Monday


11
Feb 19

The iPad story

Oh look, more snow and rain to run and play in …

That was at the end of this evening’s too-cold-for-a-5K neighborhood 5K. I’m now writing fancifully self-indulgent mini-essays on Instagram about it. The theme is: I’m ready for it to be warm. And, if we’re lucky, in six or seven weeks, it might be!

Yesterday looked like this, all day:

It was an almost-bitter cold on Saturday, but it was sunny, which was nice. And we took the day to take a trip to Indianapolis. Another trip, incidentally. Do you want the whole story? You want the whole story.

The week before last I finally said aloud that my iPad, which is now five years old and a refurb, was having trouble charging. We took it to a local place, where we have had the occasion to spend too much money for minor repairs. They looked it over and could not help.

So I called on Friday, a week ago, to set up an appointment at the genius bar at the Apple Store in Indianapolis. That Saturday was much like this one, cold, with stubborn snow piles everywhere, but dry, so it was a good day to take the 70-plus mile trip north. At the Apple Store we met a guy named Scott. At first he thought my iPad had died, so after I convinced him that it was the glare and the brightness turned way down, Scott ran his diagnostics. I’m having trouble with the charging port, but the battery was pretty much toast. He said as much, and showed us the diagnostic results. Scott said it is a batter problem, then, and not a charging port problem. The solution was a new replacement iPad, for $99. Same model, but a new battery and no charging port problems, and a 90-day warranty.

Great! Good deal! This is what I want to do. Of course they don’t have this particular model in the back of the store. It’s several generations behind and it would be unreasonable to expect they have it on the shelf.

So the solution, to avoid having to make another trip up to Indianapolis, is to have them mail one to me. This is how that process didn’t work.

On Sunday, right on time, someone from Apple Support called me. She consulted the file, and I had to explain everything. (Why do they maintain a file if it can’t be seen by others inside the customer service organization, anyway?) Kim was her name, and she was lovely. I was her first call that day, we talked for 40 minutes. She is a retired school teacher out west and was just upbeat about how this whole experience was going to set up her shift. She had an even better solution than the mail procedure. It turns out there is an authorized service provider here in town and only slightly removed from my regular route. She set up an appointment for Tuesday morning and I could go and do this whole thing. They’ll get the replacement iPad in, $99, I can transfer everything and we all go about our day. Wonderful.

On Tuesday morning, I went to the local authorized service provider. The time for my appointment arrives. They open my file. I have to tell my story again. (Why do they maintain a file if it can’t be seen by others inside the customer service organization, anyway?) The guy says “We can do that, but it will be $149 because our prices are — ” and I said I’ll just work with Apple instead then, thanks for your time.

So I call Apple Support again. I didn’t catch the name of the lady I spoke with on Tuesday, but she opened my file and I had to explain the whole story for a fourth time. Turns out Apple can’t do the mailing option in the way that was described to me in the Apple Store or by her counterpart at Apple Support. That’s if you’re under a warranty. I am not. The method she can offer me is for me to send mine in and they send it back. Well, that might fix only half of my problem. And why is it that every person in this take has a different solution? And why do I have to keep explaining this story to every level of the organization?

The lady on the phone asks if I’d like to talk to the senior supervisor. No, I said, but if you could give me a direct line to the Apple Store in Indianapolis that’d be great. I’ll just deal with them. I don’t want in the national system, I want the local store. She tries to forward me, but no one answers. OK, fine. I ask her if she could just give me that number. She can. I ask her if she can email that number, because I am walking across campus at this point and I don’t have a pen. She can’t email me the phone number.

You know what? I’d like to talk to the senior supervisor now. Without a fuss she says OK. And I’m put on hold until Wade comes on the phone. Wade has been briefed a bit. But I have to tell Wade the whole story again. (Why do they maintain a file if it can’t be seen by others inside the customer service organization, anyway?) Wade agrees this story is now ridiculous and should have been resolved.

So Wade gets me the direct Apple Store number, and after two tries, Amber answers. I explain the whole story one more time. She sends me to the repair shop in the back of the store, where I speak to someone who also wants to know the story, which is amazing because I’m bored with it myself now. This person orders my new iPad. So nonchalant was she that I spent most of this week wondering if they’d actually, you know, done anything.

Anyway, during Thursday’s tornado warning the Apple Store called. My iPad was in. They also sent two emails. And on Saturday we went back up there, the thing I was originally trying to avoid, for the second time in eight days, and did the swap. I made sure my machine was backed up. I met Randall, who was easily the least cheery person in this story, but maybe he was just having a long afternoon. Nevertheless, he got the new iPad, we restored my old device to it — like not missing a beat, after eight days of watching Apple miss beats all over the place — reformatted the old one and managed to not get emotional about handing it over. And it cost the $99, as I had been promised. (Take that, authorized service provider!)

Also on those two trips we stocked up at Trader Joe’s and failed at one other errand. On the second trip we saw Bohemian Rhapsody. On both days it was sunny and I was with The Yankee. Easily the best part of the deal.

Incidentally, my father-in-law bought a new iPad online Monday. It was delivered on Tuesday. The lesson? Buy new.


4
Feb 19

Twitter teases (I’m clever there, you should follow me)

Just some of the things you might have missed on Twitter this weekend:

Tossed biscuits taste better. Just saying.

Here’s another sports show my TV friends produced Thursday night:

There’s a story here:

I’ll tell you about it next week.

Just watch the video:

Saw this today. It made sense:

More on Twitter, and please check me out on Instagram as well.


28
Jan 19

But wait! It gets worse!

This was tonight:

And it wasn’t that bad, really. I’m running in tights and a t-shirt and over that there is a special lightweight running jacket. You wouldn’t think it would do much by appearances, but on the inside that jacket has some special material that basically turns you into a baked potato.

Once you get your heart rate up you’re basically running 20 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature anyway, so that’s about 38. And that jacket is good for another 15-25 degrees I figure. Look! I’m sweating there at the end of that brief little run.

Also, after a time, you don’t even notice the frozen fog anymore which is a concept as alien as an alien coming down to the planet’s surface, running a quick evening 5K with me and saying “This frozen fog isn’t noticeable like it is on Kerplax 7.”

Which is precisely the sort of thing the alien would say. Between deep gasps, because the oxygen content isn’t exactly perfect for him, and there’s some gravity issues relative to other planets this alien athlete is accustomed to. But he’d say that, maybe, and none of this would be nearly as weird as me thinking Huh. I didn’t even notice the frozen fog..

So the weather wasn’t that bad for an evening run, really. But it is going to get worse.

If you need me I’ll be on Kerplax 7.

More on Instagram and check me out on Twitter as well.


21
Jan 19

Traveling again

We’re traveling back into the barren and cold northlands today, after a fine weekend that was capped off by a fourth visit to Clary’s, a little time in the park, a massage and watching Savannah’s Martin Luther King Day parade. (It was two hours long and still going when we had to leave.)

It was a great visit to a lovely city that we enjoy a great deal. We discovered a fine little Mexican restaurant out of necessity today for our late lunch-on-the-go. Today’s Uber driver had just moved to the low country from the Smokies. She’s still getting used to the entirely different weather patterns, which is funny considering she’s only about 300 miles from home, but that’s an important 300 miles. That was a retirement 300 miles for her and her husband, she said. Our Uber driver on Thursday night had a similar story, but for a lifetime in the Navy and then retiring to coastal Georgia. Neither of them looked old enough to be even semi-retired. Maybe that’s the autobiographical aging process, or maybe its just the latitude.

Anyway, I mentioned Our Tree. Here it is now:

That’s The Yankee reading under Our Tree on Saturday. The weather was so perfect that day we spent most of the day in that spot. Coincidentally, that is about the same view I had in December of 2008 just before I proposed. We’d been sitting under that tree and I was waiting for The Sign. You know, the one you sometimes find yourself asking for. Eventually a leaf fell on me and I took that as the requested sign. My plan involved me leaving, so that I could come back. I excused myself to visit the restroom and, right about where I’m standing to take that photograph above, a man intercepted me and we started talking about families and marriage and biblical passages and I said, “OK, fine, that is my sign.”

So I went back to the tree, hung her engagement ring on some of the bark and called her over to scratch our initials into it. And there was her ring. She was there, I was there, it was Savannah, there was a ring and I didn’t even think up a speech. Which is odd, because this is me. I asked her if she would like to keep having adventures with me, and then another guy came up and “What’d she say? What’d she say?” as he offered to make us one of the little bamboo flowers they sell to tourists here.

I knew he’d want to be paid for that, and he should. It was ornate and involved and quite nice. We had eight dollars between us. He was disappointed, but gave us the flower and she finally said yes. Now here we are. I have at least nine dollars in my pocket today.

Anyway, we enjoyed our Saturday beneath Our Tree. It was bracketed by breakfast and a nice run, but that was pretty much the day, and it was perfect. That night we also went out for crabs on Tybee Island:

We also saw some birds:

And from the It’s Been Too Long Department, we saw Wendy!

Something like 17 years I’ve known her now. She’s even more wonderful today than she ever was.

Sunday the weather was a bit dank and I was tired and sore and still trying to overcome a few days of fun with my sinuses, so it was a low key thing. Today the parade, a spa trip and then the car ride to the airport. We made one other stop, but I’m saving those pictures for tomorrow. Be sure to stop by for those. It’ll be lovely.

More on Twitter and check me out on Instagram as well.


14
Jan 19

It snowed

At least it was on the weekend, making it the best kind of snow. We stocked up, hunkered down and got about four inches.

View this post on Instagram

A snowy Saturday.

A post shared by Kenny Smith (@kennydsmith) on

The roads got cleared, the sidewalks got warm and then it rained on Saturday night. It’s style around, and a little bit crunchy and icy, but pleasant enough. And this is why: It didn’t slow anything down, but also allowed us to slow down.

Only, she goes fast:

It was a brick workout. So she road her bike, indoors of course, and then had to head outside for a short run. It’s all about challenging different muscle groups in your legs. Me? I simply shot a few photos as she raced by.

Later, she made banana bread.

So the snow can’t be too bad, then.

We went out for a longer run yesterday afternoon. This was at the very beginning, still in the neighborhood, because running when the ponds are frozen seems like a sensible idea.

Somewhere along the way I started taking accidental photographs. This would have been before the “Why? This is cold.” And the “This hurts in more ways than one.” But it was well after the triumphant feel of running. It was a 10K, which leaves you just enough time to get in your head too much.

So I guess that’s my new art.

Here’s right at the end of my run. Most of the roads and sidewalks and roads I enjoyed were perfectly dry. But this was another new kind of thing.

I do not know what is happening.