04 April 2009

My New Drill

I have a project and as usual, a problem. The project is to mount a flat screen TV on a brick wall. I have the mount and I've read the instructions and that's where the problem started. The instructions call for a ½" masonry bit and the biggest one I have is nowhere near big enough. Cool. I get a free pass to the hardware store. The wife looks askance at this but she wants the TV up and I'm off before she can add a food store list to my errand. I love hardware stores. Wire, nails, wood and tools enough to make me sing but I nobly head straight for the tool area where I meander over to the wall of drill bits. I expect to have a couple of choices at least. Nothing doing. The biggest masonry bit I see is half the size I need so I ask the tool guy for help. He smiles and drags me over to the hammer drills. I have never used one and he explains them briefly but well enough that I understand I'm getting a new toy.

I make the marks where I'll need to drill and brace myself for a long slog drilling four half inch holes in brick. My previous experiences with standard drills and masonry bits leads me to expect that this will be several hours of hard going. Five seconds later my first hole is done. Five minutes later all four holes are drilled and the mount is bolted to the wall. I am in awe. I cannot believe how well this tool is suited to its purpose. My new drill and I are waiting for neighbors & friends to need us to make holes in concrete, stone or brick for them. Joy.

28 March 2009

Large/Blended Families vs Wireless Service

My current dilemma concerns my cell phone provider. They conveniently offer to group up to 5 members of my family in a single plan. Marvelous, except my current blended family has a husband, wife, 2 of her kids and 3 of mine. Advanced calculus yields an apparently unworkable 7 cell phone users. That’s 2 more than the plan maximum. That’s my dilemma. When I was making more money and had higher expectations of keeping my job and income level, this problem was way low down on my dilemma list but now that the economy sucks and we’re all counting our pennies, I’d like some consideration here. I’ve tried to reason with my monolithic cell phone corporation complaining that their plan maximum count is too low. This, unsurprisingly, got me nowhere. They were nice enough to split us up according to text usage. Mad texters on one plan and reasonable texters on the other. This helped some but that still left me with 2 plans and a sizeable extra chunk of change to pay every month. Switch providers you say. Good idea but wait, they ALL have that magic 5 line maximum. Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and Nex-Tel all have family plans that max out at 5 lines. I smell a rat but that’s another story. Times are tough and if one of these large customer hungry cell providers wants a really big, obvious marketing tip, raise your family plan maximum line count. Please don’t raise the associated rates please because that would just piss me off. Just raise the number of lines to 8 or 10 to accommodate all the blended, cell-addicted families out there. This could be a big opportunity to suck a lot of large families into your customer list. Once there, you know the prospect of switching providers is daunting so we’ll probably stay. Act now while I can still afford one cell phone plan.