Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, September 4, 2021

How U-Haul Cheated me out of my Lunch Money

 

Monday morning I was up before the sun made her royal entrance. That doesn’t happen often and I got to see her fingers of light as she poked them through the pine trees and touched a rabbit sleeping underneath. A series of rabbits has been giving birth in the same spot for over a decade, ever since I started having the landscaper use imported Western Pine needles there instead of regular mulch. They have good taste. That stuff costs double what common mulch costs and apparently it’s easy to burl down into to make a place safe from predators. Except for when Levi was alive. He’d barked his, “I see-eee you!” and they’d pretend to be made out of cement. They aren’t stupid, they knew he couldn’t escape his fence. If Levi had been a human boy he would have been riding the short bus because he never gave up on getting those rabbits to run.

I was up early to run errands and go to U-Haul to get some more packing boxes and what a crap-ass experience that turned out to be but not as crappy as a man who was working there was having. He installs trailer hitches and was dealing with a irate customer who was standing nearby yelling that she was on Yelp writing a bad review. He looks at me and starts in telling me that she showed up for her 9:00 appointment at 9:30 with a different year and model car than the one she told him she was bringing in and of course the hitch they ordered didn’t fit. She's calling him stupid and incompetent for not being able to make the one ordered work and he’s telling me, “It’s up the customer to know what kind of car they have. “You open the driver's door and read the tag! How hard is that?” he asked me but was clearing saying it for her benefit. They are both bickering and waiting for a return phone call to get an okay from the head U-Haul office to overnight him another hitch that will fit the car she brought in. In the meantime all the people who usually work the counter are missing in action and he’s having a second meltdown because he was all alone to man a counter that isn’t his responsibility.

Another customer walks in and takes one look at the situation, turns around and leaves which is what I should have done. But I really wanted those boxes. They were both getting themselves more and more worked up when I finally spoke, “This really is not worth either one of you having a stroke or heart attack over. Can you both just take a deep breath and try to calm down a little?” I’m lucky I don’t live in an open carry state because at that request I’m betting I would have had two hand guns pointed at me instead of each other. Oh, goody, I thought as they both gave me a long, blank stare, at least they’re agreeing on one thing. Without a word, she walks outside and lights a cigarette while he starts silently gathering up the boxes on my list.

Finally, a counter worker shows up, writes up my order and loads the boxes in my car…all in a pissy hurry while she and her co-worker are squabbling over responsibilities, the angry customer is still smoking on the other side of a plate glass window. I'm worried the metal edges on the wardrobe boxes are going to damage my backseat, so I'm getting annoyed that the clerk is taking her stress out on my car. It wasn’t until I was going over the receipt at the Guy Land Cafeteria that I noticed she charged me for three wardrobe boxes when I only got two. Those suckers cost $10.95. I thought about going back for my money. But the boxes totally blocked my back window view and to go back would have required a few lane changes where going home required none. The way my luck with U-Haul was going, I’d probably get in an accident on the way back causing bodies and cars to get wrecked and I didn’t have time for that. Decision time.

I finally decided that $10.95 doesn’t stand between me and starvation but if it ever comes down to that, I’ll be the homeless old woman who is cursing U-Haul as kind strangers drop coins in the cup at my feet. I never forget a debt and T.C. if you’re out there and find my blog, you still owe me $20 from the morning you borrowed it from me after what the kids these days are calling a “hook up.” I could re-frame that whole experience and say I once paid a gigolo $20 for sex. Does that sound any better? No? I didn't think so.

By the time I got to the Guy Land Cafeteria, in case you're wondering, all the old men morning coffee clutches were long gone and the working class men were filling up the place for lunch. But the gods of good-things-after-a-bad-morning gifted me with a whole table full of college guys on their way to school. And they sat at a table four foot across the aisle, perfect for eavesdropping. They talked about the classes they were taking and wondering who'd be living in their dorm and what the food on campus was like. You know, the same sorts of things I'm thinking about as my move gets closer. ©

34 comments:

  1. Aww, people are just so short tempered these days. You are right about open carry. That fact usually keeps me quiet. However, your speaking up at least gave them a common enemy.Think I should invest in ulcer med companies these days.
    Glad the college kids gave you an antidote for an ugly morning.

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    1. I was channeling my dad that day, always tried to be the peace maker to deescalate touchy situations. She was truly a bitch who couldn't seem to understand that not all cars and hitches are alike or interchangeable plus she was under the stress of moving and getting her schedule mucked up.

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  2. Your story of the U-haul worker and the customer reminds me of last night's conversation at dinner with friends. We all agreed that people seem increasingly short-tempered, and often over things that could either be worked out or that previously wouldn't have caused comment. I laughed at you chalking up the $10.95 to the cost of doing business, so to speak. Every now and then I do the same, especially when it's clear that the energy and time required to fix up the situation would be more than the cost of letting things lie.

    I laughed at your last comment about the college guys, too. You're right: your dorm rooms will look different, and the crowd around you won't be quite as young, but there are real similarities in the dynamics.

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    1. Another reason I didn't go back after lunch is that place was already too toxic for anyone's mental health that day and I didn't want to add to it. Two days later I needed more boxes but that's a small part of my next blog so stay tuned...

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  3. I laughed out loud about your "open carry" comment, and it takes a lot here in Texas these days to make me laugh. I think Texas has well earned the Taliban Texas moniker that trending Twitter comments are giving it.

    For whatever it's worth, I think you absolutely made the right decision not to go back into the store. I'm still laughing, thinking about that worker using you as the conduit to say what he was trying to explain to that woman.

    Thank you for injecting humor into my day. I needed it more than you can imagine as I face another day studying generators because Abbott has done nothing to improve the power grid that failed last winter. He's been too busy . . . and I can't think of a polite way to end that sentence.

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    1. Oh my gosh, Texas really did earn that Taliban Texas moniker after what they just did with women's reproductive rights. It also has flashes back to Nazi Germany with their rewards to turn in anyone who helps a woman get an abortion and charging people who do including an Uber driver who unknowing drives a woman to an airport. It's a living HANDMAIDEN TALE come to life. And other states are planning to pass the same laws.

      A power generator makes sense for you.

      I did make the right decision, they already had too much tonic energy going on for it to dissipate in an hour or two.

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    2. This whole thing in Texas about informing on neighbors (or anyone, really) is just a nightmare come true. I read this morning that a father and two of his friends showed up at an Arizona school with zip ties and threatened a "citizen's arrest" of the woman principal because she had informed the father that his son had been exposed to Covid and needed to stay home for a week. The Jan. 6 insurrection was only the beginning of "patriots" taking the law into their own hands.

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    3. Wow! I don't know what to say to that kind of blind ignorance.

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  4. That sounds like a horrible experience. Maybe YOU should write a review on YELP. And on their company website! Or send them a link to this post.

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    1. Honesty, it was the customer who was in the wrong and caused it all starting with not knowing the year and make of her car, then going postal on the guy.

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  5. It is a shame the high level of anger that exists these days. So many are on edge and ready for a fight. It saddens me that our country is so divided and so much hate is bubbling up everywhere. No more compromising or looking at both sides to find common ground. Just us against them mentality...

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    1. You are so right! And yet so many people don't seem to see that the division that's been boiling up over the past five years is doing so much damage to everyone's mental health.

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  6. Lordy lordy! People do seem more short tempered. How could "Karen" be mad at her own mistake? UGH! Drivers don't allow themselves enough time to get where they are going and are mad as hatters as they road rage around me. Now we have Moms asking to cut in line at Whole Foods because Johnny needs to be at __________ practice in 8 minutes. Not a polite society any more ....

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    1. Oh my gosh, she was exhibit A in how to be a Karen! She seemed to think that there was a one-fits-all trailer hitch and the make and year of her car shouldn't matter.

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  7. Love this post. We went back to UHaul several times while we were moving, both for boxes and to rent a van for a day. We didn't have that kind of fight going on (lucky you!), but I am convinced most people who come into UHaul are stressed. And I would gladly pay $10.95 to avoid it. LOL.

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    1. I thought the same thing about the stress people are under when they go to U-Haul.

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  8. What a crazy scene at U-Haul! Some days I wake up and wonder where in the heck did all the civilized folks go? Although I'm not out and about every day, my adult kids tell me about stuff at their workplaces and it's bona fide nuts! It feels like society in general is treading on thin ice. Have to hand it to you, Jean, it was courageous and decent of you to try to talk sense to the employee and customer. I would hope that I would have done the same, but I don't know. I'm more afraid than I used to be. I'm with you. I wouldn't have gone back there for $10.95 either. Sorry they ripped you off, tho!

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    1. I had to go back two days later for more boxes and did get a refund.

      That's probably the sixth time in my life I stepped into an extremely touchy situation to try to defuse it and I did it without even thinking about it before the words popped out of my mouth. One time two guys actually had their fists out to punch each other when I stepped in between them and they both backed down. I think sometimes people know they are out of control and just need an excuse to back down that allows them to safe face.

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  9. When packing to move we find thing we forgot we had................
    Some people always have to blame someone when things go wrong or don't turn out as expected..............not me, but some people, ok maybe me at times

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    1. What I'm finding is I keep needing things I already packed and thought I wouldn't need.

      You're right about some people wanting others to be responsible for their mistakes. If she had owned up to what happened there still would have been stress but it would have been a whole lot less stressful for everyone.

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  10. Wow, they are making a killing on those boxes. I've only been to U-Haul a couple of times and each time seemed to be a crazy mess and took forever to get anything done.

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    1. I've been there 5-6 times now---my car can only hold so much---and twice it was crazy in there. I tried going to Two Men and a Truck but they seem not to keep the hours listed on their door and website which was frustrating in a different way.

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  11. It seems to have been a week where everyone was getting all stressed out. The news I have to move certainly did me in - more later. I'll bet they'll do a credit for you if you call. The guy will certainly remember you as being cool headed.

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    1. I have net been watch much news lately but I have no doubt the turmoil going on in the world does filter on down to all of us. With the fires, floods and hurricanes it's bad enough then throw in the ending of our military "conflict" overseas, the pandemic and what is going on in Texas with woman's productive rights. There are plenty of reasons to keep us all stressed out.

      Sounds like your move was not something you planned on doing! Fingers crossed you find a new place you like.

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  12. I agree with Ellen, above. The level of anger and outright hostility that people display, even in situations for which they are clearly to blame, is frightening. It's selfishness of epic proportions. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only kind grownup left in the world. Obviously not, but...!

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    1. As hard as it is, we all have to make an extra effort to be kind and forgiving when we're out in public. People are too Stressed out and I for one don't want to add to the pool of negativity.

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  13. Wow that is something my hubby would do. Good for you Jean! You are nicer than me. I wouldn't have eaten that $20 I'd have gone back and asked for a 3rd box or a refund

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    1. I did go back two days later for more boxes. My Wednesday blog will explain more....

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  14. I don't blame you for not going back for the $10.95, Jean. I would have done the same. Save it for another time when hopefully cooler heads will prevail (and be on site to serve you).

    Deb

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  15. What a great "slice of life" post! I loved being "with" you on this most mundane, and most unique of excursions. Everything is seen through subjective eyes and I love looking with your through yours. Thanks.

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    1. That's the fun of the blog community, isn't it. We get to see each other's thought processes as we navigate threw everyday situations.

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  16. I gave Kiel at U-Haul and all his Crew Liqueur Candy I got hooked up with from the Guy at Total Wine I was Scoring Boxes from when he was told to dump filled heavy Boxes of Liqueur Premium Gifts in the Dumpster and I relieved him of that responsibility by saying I needed those Boxes so don't bother dumping them just put them in the Truck Bed. Liquor really worked wonders for the hook up I then got at the U-Haul, they Loved me, I bet they still miss me? *winks* Sorry to hear your U-Haul Experience was a shitshow, perhaps you should have brought Booze too and passed it around to take the Edge off and make it more like a Partay? *winks* Had to laugh at your last Sentence, how True that is... we're entering our 2nd Childhood no doubt.

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    1. I remember well those liqueur candy bribes your found. LOL

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