Browsing "Finances"
Apr 12, 2013 -

Still in Dallas

I can’t believe it’s already Friday. I thought I’d be on my way to Kansas by now! My host is in absolutely no hurry to get rid of me (thank you!) and the weather up north is so iffy. I might as well hang out a few more days. I have to say that I really like Dallas. It just feels like a more accessible city driving-wise than did San Antonio. Then again, I’m not doing any driving here. 🙂

Today is an at home day working on projects. Ms. Cinnamon has a tentative field trip planned for tomorrow.

I had to call the bank holding my RV mortgage to make some changes to my account. In the past, such changes have had to be made in person at a branch, but then they started to accept signed faxes. Today, they accepted a scanned document sent by email! It’s so nice to see business practices finally moving into the 21st century. I had tried the fax route using a free ‘fax from your computer’ service and the bank got the fax, but not the signature for some weird reason. I was able to use my wonderful printer to not only scan the signed document, but also email it.

For some reason, the address change I made last year didn’t stick, so they still had me living in Dawson City. The lady was delightfully confused about my Alberta mailing address and North Dakota telephone number. Ah, the life of a wandering nomad!

I checked the balance on the loan and it is more than half paid, which makes sense since I’m at about the halfway mark in payments. It’s really exciting to finally be on the right side of the loan. If a worst case scenario happened, I’d now be able to get out of this loan and have enough left over for a decent down payment on another used rig. Not that I would want this to happen!!!!!

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Communications & Electronics, Finances, Printer, Technical, Texas, Travel, USA    6 Comments
Apr 10, 2013 -

A Fun Afternoon at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas

Undeterred by the pouring rain, Ms. Cinnamon and I headed out for the afternoon. I asked if she wanted to have lunch out and she suggested Vietnamese, which was exactly what I had in mind. So we headed over to the Bistro B.

The restaurant has a crazy huge and overwhelming menu. I decided that we didn’t have all day and that I wanted vermicelli, chicken, and lemongrass, which I found as a number 113. Ms. Cinnamon ordered the same thing.

The ginormous meal of fresh salad, noodles, meat, and a side of fish sauce looked lovely and tasted pretty good, but it was nowhere near lemongrassy enough for me. There was just a hint of it in some bites, but for a meal labeled lemongrass, it wasn’t enough. So I questioned the server and he offered to take back our food, but we refused since there was nothing wrong with it and we didn’t want to have to wait for them to make something new.

Well, he came back minutes later with a small plate heaped with more lemongrass and sautéd onions! And guess what he told us? That the chef purposely toned it down because the dish is too flavourful for most of the folks who come to the restaurant! Now, what we were served was not bland in the least, but the added lemongrass really made it shine. Yu-um!

Sated, Ms. Cinnamon and I headed out to tour the Perot Museum of Science and Nature, which is new in Dallas. I took a picture of the exterior when I was out the other day. It was almost 2:30 when we arrived and the museum closes at 5:00. Well, we had just enough time to see everything, but would have really needed another hour or two!

This is a very hands on museum with a lot of fun activities. From the lobby, you get a dizzying escalator ride straight up to the fourth floor dinosaurs and space exhibits, and then you work your way down.

The museum is great for kids and the kid at heart. My favourite exhibit was up in the fourth floor mezzanine birds exhibit where you put on 3D glasses and get to soar like a bird. The effect is remarkable as you get to swoop, dive, and fly by moving your body. This photo gallery gives a small sample of the exhibits. At $15, the museum isn’t cheap, but you get a lot of bang for your buck!

We stopped at the Central Market, a super fancy grocery store, on the way home to grab something quick and easy for dinner. I got a few groceries and then spent some time in the deli area trying to decide what I was in the mood for. The sushi very tempting, but I went with my first instinct, which was to have a mixed Mediterranean plate with hummus, falafel, tabbouleh, cucumber and tomato salad, and lots of other good stuff where you pay by the weight of your container. Yum!

It was really cold today (I doubt we hit 50F), but at least the sky has cleared.

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Countries, Finances, Museums, Nice Folks, Restaurants, Shopping, Social, Texas, Travel, USA, Weather    1 Comment
Apr 1, 2013 -

Explain This To Me About Walmart

I went out for dinner this evening, found a car wash (you’d never guess that I just hosed down the truck, but at least the salt is off it for sure), and headed to Walmart.

It took 20 minutes to get what I needed and then I spent at least 40 minutes in line waiting to check out. By the time I realised it was going to take that long, it would have been stupid to walk out and lose all that time I just spent shopping and waiting, but all my melted frozen food got left at the cash. I’m not exaggerating, I was there long enough that all the frozen food was mush by the time I got to the front of the line. I had another half hour to get home. I wasn’t going to refreeze that stuff and possibly get sick.

The store was PACKED. Lines literally ran the whole length of the store. How many cashiers did they have on? THREE. Why does Walmart bother having 50 billion lines when it never has more than three cashiers on at a time?!

To add insult, my teller was the customer service MANAGER and she was completely oblivious to how inadequate she was. Instead of noticing the mile-long (and I’m only slightly exaggerating) line of increasingly angry people, she just took her sweet time slowly scanning one item at a time and chatted with her colleagues. I’ve been a cashier. I know that you can process people MUCH more quickly than that. There were no issues with items not scanning or price checks or payment methods not working. She just had no idea how to manage a busy till.

When I saw that the lines were long, I grabbed a big pile of magazines and then staked my spot. It took three magazines for me to get annoyed, six for me to be frustrated, and eleven to start bitching with the other customers. The woman behind me with TWO full carts and about five screaming and crying children finally walked out. Not that Walmart will care.

Now, I love Walmart because of its of policy about overnight RV parking. But, seriously, hire more cashiers. And better train the ones you have.

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Finances, Shopping    12 Comments
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