February 8th, 2017

#5446: Yakisoba, for the first time in YEARS

The other night, I made yakisoba. I didn't use my regular recipe, and I didn't marinate the meat, but the details are unimportant. I got to have yakisoba!

Mrs. Fungus does not like yakisoba. There's something about the flavor she doesn't like. Hoping she'd like this version, I made it without chinese vegetables, without marinating the meat, and using a completely different sauce.

She didn't like it.

She likes the yaki udon that they make at hibachi places. She likes mai fun, a Chinese fried noodle dish. My yakisoba, no. *sigh*

Anyway, I made a wok full of it, and ate it all in three sittings. Could be worse.

* * *

Mrs. Fungus had a sleep test last night. I took her over to the clinic and dropped her off at 9; I was there at 5:30 AM to pick her up. On my way there, it started to snow. I got there at 5:30 on the dot, waited a few minutes, and then we went home.

No salt, no plows, the roads coming back were slippery. A quarter-inch of snow, maybe. WTF.

Now I sit at the computer writing this and looking out the window at falling snow. We're not supposed to get more than an inch, so I'm not worried about it, and it's nice to see. It's been a gloomy, dank year so far, with only a few days' worth of sun, and mostly it's rained or drizzled. A little snow is a nice change of pace.

* * *

Overheard: apparently the Chicago socialized education system has been "hit with a spending freeze". You know what that means, don't you? It's left-ese for "we're not allowed to increase the budget". (I haven't bothered to research the story at all, but dollars to donuts I'm right.)

Illinois is broke, Chicago is broke, the Chicago socialized education system is broke--none of these entities has any friggin' money so they for damned sure ought to stop finding new ways to spend it. Of course, because Illinois is run by Democrats (Motto: "The taxpayers will just have to pay it!") little inconveniences like having no money whatsoever is never a deterrent or an impediment to budget increases.

But none of the budget discussions in Illinois is about how Illinois can live within its means. The budget discussions are about how the Illinois politicians can sell tax increases without getting their fat asses de-elected. (Or lynched.)

Recently I saw an animated map showing which states in the US had net gains or losses of population over the years. Illinois has been a net loser every year out of the last two decades. Because this state is a shithole.

And, as the newsreader breathlessly intones, "See what it means for students." What it means, in the grand scheme of thing, is "damned little", considering how much of that budget gets spent on administrator salaries and union thugs. Except, of course, the executives and union thugs get their cut of the budget first, before anything else. Favorite government tactic: purposely defund things and spend the money elsewhere, then complain that they don't have enough money for everything. "We know we need new chairs, as some students must sit on the floor, but we just don't have enough money." Maybe you would if you hadn't just redone all the high-level executive offices in mahogany and walnut, shithead. (Or whatever the current excess is.)

* * *

So much for "searing black calm". "Searing" and "calm", yes, but it looks like there's plenty of light on the surface of Venus. (Yes, I know that photograph is decades old.)

I keep thinking that a big sunshade between Venus and the Sun, left for a decade or two, would result in most of Venus' atmosphere ending up raining out, and we'd abruptly end up with a reasonably temperate planet with (admittedly) toxic waste oceans and a reasonable (also toxic) atmosphere. I've written a lot about terraforming Venus before; no need to recount a tale already plainly told.

* * *

New bed being delivered. Got to go.

#5447: Well, that was about the worst customer service experience we've ever had.

Protip: never buy anything from Sears ever again.

Mrs. Fungus and I have needed a new bed for a couple of years. It wasn't just that we've worn the old one out (heh) but that we wanted a king size, rather than a queen, for the extra room. The discovery that the old mattress was causing hip problems for her and shoulder problems for me was a factor, too.

So, she researched new mattresses, and we found ourselves at Sears last week, laying on various mattresses and trying them out. We made a selection, getting what seemed like a screaming good deal on it, allowing us to buy a mattress which would otherwise have been very, very far out of our price range.

Today was delivery day. In anticipation, I cleaned our bedroom and moved a bunch of stuff out of the way so the delivery guys would be able to bring in and set up the bed without any impediments. Got the call around 12:30 that they'd be here in twenty minutes. Mrs. Fungus was excited; I was phlegmatic as usual.

They get here, and the senior guy says, "We've only got one box spring. Only one was ordered." He added that he'd questioned the order: a brand new king-size bed with foundation for same, but only one twin box spring? But the warehouse folks had brushed it off, that was what was ordered, blah blah blah, etcetera.

King size bed, it takes two twin-sized box springs. Mrs. Fungus--reading the receipt at the time of purchase--thought that "quantity one" meant "one set", not "one box spring". The girl who'd taken our order had screwed up.

The junior member of the delivery team offered to sell us a set of twin box springs he had in his storage unit. Mrs. Fungus called the person who sold us the bed--the number on her business card--and got a call center. Not even the Sears store in question, but a friggin' call center. She handed the phone off to me when the senior delivery guy called his support team and let her talk to them.

Short form: they could take the bed back and deliver it another day, or we could take delivery of the incomplete order. Mrs. Fungus talked to one person, then called the call center again and talked to them, and was assured--in both cases!--that we could go to a Sears store and get the missing box spring set without any trouble, as the "local stores" had "lots" of them. That led us to decide to accept delivery and go get the missing piece, even though it was enormously inconvenient for us.

It was a 40-minute drive to the Sears store. Mrs. Fungus fumed all the way there.

Imagine our delight when we got to the local store and were told that no, they do not stock any mattresses at all, or box springs. Mrs. Fungus demanded to speak to a manager; the hapless guy in the mattress department called for one three times, and then was paged to call an extension. Gist of that conversation: "Why are you calling three times for a manager?" A manager eventually showed up.

What a piece of work he was. He didn't seem very apologetic, and seemed excellent at coming up with reasons why they couldn't possibly do anything today but tomorrow or in a few days or-or-or....

The other day I said I reminded Mrs. Fungus that the woman makes the sandwiches, but then added that I'm not a fool and made her sandwich for her. You do not want her to get mad at you. She's probably the sweetest person on the planet but when that temper gets triggered--

When the smoke cleared, we were getting a floor display box spring gratis. We just needed something to protect it from the elements on the trip home, because it was snowing and crappy outside; of course they didn't have anything to wrap the box spring in, so I said we'd go down the street to Lowe's to get some plastic sheeting and wrap it in that. Agreed on a solution, we went down the street to Lowe's and bought the sheeting...and came back to an utterly empty mattress department. Where we proceeded to wait long after asking someone from another department to summon aid for us.

Mrs. Fungus loudly advised people browsing the beds not to buy a bed there.

Finally, the second floor person whom we'd asked for help in locating the sales guy and/or the manager we'd talked to came back and said gingerly that the manager in question had gone home due to "illness"...and Mrs. Fungus just exploded.

I don't blame her. It was the last straw. Considering how much money we'd spent on the bed, only to have the order screwed up, and then being given blatantly wrong information from two call center reps--and now here we were without a bed to sleep in, because we'd paid them to haul away the old one...and the manager who'd helped us just sneaked out of the store as soon as we left to get supplies the store itself should have had on hand.

It was an epic meltdown. And again, I don't blame her. I was a few steps behind her, ready to blow up myself. Perhaps if I'd been the one who did the sleep test last night--

So, the store's main manager ended up coming down to talk to us. Mrs. Fungus was still melting down so I started explaining what had happened, starting to get wound up myself; Mrs. Fungus is more clear-headed than I am and corrected me on a point, took over the narrative, and laid it all out. The manager straightened it out, such that we left with the box spring in question, free of charge, and there was a refund issued for something-or-other that I didn't pay attention to because I was still pretty angry myself.

Box spring wrapped in plastic, strapped to top of Jeep, home safe, in place. Bed assembled and ready for slumber. Dinner, a little TV, then a few hours' nap.

The thing is, no Sears employee, anywhere along the line, did anything to ensure the order was correct, and when the delivery guy raised an objection--said delivery guy not being a Sears employee, but the employee of a contractor!--another Sears employee told him just to take the delivery.

If the call center people had simply given us correct information, we could have rescheduled the bed delivery, inconvenient as that would have been (as our "weekends" are booked solid until mid-March). But the feckless, "Oh, no problem at all!" led us into taking the alternate decision.

The delivery team--they told us they couldn't take the old foundation (why not?) and left it in our bathroom without letting us know. They seemed like they were in an awful hurry to get out of here, too. I get that they've got a schedule, but for crying out loud-- And when my wife insisted that they bring the mattress insidem out of the snow, "Oh, it's wrapped in plastic!" Rude.

Mrs. Fungus and I had both been convinced that--by going to Sears instead of a mattress hut--we were going to get what we ordered for the price we'd paid in-store, and there wasn't going to be any trouble about it. I mean, this is what Sears does, you know? They built their entire business on people ordering things and having them delivered! We figured it would lead to better quality of service. Boy, were we wrong!

Epic fail, Sears. We hope that you use the money you got from us wisely, because it's the last money you'll get from us.