29 June, 2006

What I do at work

Part of my role, at the moment, is to take telephone line fault reports from our customers. We then report them on to the wholesaler (this company owns the telephone network in Australia), the wholesaler (lets call them T) then send their techs out to investigate and fix the fault.

So, in the interests of making my job easier and to avoid wasting your time on the call, here's a few tips on what to do if you have a problem with your phone line. Let's take the example of no dial tone or some noise on the line to start with (they do seem to be most common complaints).

First things first - unplug everything from the phone line (yes from every single socket). Then plug a telephone handset into each wall socket and test. Ideally, you would then test a second telephone handset in each socket. This way you can test each socket individually for problems and also ensure it's not the one of the handsets that's causing the problem. The reasoning behind this is that T may charge for a tech visit IF the problem is caused by your phones or equipment (ie: if the fault is not with their lines/sockets).

It's better to test with corded phones rather than cordless, but that can be harder (cordless phones are so popular these days). Ask around though, often people will have a corded phone tucked away in a cupboard, that you might be able to borrow (don't buy until you know for sure it's your phone that's the problem though - waste of money, unless you wanted to buy a new phone anyway).

So, if you've found the problem is still happening even after trying two different handsets in all sockets, then leave one (preferably corded) handset plugged into one socket only and call your telephone provider to report it. If you're calling from your mobile, then it's a good idea to make sure you know what your mobile number actually is. You wouldn't believe how many people don't know their own numbers!

Now here's the important part - please don't get upset that a tech is not immediately dispatched to look at your problem. I know that you depend on the phone (whether that's due to running a business/need the internet to complete schoolwork/urgently need to do your internet or phone banking/you're expecting an important call) but the thing is, T gives us the *first available* timeslot. The TIO in Australia gives T a certain time period to fix problems - and in most cases that time frame is met. Yes, it may cause you problems, but unfortunately we don't have anyway of bumping you up that list. We know it's inconvenient and you're not happy about it but please understand we're getting this done for you as soon as possible - it's not in our best interests to mess you around. In other words please don't yell at us, honestly these time frames are out of our control.

Oh and please don't call up about a fault (that you've had for several days), the afternoon before a long weekend and then get upset about a tech not being booked to visit until the next week. Yes, I did have this exact situation - just before Easter in fact, so it was an extra long weekend.

There's lots more to this job, but the above covers a fair chunk. Hopefully you might find it helpful!

Disclaimer here: I'm in Australia and I've no idea if the same tips would be applicable in other countries. I would presume they might but I'm not familiar with the systems over there (whereever there is!).

27 June, 2006

So sad

This story is just horrible. I really feel for the poor family. I hope they lock the bastard up for as long as possible.

Chickie's not of an age where he can visit a public restroom by himself, thank goodness, but the situation will come up eventually. Female friends have said they take their boys into the ladies with them but get dirty looks about it. What can you do??

One had a suggestion to just have unisex bathrooms. I think a larger version of family restrooms would be a good idea. One really good parent's room I've seen had a large communal room with couches and tv - comfy to feed your baby when they get to the distractable stage and you need just a bit of quiet to get them to eat. Off to the side they had several baby change tables and a few private rooms, in case you didn't feel comfortable breastfeeding in public. Then connected through a doorway was a unisex bathroom - even had a couple of mini-toilets for toddlers.

Some friends have told me that they shop at that particular centre, over another, just because of the facilities. More of those types of facilities (not necessarily to that scale though) would be welcomed by quite a few parents/families, I should imagine. I know some people use the disabled toilets so they can take their (opposite sex) child to the toilet in relative safety, but feel guilty about it.

So do you have a suggestion?

Short but sweet

Got a 3.5% raise at work - woohoo!

24 June, 2006

Saw my usual doc today

And she doesn't think the problem with my knee is psoriatic arthropathy. She didn't say what she thought it was either, mind you. She wants me to start tapering off the anti-inflamatories (Feldene-d) and see what happens. If it flares up again, she'll send me off for an x-ray.

Doncha wish doctors just had some sort of Star Trek like tricorder that they could wave over you and say 'it's such and such' - then give you the treatment and it'd be all done with?

My knee does feel a bit funny tonight - sort of tingly. It has to be all in my mind though, since I took my usual dose of the Feldene this morning (she's said to start skipping the nightly dose starting today). Hopefully I cut down to no medication and it's all back to normal. Just one of those odd things that won't happen again and will remain unexplained.

Saw Chickie's E.N.T. yesterday. Apparently Chickie's ears responded very well to the drops he's had for the last few weeks. He's thinking now that grommets (and/or tonsillectomy) might not be required, so he wants to wait a few months and see him again in October.

I also treated myself to a movie today. I went and saw Click with Adam Sandler. I liked it. It's a typical Adam Sandler movie so if you like his style, go see it.

22 June, 2006

Other people's blogs.

It's funny how you can read someone's blog, on an almost daily basis, for a while and then think of them as sort of a friend. These people wouldn't know me from a bar of soap really - even the ones I comment on occasionally. And yet, if they post something not so positive, and then don't post for a while, I find myself concerned for them.

Take Magwitch's now defunct blog. At least there was a proper goodbye post. I still wonder what's happening with him though. Namaste took hers down altogether and I haven't heard anything about a new one at all. Bill Sticker appears to have taken a short break too. Since his last post sounded like he was fed up (and he hasn't posted in a week), I wonder how he's doing. It's odd - feeling concerned about essentially a stranger but I don't feel I can just email and say 'You doing OK?'

Is this a phenomenon exclusive to blogging? Perhaps. I used to be right into usenet. I'd hang out in a few newsgroups and felt like I really got to know a lot of people. These groups were my internet 'home'. It was more interactive though and I think I'd feel a lot more comfy emailing someone to ask if they're ok.

Blogging is more solitary - but a public sort of solitary. Thinking about it, I realise this is something that is me all over. I used to be a radio announcer - but I freak out about speaking in public. To me, radio was a great way to release the inner exhibitionist, but without the freakout factor of actually seeing an audience. Blogging's the same - I get to express myself, without really knowing who's reading and whether they're laughing at me.

Getting back to people taking a mini break from blogging. If they're feeling fed up, depressed or whatever, I can understand it. It's the reason usenet doesn't really feel like home anymore for me. After being diagnosed with diabetes, last year, I didn't feel too cheerful and just didn't feel like I had it in me to interact in that way. Blogging's filled a need - I guess you could say I've moved house.

And now I'm concerned about the neighbours... hehehe

20 June, 2006

Update on the cold for today

Voice was worse. Started feeling like crap overnight.

Took the day off work and slept most of the day.

No phones, no talking to grumpy people (yay!)

19 June, 2006

Thank goodness for small mercies

I have a cold.

It's not too bad, as colds go, but my voice is giving out. Now I work in a call centre so I'm on the phones all day. Talking... all day.

So why is this a good thing? Well, we have other things besides being on the phones all day and because my voice is going, I got to log out and do them for most of the day.

I did have to speak to one absolute and utter bitch today* (gahdz she pissed me off!), but by the sounds of it I missed out on speaking to several other very annoying people. I think today should be renamed Moron-day instead of Monday!

Heh, I'm hoping my voice is just as bad tomorrow...

*Oh and if you're wondering why that woman was a bitch - well basically she wanted a tech out to check a cable (which was part of her own personal equipment, not something covered as part of her line rental) and she thought we were rorting her when we said there may be a charge for a tech to visit (there's no charge if the problem is what's covered by the rental).

Then she wanted to take the cable to the local tech workshop. As far as I'm aware the wholesaler, the company goes through, doesn't have any customer facing workshops. She wouldn't believe me though.

She was so very nasty about it all and eventually hung up on me (hehe I had no problem with that!)

16 June, 2006

Tipping confuses me

I read this over on Waiter Rant about tips. It's a post about an article that gives guidelines for who you tip and how much is expected (this is in the United States by the way).

Now keep in mind I'm in Australia. We don't do tips as a rule. You may find people tipping in the high-end restaurants or hotels, but I doubt that most people in everyday Australia would be familiar with the practice.

Reading that article, I realise that I find the whole idea of tipping a bit bizarre and kind of confusing. As far as I can tell, some employers pay their staff less than minimum wage and the staff then depend on tips to be able to eat and pay their rent. It seems crazy to me. How are employers allowed to get away with paying these pittances? Are there no protests?

The comments are interesting to read. Some are saying 'if you don't like it, don't come to the U.S.' and I have to be honest - this practice is one reason I would hesitate to visit. I would hate to make a faux pas, because I'm not used to the whole thing, and have it mean the person has to go short that week.

In any case, the next trip I'm planning is for New Zealand. I've always wanted to visit, plus I'd love to do the corny stuff and do some sort of Lord of the Rings tour. Don't know when we'll do that - perhaps next year or the year after. I'd love to visit Japan again as well. I loved it, and J and Chickie haven't been.

13 June, 2006

Like I'm not already sick of seeing the doctor.

My left knee has been bothering me for the last week and a half. I don't recall injuring it, I thought perhaps I'd gone a bit too hard on the bike and strained something. It's been making me limp and has been quite uncomfortable, then last night I stepped on it wrong and it was very painful. I couldn't put any weight on it at all.

So, today I went to the doctor (not my usual one). He's said there's a lot of fluid on both my knees (my right knee seems fine though) and he's leaning towards either psoriatic arthropathy or arthritis. Great...

What this means is my usual doc will need to do more blood tests and I'll probably need to see specialists (rheumatologists etc). As it is, I've been lazy about seeing a podiatrist and dietician as part of my diabetes regimen. Oh well, I'd better organise things sooner rather than later and find out exactly what it is.

I'm not sure I want either, mind you. I think I'd much rather a sprain, thanks all the same.

12 June, 2006

A couple of good things in my life

1. The company I work for has announced there will be a bonus - smaller than usual but still a tidy sum. Big smiles here.

2. Two people this week have commented that the weight is just 'falling off' me. I've lost 11 kgs in the last 10 months and, to me, it's been a long hard slog. I'm pleased it's becoming noticeable. Only 7 kg to go, until I'm within the healthy weight for height range.

3. The new series of Dr Who will be back on telly soon. I can't wait.

Well, that's just a couple of things, there's lots more but that's all that's coming to mind right now. Been pretty quiet lately. In fact other than doing something to my knee (don't know what but it's stiff and sore and difficult to walk on at times), I've had very little going on.

05 June, 2006

This disappoints me

Live Journal, a popular blogging website has deemed that they will no longer allow breastfeeding icons to be displayed as users default icons because they are 'obscene' and 'may be viewed by a wider audience.'

Read the full press release by ProMom here.

I support ProMom, and other's efforts. Breastfeeding is a normal, natural way to feed a baby. It is not dirty or obscene. I breastfed Chickie for almost 2 years and you see way more boob in general advertisements these days.

It appears that breasts are fine when they're for 'fun', but not for 'work'.

04 June, 2006

Of birthdays, ears and childcare centres...

Chickie had a lovely birthday. He is the proud owner of a new bike (not to mention many other toys). He had a family party with a chocolate cake (his request). He was telling everyone that it was his birthday. He's growing up so quickly - my baby is 4!

We've seen the E.N.T. this week as well. Unfortunately Chickie's had a bit of a history of ear infections (along with several burst eardrums). He's had two sets of grommets inserted already. He first got grommets when he was only 1 and had already had a problem with hearing (I remember one day where I was behind him calling to him, but he couldn't hear me). He wasn't speaking much before them and then afterwards his speech just went ahead in leaps and bounds. Again now, he's having problems with hearing. The E.N.T. says he'll probably need another set but we have to do some drops for a few weeks first. I worry about his long term hearing, but most info I can find says hearing problems are usually temporary.

Now as for the childcare centre, well the centre isn't closing exactly. The company that currently manages it has a lease that ends soon. So they're telling everyone that the centre is closing, but in reality there's a different company taking over the management. It's most likely going to be exactly the same (staff, location, name etc) so I really don't consider that closing. Personally I think the way the current management company is handling things appears to be kinda dodgy and I'm not very happy with them. I'll wait and see how things go but if everything I'm told is correct, then I very much doubt I'd ever recommend anyone going to a centre run by the current management company.