Archive for the Househusbandy Category

Whine is good

Posted in Househusbandy, Nerdy, product with tags , , , , , , on May 27, 2009 by sanaseni

Ever since becoming a househusband, I have had a ton of time to waste on helping companies in doing their business. I average three whines per week, to all organizations big and small. Every now and then, my voice is heard. That is more important than anything else. If the company listens, it will succeed. I will only spend my money on those who listen, as the others will wither while the listeners evolve. Most often there is a shroud of secrecy about how to get the message across.
The customer is often faced with a miniscule problem that absolutely no one cares. Common examples might be “an error message, go back”, “sorry, but we are unable to care” or “computer says no” messages, ones that could easily be logged, found and repaired with some housekeeping.
Then there are the actual problems, you cannot get the info/attention/service you want and was promised. Normally, this results in lost sales. The damage is not that big and these should be attended routinely and tackled massively only if they are the biggest worries.
The worst ones though, are the ones that include a broken cash till. Customer who has seen the ad, gotten to the shop, found the product, decided to buy it, filled in the form, queued to the till and is finally, offering the wad of hard earned notes for stuff they do not really need, but are refused. “No thanks, we do not want your money.”If insisting, offered a “Try again later”. Now for me, that is something that is wrong. There is energy and resources wasted here, I don’t like it. If I have the time, I try to make it right. Like telling the providers.

This is the challenge though, really is. First line of defence is always the customer service person or website. They will not take a message but offer excuses. If the message is forced through this layer, it is quite often going amiss. This is intentional, as the middle management rarely cares to do the job right and proper. Good enough is good enough, the whine needs to be blocked, or at least filtered and then ignored. Only issues that are really pursued and pressured are dealt with, as there is too much to do. More mass of issues being greater than the mass of time is a constant problem really. This forces the middle management into installing an internal messaging platform that can be made to handle the issues. Since there are more issues than time, the load becomes too much to handle and the system is then used to produce statistics of the messages. These statics can be tweaked and then produced as evidence against the whining customer, if necessary.
“I want to get this in blue” only 12% of you want it in blue, so we don’t have it now, but we can order it.
“I ordered it months ago” 88% of orders are delivered within established time parameters
“It does not work” Have you tried rebooting it? 72% of the problems go away after rebooting it.
“It is a pencil” 95% of our customers use a computer
“I want to speak to your supervisor” 25% of the time this happens. You have to fill in this form.
“With what, my pencil is not working!?” We have no records of that ever happening, you must be mistaken. Goodbye…
Now there are few ways of making this right, but they are absolutely never used, since the problem only exists if the no-one gives a shit. This is my theory, and I spend my free time trying to prove myself wrong.

Normally, I do some research to get some names of who might be able to right the wrong. This information is never volunteered and is always hidden. Then, armed with this list of names, I write an email addressing them all. I try to be brief and polite, write without emotions and enable them to make it right. Feedback is rare, promises frequent and proof to my theory is mounting. It is overwhelming, actually. The chain of exploitation goes right from top brass through management and customer care, down to me, the consumer. After a carefully orchestrated play, we find out that I could have gotten what I wanted had I just followed the white rabbit, or if Mr Anderson had taken the blue pill. Or if there wasn’t a glitch in the code.

You know – consumers do not care about reasons. In this ecosystem, the consumer holds all the resources, they should be listened.

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Pandemic preparation 101 – hoard

Posted in Househusbandy, organic with tags , , , , , on May 1, 2009 by sanaseni

The pandemic pig flu is quite possibly nothing to worry about. Then again, it might be akin to “Spanish flu” that killed millions. We live in a big city and the chances of catching said flu are unknown to me, but not to prepare would be foolish. I decided that the risk of doing nothing is greater than the risk of doing something, even if in vain. Just investing (not spending) 100 pounds is the plan I am going with.
Living in finland tought me to always have food for three days for the household. That is how long it takes for the government to get organized in case of shit hitting the fan, so each for themselves during those first three days. Pandemic could cripple the infrastructure as people would be staying home instead of working the system. Therefore I just simply up the hoard to a 10 day stash. On top of this, only some cold medicines, tissues and handwipes. And only a few luxury items, in thinking of what you want when you have the worst flu you have ever had and cannot leave the house for a week. Some tea and biscuits.

About the risk assessment, realization and actions

Risk does not come to be but you took no action
Well done, you were right. You have earned yourself the bragging rights and can mock everyone who did something.

Risk does not come to be but you took action
Well, you were wrong. You are the one who is being mocked now. Hopefully the action did not cost too much and you can live with it.

Risk does come true, but you took action
Well done, you were right to take the action. Now what matters that you took the right action and it was sufficient. If you did, then you should be alright, at least better off than most. There is no point doing this half-heartedly. Do it or don’t, but do it properly, if you decide to do it.

Risk comes true, but you took no action
Well now, you the weakest link – goodbye.

Now if the risk is ultimate and the cost of action is neglible, a logical response is to act, regardless of the propability of the risk materializing.

Forcing the spoon or just plain eating

Posted in Househusbandy with tags , , on March 29, 2009 by sanaseni

I see someone has taken an intrest on my feeding methods. Well, my son is no 11 months old and there is very little mess when we eat, we can eat out without having a prepared meal with us and I think this is really working a treat. He recently had his first sunday roast, that is eating a slice of roast beef, on his own. Ripping it with his eight teeth like a proper carnivore and having a whole apple, with just a start bitten to it, to finish the meal. A few pointers if you want to try this out though;
Choking might cause worry, but you should not worry. Sometimes, when eating, it seems that the baby is about to sufficate on the food. This is nothing to panic about, just do not panic and it will all be over in a second. The baby surely does not mind at all, since it is normal and has always been the way. He has just gotten the food in the wrong tube and is solving the problem. Homo sapiens is not perfect, this would be one of the biggest faults we have, aside from being practically deaf and blind. But more to the point – since the baby is born as tabula rasa, whatever he does and you do with him, he thinks is the way. Do not demonize having some food on the wrong way, it is normal. I solved the panic problem by taking a course in first aid and also had the extra course focusing on the 0-2 years old on top as well. I recommend that to all parents, it really is worth your while. Just make sure never to leave your baby alone to eat and do check every plate for hazards. The mess was really my biggest problem and was really driving me and my wife on different paths on this idea altogether. I just could not stand the throwing the food around and having fun on such serious matter as eating. Well, understanding that it is not so serious but is supposed to be fun for the baby was a start. Then measuring the mess against the trouble of making the purees and just getting non fussed about it was the second step. Finally, I just started to be there but not pay attention. Giving him the food after inspecting the spoonful for hazards, putting it in front of him on the table and just minding my own business and letting him mind his, was the answer. All in all, there is a mess, but not too bad. I mean all in all, it is well worth the effort to clean up after. Get a dog or a maid if it really bothers you. Just yesterday as we were eating out, the waiter spilled some beer on me and while he was terribly sorry, I was happy. It was by no stretch of imagination the worst thing spilled on me that day and gave me freedom to enjoy the dinner not minding about the mess my son was making in the restaurant. As we left, there was a napkin, some pasta and half a cherry tomato on the floor. While it was not really a mess in my book, trying to turn tables during the busiest day of the week and having someone making a total mess of ones table, sometimes aggrovates the managers.
I recently ran into my friend with a similar aged boy who was fussin about the baby choking on the food unless it is abolutely pulverized. He was asking what did I do different to not have that horrible, eating-the-guts-with-worry problem. Well, I just told you. I am still very careful, but the food is not anything to worry about. Food is for fun. Lastly, this forces me to make the food myself. No processed food for my toddler and makes me focus on the nutrients and taste.

WhatHoover: Posh vs Proper

Posted in Househusbandy on March 27, 2009 by sanaseni

Moving to the island makes life difficult in many ways, not least of which is the different plugs and electrical sockets/outlets. The way of the old is in full practise and even though there has been significant progress from the times when every county had their own socket-type, current and frequency, it is still different from mainland europe. Instead of changing all the plugs on all our electrical appliances, I changed some. I also changed lots of my multiple extensions with to UK plug in the end and lastly decided to just replace some of the gadgets. Hoover, was one of them.

Hoovering became solely my responsibility, as a househusband, so I opted to get a new hoover. This is the part I absolutely love, choosing the appliance. I cannot stress how important this is, as going to choose something that you use for years to come is really important decision. If it works, you are not allowed to buy a new one, no matter how much you want. No matter how much “better” the new models are, there is no getting them. You have to get rid of the old one first. Moving to the island, the plug is my excuse to replace the old cheapo hoover. Always hated how the lid would just pop out every time it touched something, how hard it was to change the bag, which was too small, how annoying was the noise it made and how the cord was just always one meter too short. It was too small, too – crap really – for my liking. New model was to become the ultimate hoover, as I have lots of points and as the sole wielder of the hoover, I was able to make this decision on my own. I wanted me the new Dyson.

Dyson

Dyson

My friends have been getting these Dysons, that are really cool. These guys have been in the doghouse for getting a new hoover, missing dinners and having to do all the hoovering for evermore, after spending premium euros on their Dyson. This is a cool hoover, no doubt. Dyson being english and all, all the more reason to get one. There were plenty of models to choose from. The vortex and not having a bag made it cool and practical. It can even tolerate some water and this is exceptional. There was a new model just out, timing was perfect to get me the top Dyson, no matter the cost. But instead, I got a Henry.

Henry

Henry

I got it from the bottom shelf of the shop, under all the Dysons. If you wanted one, you knew where to reach for it. It is not an impulse buy, no sir. Henry is a big, red, friendly looking hoover. It has a face and the nose is the hoover tube. The model is the same it has been for ages and it is reasonably priced. It has no vortex but a big bag. It is, in fact big all around. Big and red. It comes with all the bits that you could possibly want, some extra Hepa bags and a nice big red bag to hold all the trimmies. Included was a nice how to use it booklet and all. It was just proper all around.

Why go for the Henry then? Well, we did have some past experience on a Dyson and it was not all good. The Dyson broke down pretty quick and the guarantee did not cover it for one reason or another. Clearly a Dyson is not a machine made to work for the rest of my life. My son would just be afraid of it. A Dyson could not live under the stairs and the noise it makes, is not friendly. Dyson is not a hoover one can play with while someone hoovers and certainly – as it is faceless – it would not be ones friend. While the Henry looks nice and friendly, the build is extremely good. It is not russian-simple, not german-complicated or taiwan-cheap. Not british yay another thing we invented but just… proper. In the midst of the Islands traditionally old and silly-as-it-has-always-been, it was a welcome relief. Also, it reminded me of the industrial hoovers that the old builders and cleaners use. Them ones who bought theirs in the 70s. They still use the same ones you know, as they still work. Not because they are not allowed to get new ones. Just simply, as there is no need.

I imagine my son moving out and me hoovering his room to become my study with this very same Henry. Might be that this is my first decision ever, as a dad instead of a lad.

A good eight hours

Posted in Househusbandy on March 25, 2009 by sanaseni

Before you have a kid, you don’t really have to get out of bed if you don’t want to. I mean you can, if you want to. Or you can just not bother. Wife, girlfriend, mother or father can all be a pain after lunch, but you can still stay in. Your boss will forgive one late morning or buy your bullshit about a sudden flu and let you take a day. Hungry dogs can be ignored quite effectively. I have tried all of these. Cats pose a problem, but they do like their sleep, so I’m not going to present cats as a problem for sleeping. It is the kids. Sleeping late is a genuine skill, enjoying the fact that time is not wasting, but not well spent either, and not caring. It’s like putting money in the bank – you think to yourself. Not even sleeping, but just not getting up. But it all changes when you get kids, or even a kid. When it’s your kid, you just cannot stay in. Something in you makes you hear the cry – and on top of that – makes you care. So you get up and put up with it. Night after night you get up. Up in the crack of dawn is quite late really. You even forget that there was a time when you slept eight hours straight. Woke up only to glance at the clock and continue to sleep, no more. You are gradually sliding into tiredness, it takes weeks or months really. Doing chores is that much more demanding. Stopping to try to have hobbies, making easy food and not bothering about mundane things. Insomnia really, but on a gradual, sneaky introduction. After my wife was forced to stop the nightfeeds, I was forced to take over. She started getting the missing energy back. Hadn’t even noticed it was gone, but when it was back, she really did notice it. I was struggling, having not used to this and been thrown in the deep end with little warning. At least I noticed it happening, thus could not just take it but had to do something about it. I thought, it has to be eight hours or bust – otherwise, what’s the point? Your brain is what matters, and it needs the rest.

The wiring in your brain will rot without sufficient sleep

The wiring in your brain will rot without sufficient sleep

I got the kid to sleep through the night after a couple of weeks. Well, if you count sleeping until 5:22 sleeping through the night. Last night, he slept through, until after six am. That is what I call a solid 8 hours. He coffed through the night to keep me on my toes and mostly off the sweetest and deepest REM sleep, but still. I feel fine.

The trick is simple really. Kid sleeps when not wet or hungry. Stuffing him with food, having a bath and a whole bottle of milk to follow just before bed and using a bad for the environment disposable nappie, instead of the reusable ones that we normally use took care of the kid. Me, I just had to go to sleep a bit earlier and drink less alcohol. It affects the quality of your sleep if you drink. Anything more than a glass of wine or two small beers is getting you more tired, needing more sleep. And that is the difference of a good eight hours, or bad. Having a nice life or a horrible ordeal.

Organic as a produce, not as an excuse

Posted in Househusbandy, organic, product with tags , , , on March 24, 2009 by sanaseni

I buy organic, but not exclusively. When it is convenient. In finland, anything organic was three times the price of “normal” produce-price. Here in england, it is not even twice the price of the worst produce. You can even get even, if you count the calories and such. On top of that, they can be delivered to your home every week. The problem with organic produce in finland was always the quality of the produce, sky high prices and the poor availability and service of such hippies who tried to make their living like that, desperately. The climate in england is ideal for organic growing, tomatoes grow like weeds over here. I have never ever had a succesful kitchen herbs crop, but the one in here is already showing promise. The veggies here do spoil immediately. I mean, they should, it is just that I for one am not used to that. Finnish tomatoes took a week to ripen, english organic tomatoe rots in a few days. The thing is to buy what you need today. Maybe tomorrow morning, but that is all. Otherwise, it will spoil, trust me. Organic means no preservatives. I am going to grow my own tomatoes in my back yard this summer. The very idea is just thrilling. Different climate indeed, lets make the most of it.
So we have gone from using organic as an excuse to have an amateurish business that serves overpriced crap, to enjoying its brilliant taste, vibrant colours, easy availability and brilliant service – all at a very reasonable price.

Organic veggies box

Organic veggies box

The baby-in-the-back pack

Posted in Househusbandy, product on February 26, 2009 by sanaseni

Littlelife baby carrier is definetely the best thing I have bought since the boy was born. Being able to go pretty much whereever I want is a freedom you cannot imagine, being used to the pushchair or trolley or attack tank of any sort. 

The baby backpack

The baby backpack

Carrying does not feel like a burden, but I am a relatively fit bloke. I can imagine this beng difficult for women or anyone carrying the extra 25 pounds already. For me, the rig with everything is less than a third of my weight, which is the ideal max weight for rucksack carrying for any lenght of time (excluding the army blokes). Also,  adjusting of the various settings to get the weight on your hips with the belt and off your shoulders means it needs to be quite high, but not “over your head”. After a while, I can’t even feel the pack, it is like a part of me. Also, the boy loves it, the steady movement, the ideal place to look for the scenes as well as the security of being on ones dads back. There is plenty of room to carry the always needed kit of food, nappies and clothes. The only tweak I did was adding a little compass on the front to check my bearings every now and then, as I dont mind the walk with this on, but walking the wrong way – I mind.

Toys can be attached on the colourful side straps, but are rarely needed. Unless stopping for whatever reason,  in a train or tube for longer than a few minutes, the baby is not bored and just entertains oneself with the surroundings. Also, I find that stranges seem to entertain the boy as well. Do not mind the complete stranger making faces at you, they are for the baby behind your ear, smiling like a loonie 🙂

So I can now take the public footpaths, stairs, narrow walkways and the odd hole in the pavement without worries. I recommend to everyone, with some reservations though. You have to be motivated and reasonably fit. It is not for small women really, as it gets really heavy really fast when the weight porportions are wrong, ie, more than a third of your own weight is on your back. Also, any history of back or knee problems will become a current issue. Babies who can walk might rather walk and very small toddlers, less than 6 months, might be too small to be comfy in this model.

Otherwise, it is brilliant. Absolutely the best thing a househusband needs. And to tell you the truth, I went straight for this “Voyager” model, skipping all the flimsy skinny models and all the light weight brands. That, I  have not regretted.