Thursday, January 10, 2008

One of Those Days

Do you even have a day when things just seem to keep going wrong? That was yesterday for me. I swear I haven't seen the sun since our return and that hasn't helped my mood either. Good news is that the sun has made an appearance today. The picture above is of me when I was about 4 or 5 and kinda says it all.

DO NOT hit the red button! This is our doorbell which plays a little song when someone wants to enter the apartment building or is outside your apartment door. I press a button which opens the door to the building. Then when they are at my apartment, they ring the doorbell and I proceed to the door to let them it. It's great for when the church ladies visit (and yes, they still do) because I can see who they are and not answer the door.

Yesterday was the first day of the new cleaning lady that Curt (hubby) let me hire. She spends 4 hours cleaning for 30,000 WON which is about $30.00. She will be coming every Wednesday. She rang the apartment so I would let her into the building. I haven't had to do this for so long that I panicked and hit all the buttons INCLUDING the red one. The red button is the "EMERGENCY ONLY" button and it started screaming like a siren along with some Korean dialog. I just kept pushing buttons as I called Helena in a panic. By then, the cleaning lady was at the door and so I gave the phone to her to talk to Helena. As they were trying to figure out how to turn it off, someone punded on my front door. I opened it to find a security guard ready to do battle. We have security guards at the two entrances to our apartment complex and I recognize all of them now and he wasn't one of them.

As he came in, I ran and grabbed the cleaning lady who graciously explained to him what had happened. The security guard looked relieved and then proceeded to open this hidden panel which housed a bunch more buttons. He proceeded to press one of these buttons and the alarm ceased. He then showed me several times which button to press. Yeah, I know I'm an idiot. I was so embarrassed that this had happened and in front of my new cleaning lady. She was a really good sport about it.

I didn't know what to expect in a Korean cleaning lady. I was surprised at how dressed up she was and with only her purse. I think the cleaning services back in the States come with their own supplies. She put on an apron and I showed her where I stored all my cleaning supplies but she ended up not using them as far as I know. She did a great job and it is so nice to have someone to clean our apartment which will give me more time to craft. This episode wasn't the first time I've been embarrassed in Korea and I know it won't be the last.

The second thing that led to my funky mood has to do with our newspaper delivery back in the States. We were only getting the newspaper on the weekend and I called to cancel shortly before we moved. Their invoices state that you must call to cancel. I wrote down on the latest bill that I had called and cancelled and filed the bill away. I remember the conversation with the newspaper because she asked questions like why were we cancelling, were we unhappy with the paper... I told her about our move to Korea.

I didn't give it another thought until a few months later when my son mentioned that the newspaper was still being delivered. I figured that it must be some kind of mistake because it had happened before that I put a stop on the newspaper, due to vacation, only to come home to find that it hadn't been stopped. I had a lot on my plate with the move and adjusting to life in Korea that I didn't follow up on it. Until I received a past due bill in November! We had moved July 1st! I called and was told that I had not cancelled and their policy is to continue to deliver even though the bill has not been paid for an additional three months. She had no record of me calling and basically said that I owed the $32.33. Now, that isn't a huge sum of money but it is to me when I did call and cancel. I told her that we had been getting the Minneapolis Star Tribune for 25 years and would have upon our return from Korea but if they were really going to insist I pay that I would NEVER subscribe to their paper again. She still didn't care and said she would make a note that I was refusing to pay.

We received another notice in December stating that they were turning us over to a collections agency so I called again. They didn't care and insisted I owed the balance. By now, Curt (hubby) is thoroughly mad at me for just not paying it. But it was the principle of the whole thing. They require a phone call to cancel, yet how can you prove you called? If you write "please cancel" on an invoice which I've done with other services, you have a written record. So I was fighting for the little guy! How many times has this happen?!

I did call our telephone company because I know I called from our home phone and not a cellphone. That was a mistake because with my cellphone, I get a record every month of every phone call and it would be easy to prove that I had called them. The telephone company said they did have my records but I would have to pay $300.00 to get them. Can you believe it?

Curt arrived home Tuesday and wasn't in too good a mood. The Star Tribune had turned us over to a collections agency which sent us a letter . So I give up, Star Tribune wins and I'll pay the dang $32.33. But they've lost my business and my respect.


Helena said...

Aww, man, that stinks. :(

I've read other comments about Korean cleaning ladies not bringing their own supplies. That seems so weird to me.

Becky said...

Helena: It was really weird because most of my supplies are American so she wouldn't have know what to do with them anyway.

CreekHiker said...

Becky, is that kid really you???

So what did she clean with if she didn't use your stuff?

Becky said...

Holly: look at that mouth. How could you even wonder? I don't know what she used, I managed to be in another room. Maybe, the Korean way is to use nothing. It would be a lot healthier than all the chemicals I use.

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