

Two, if I ordered a prescription, whether it was overfill or not, why didn’t I receive an email notifying me that it’d been canceled? Didn’t they think there was a reason I was ordering it? Isn’t it just good customer service to notify a customer when an order is canceled?

Three, if I ordered it on the 18th, why did I have an email from them that I received on the 17th telling me that they were working the order?

Four, if the Amlodipine wasn’t on auto-refill and they don’t show me or anyone else changing it, how was the order previously automatically refilled? Was that just magic?

They didn’t have answers for any of these things.

Perhaps I did push a wrong button on the 17th when I was processing online. Given their system, I find it doubtful. The product must be selected. Then, it’s right there in front of my face. Perhaps I had a brain fart and shifted from thinking Amlodipine to the other one, Tamsulosin. I’m not infallible.

And, yeah, given time differences of one or two hours, I suppose I can accept the idea that the order I put in at ten PM on the 17th showed up as being received on the 18th. That doesn’t explain the rest, especially the lack of an email telling me that the order had been canceled.

And that sucks.

Fortunately, I have an excellent local pharmacy. I shifted from them mostly because of the whole COVID-19 thing. Getting my meds through the mail with auto-refills took a few things off my place, thereby reducing stress, and eliminated the need to leave the house to get refills.

I called that pharmacy today for a short term refill. They were understanding. They would need to call my doc for the prescription, but no problem, they would do that. They’re so nice, I feel bad about abandoning them.

Then I called my doc’s office to provide a heads-up that they would receive a request, and why.

Well, the rant is done. I don’t feel any better after ranting. Too many loose ends. It’s gonna take a while to get over it. Meanwhile, my trust in Express Scripts has dropped significantly. There are just too many open questions about what happened for me to have complete trust. It’ll take time, probably years, for them to earn that. That’s what happens when a trust is breached.

Thanks for reading. Hope you’re having a better one. Please wear your masks.


Frozen Apple

My wife owns an Apple. She owns several; only one currently functions. She loves her Macs, except for three things.

  1. The magnetic connection to the power supply. That thing is always falling out. She tapes it into place.
  2. The freaking battery. Can’t be replaced, you know. Once that dies, buy a new Mac.
  3. The computer freezes. When it does, only a hard reboot fixes it.

But she’s loyal to the brand. She always buys Apples.

Of course, she is a stockholder.

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