Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I've been window shopping. That's right, I need to replace the windows. A week ago Thursday, I stopped at four businesses that advertise window replacements. All four made appointments. I told all four that I would be looking at other vendors.

The first salesman came out the next day as arranged. He did the whole pitch: showed me samples and a short video about the company. (What did we ever do without laptop computers?) He did a rough measurement of the windows and we discussed possible replacement options. We even talked about the feasibility of a through-the-patio-door dog flap for Speedy. He gave me a rough estimate and said he would get back to me in two weeks with a fine-tuned estimate.

The second guy was to come out Wednesday, but he called to postpone the meeting as he would be out of town until late Thursday evening. He wanted to come Friday afternoon, but that was when the fourth guy was to come out. How about later Friday, second asked? OK, I said. Then the first guy calls and says he will be at the State Fair on the day he had set up to return; could I work him in sooner? Sure, come on Saturday, I said.

So the third guy calls and cancels Tuesday with a promise to get to me Saturday morning. The fourth guy doesn't show on Friday afternoon - no call, no explanation. I call the second guy after waiting a half hour and asked if he'd like to come out a little sooner. Which he did with alacrity. He measured the windows and showed me samples. He even had a solution to the dog flap problem. He asked about the others. I explained about the rearrange schedules. He said, they're just trying to be the last one you look at so you'll be more likely to buy their product. Like he wanted to do, I guess. I said, I'll call Monday whether or not I choose your product.

The third guy came out Saturday really early, did the measurements, gave me a price. I rejected his proposal on the spot, because I thought his price was too high for his product. He also wanted to sell me more than I wanted, so his company is out of the running.

The first guy came back and said, we can do the dog flap, but I really don't recommend it because the materials aren't the same composite as our regular windows and will not have the same warrenty as either the less expensive sliding glass door or our top of the line swing doors. Plus, there's the problem of the screen door needing a flap as well. As I'd already figured that one out, I said write me up the final estimate. His configuration will cost about a fourth more than number two's. Still I like the first company's materials- also, the willingness to work with me on configuration and to listen to what I say. So I've signed with company one, Southerd's, who have been doing business in the area for about sixty years.

Tuesday number two called. (I had forgotten I meant to call him Monday) I declined his offer. You went with the last guy to present, he accused. I told him that it wasn't a matter of timing, nor of cost, but that I was sold on his competitor's materials. I said I was especially impressed by the minimal expansion/contraction rate of the composite that makes up the frames.

"That's just silly," he said.

Take a moment to think on this. I've told this guy I work in engineering - with composites. I've mentioned that my Dad was an award-winning window and door salesman (among other things for a lumber warehouse) for most of his working life, giving me the opportunity to pick up a thing or two about construction. I've asked what I thought were pertinent questions when the sales guy didn't offer the information on his own. So when I explain why I'm turning down his offer, he basically tells me that I'm stupid. I had to take a deep breath at that point.

"Nevertheless, I'm going with your competitor. Thank you for your time." [click]

He was lucky. That was the second time I didn't go postal on Tuesday.

The word of the day for September 16, 2009 is "salesman" Pronunciation: \'sālz-mən\
Function: noun
Date: 1523
: one who sells in a given territory, in a store, or by

Our quote is from Sinclair Lewis (1885–1951). Babbitt. 1922:
The service of the Lord had been more profitable. He was about to retire with a fortune. It had been well earned, for, to quote his last report, “Rev. Mr. Monday, the Prophet with a Punch, has shown that he is the world’s greatest salesman of salvation, and that by efficient organization the overhead of spiritual regeneration may be kept down to an unprecedented rock-bottom basis. He has converted over two hundred thousand lost and priceless souls at an average cost of less than ten dollars a head.”


Friday, September 4, 2009



First, I would like to thank those of you who have been kind enough to enquire about me and mine. Lloyd is back in the hospital (after a couple of months in the care home) for refusing to eat and take his meds as well as threatening the staff. I have a feeling that this will be a cycle for the foreseeable future.

Speedy has finished his Advanced Obedience Class. He passed his Canine Good Citizen certification test (by the skin of his teeth. He has a spring under his tail that bounces his hind end up immediately after he completes his "SIT".) I need to send off for the certificate and tag.

Meanwhile, I have been attempting to (re)build a normal life. I've been attempting to sort out thirty years of accumulated stuff with the intention of not having to do thirty-five years worth when I get ready to retire. I also have attended church, joined a book discussion group at the library, did the Summer Reading Challenge on Goodreads and looked up some friends of long-standing.

The weekend of August 16th, my sister and I drove up to Minneapolis to see my high school friend, Doc Anne. (We had lost touch with one another shortly after graduation, and only found one another again through the sad event of her brother's death.)

We had a great visit. We chatted as though we had only been separated a few weeks. Although I had never met Dan, her husband, he seemed so familiar that we must have been good friends in a former life. As I had never been in Minnesota, they took me on a tour of Minneapolis featuring the park around the stone-arched railway trestle across the Mississippi River and the sculpture garden. My sister decided to spend the day resting in the motel room, but joined us for supper.

On the way home we stopped at our home town: my sister had lunch with her mother-in-law and I lunched with another friend, Alice, whom I have seen infrequently since school days. She's working at the newspaper now. She has a son, who is married now and living out of state.

I drove past the house that I still think of as my Dad's. There's a For Sale sign in the yard. No, I'm not even thinking of buying: I'm in the process of renovating Lloyd's and my house. The current owner probably should tear the house down and make the property into a parking lot.

The word of the day for September 4, 2009 is "travel" — Pronunciation: \'tra-vəl\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): trav·eled or trav·elled; trav·el·ing or trav·el·ling \'tra-və-liŋ, 'trav-liŋ\
Etymology: Middle English travailen, travelen to torment, labor, strive, journey, from Anglo-French travailler
Date: 14th century
transitive verb 1 a : to journey through or over. b : to follow (a course or path) as if by
traveling. 2 : to traverse (a specified distance). 3 : to cover (an area) as a commercial traveler

Our quote for the day is from Francis Bacon (1561–1626), Of Travel:

Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience. He that travelleth into a country before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel.