Friday, November 28, 2014

Full not Dull Friday

Today, with Jenna's help, the house will transform into a Christmas theme.  Ellen and Martha will likely pitch in but Jenna is the source of the energy (and significant energy is needed based on the volume of trees). Carols will fill the air as we assemble the trees, string the lights, and hang the ornaments.   It is always worth the effort it to get everyone in the Christmas mood. 

The evening event will likely be some viewings of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit as Susan eagerly anticipates the final movie that opens December 17.  Because each of the six movies opened in December, the season melds with a Tolkien mood also.

This time of year reminds us all of family traditions - activities, meals, visual reminders, even stories of holiday's past that are consistent year after year.  A way to ground us and surround us with the comfort of consistency. Full not Dull!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Billing Honor & Minutia

It's been a long time since one of my boring blogs on technology, customer service and billing - but here goes:

Of course, everyone knows (because I verbally tell the story to everyone that will listen) how much I despise Time Warner and their contractual shenanigans.  That is why, I patiently waited and struggled with Cincinnati Bell on DSL with bundled Direct TV .  Well ---- back in September I was able to sign up for a Fioptics bundle (Phone, Internet, and TV) with Cincinnati Bell.

The story of getting the  Cincinnati billing correct is long ... longer .... and even longest of my stories of dealing with technology providers.  Getting the bill to equal the promotional pricing is an exercise in detail auditing. The story ends well (however there is one last credit I will have to verify next month.

The good news is that Cincinnati Bell has consistently met my expectations (even if it requires a large investment of my time with a rep on the phone).  My bundle is $145.37 per month before fees and taxes.  Naturally those add up to nearly $13.75 (another 9.4%) that are the first "got cha".  But then.....  the fine print in this month's billing  (and I mean really fine print) was the price increases effective 12/15/14  -  $1.99 for Home Pak Lite and $3.00 for Fioptics Internet.  But there was hope - "Your promotional and contractual rate will apply until the expiration date. 

Wow - maybe Cincinnati Bell is different from Time Warner in honoring their negotiated deal.  Sure enough,  Michelle the Cincinnati Bell rep verified that my contractual rate was valid until Sept. 2016!

Now there are other details I could quibble with about Cincinnati Bell's customer service stumbles.  But in the end..... and that's what counts - they honored the expectation I had.

However - it requires extreme attention to billing minutia. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Winsome Bridge

Susan summarized Rick Warren's speech at Humanum Conference (Nov. 17-19 an ecumenical conference on Marriage, Culture and Civil Society) to our Sunday evening share group.  I decided to watch the entire 40 minutes this morning and you can see why he has had such a big impact - this generation's Billy Graham. 

Rick talks about being winsome......   What?  Never heard that word. 

Winsome - generally pleasing and engaging often because of a childlike charm and innocence <  a winsome smile  >  

Fast forward if to 22:27 (Twenty Two Minutes into the speech). "We must face attackers with joy and winsomeness". WOW -  that is quite the weapon.  A smile.   He follows that up with the quote: "You are never persuasive when you are abrasive ....  Are you more interested in making a point or a friend".

So start today - Build a Winsome Bridge with your smile!


Friday, November 14, 2014

Strength in Weakness

S.M. gave a heart filled presentation on his personal history at our Vistage meeting.  The testimonial of some of his weaknesses showed how his character turned that same perceived weakness into a strength.  I remember G.G.'s (Accenture Chicago Partner) comment to me about the cruelty of kids when they see something they can use to taunt you into feeling different or weak.  This is especially true of minorities whose physical differences can not be hidden. But even without an easy target to use, kids will find something - height, intellect, glasses, attire as the means to get under your skin.

We all know what "buttons" of vulnerability we have (and some are self inflicted).  However,  how we respond to this vulnerability (e.g. fear) is what will determine our ability to cope.  Self esteem (not pride) is an important emotion to build.  

Acknowledging a weakness is a strength and the first step in building a foundation of self esteem.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

First Frost

Saturday Morning (a late blog post 11/1/14) was the first frost and  there were snow flurries in the air.  I consider the transition from fall to winter as the most beautiful time of year.  Today's Bing theme picture is from Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest - Beaver Meadow that demonstrates the beauty. 
Green Mountain National Forest - Beaver Meadow  Vermont
The Indian Hill Green Belt behind my house gives me that same feeling as I wake up in our new Master Bedroom (the renovation is almost complete). 
No human can paint a picture like this - year after year.  Proving the non-existence of God is impossible when you  see scenes like this.