Flowers and Frustration

All of the potted impatiens that I brought in from the porch are still thriving. I think there are about eight pots scattered around the house. Most of them are tucked in corners of the living room, den and bedroom – usually on the floor because I don’t have anywhere else to put them.

They’re doing surprisingly well!


I’m glad I didn’t let them succumb to the freezing temperatures.

It’s really hard, almost impossible, for me to deliberately leave a potted plant outside when I know a hard freeze is on the way. So, for a while, I shuttle them back and forth, day and night, until the moment that I know that daytime temperatures are going to stay cold.

Then they move inside.

I’d like to have an extra room or two. Oh, who am I kidding? Or three or four. One of them would be a room for the plants, with big windows and lots of light. I’d keep it on the cool side and I’d be able to stash all my outdoor plants there for the winter. They’d thrive. I’d put a big old comfy chair in there, where I would sit and read, surrounded by flowers.

Oh, and I’d like a greenhouse.

Is that asking too much?

Yesterday’s ‘adventure': I spent over 2 ½ hours on the phone trying to reach someone at what will be my former health insurance company at the end of the day today. This company automatically changed my old policy, which had been canceled due to the ACA, and sent me a bill for a much more costly policy. All I wanted to do was cancel it.

Every time I tried, the robotic ‘menu’ would not give me an option to speak with someone about canceling my policy. There were all sorts of other options, some of which I tried but took me to a dead end. I would finally get a hold of a human being only to be told I needed to call another number, which would then take me to another dead end. This went on and on and on. Of course, I tried pressing O several times. That didn’t work. Finally, after 2+ hours of this nonsense, I reached a supervisor who said she would try to transfer me. I begged her not to connect me to the main number but to a person. She put me on hold and after a while, returned to say that she finally got through but got a message that Member Services had closed for the day.

Unbelievably frustrating. She did give me a tip or two as to how to dodge all the ‘options’ and get through to a person. I’ll be trying that in a few minutes. Wish me luck.

Is it too much to simply want to be connected to a person? Why do we have to hear a robotic voice endlessly loop through all the menu options? Surely it doesn’t require a Ph.D. to realize there should be an option to speak with someone in Customer Service?

This is the kind of thing that drives people crazy, including yours truly.

Have a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve. We’re not big on celebrating or watching the ball drop. We plan on staying home. And I can pretty safely bet that we’ll be asleep before midnight.

Happy Tuesday


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  1. says

    Happy New Years Eve!
    I shuffle my plants around too. A few are really thriving and some look so so.
    My ((Lucky)) son and his wife just bought a Home with a greenhouse attached to the back..even the ceiling is glass..this Mamas dream! I need to have them babysit my plants..:).
    I am right there with ya on the automated call centers,

  2. says

    I tried bringing my plants back in and out…then one night the frost came and killed the two I had. I am so bad with plants! Good job on keeping yours alive so well Claudia :) Sorry for your phone frustrations…I have definitely been there. Hope you have a lovely New Years eve tonight and fabulous 2014!

  3. says

    The impatiens are looking quite cheerful. I took my rosemary plant inside but I don’t think it looks overly happy at the moment.

    Good Luck on sorting out your health insurance issues. Happy New Year to you, Claudia. I expect to be curled up with a book this evening, possibly with Inspector Gamache; I may be a bit in love with him.


  4. says

    I ended up not saving any of the outdoor plants but the chicks and hens. Maybe I’ll have more plants this coming spring. I do love your flowers and I’m with you about a greenhouse..wouldn’t that be nice. I get so frustrated trying to get a hold of a person at these companies. I really think it’s done on purpose. Good Luck. I too will be tucked in at home and safe for the night. Tomorrow I watch the Rose Parade and take down Christmas. I also have a New Year’s Good Luck meal with my kids.

  5. says

    Hello Claudia! I have finally unlocked my email and my blog account so I can finally comment on my favourite blogs again! It has been a rough year, I know too well the issues of trying to close and open accounts and dealing with companies that say one thing and don’t really do it!! I am thrilled that your plants are surviving, yeah!
    Happy New Year and may all your dreams come true, yes the extra room ones too, ha ha……

  6. says

    Reading your post made my stomach feel like it was in knots. It is so frustrating to be caught in one of the phone traps. I hope you are able to get through today in a timely manner. And I hope you are able to get your medical insurance sorted out. To be honest, it makes me thankful I live in Canada.

    Happy New Year!

    • Claudia says

      As someone who has a mom who was born in Canada, I wish I could take advantage of Canada’s healthcare system, Kristin!

      Happy New Year!

  7. says

    argh! That makes me so angry when you can’t get a human being and there’s no option for what you need and, they don’t even give an option for “other”!!! grrrrrrrr. (I sat on hold with the gas company for 33 minutes a few weeks ago – no option that matched what I needed and I think I was pretty much snarling at the recording by the time a rep finally got to me hahahaha.)
    And I’m so disappointed and sad and angry over the health care insurance mess! I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with it. (Sorry to climb on my soap box on NYE but when are we going to join the rest of the thinking world and have universal health care?!) Thinking of you, hoping you are able to quickly achieve what you need this morning.
    We aren’t late nighters or partiers either … We’re going to see Llewyn Davis this morning and out for an early dinner to beat the crowds. Wishing you a lovely NYE in the company of your dear ones. xo

    • Claudia says

      Universal Health Care – Single Payer. Or as Don would say, Medicare for everyone. That’s all it is. Why is so impossible to accomplish?
      Happy New Year my friend!

  8. Janet in Rochester says

    BEEN THERE, for sure. What a nightmare those automated menus can be. My tip for dealing with them is – try it ONCE the honest way. If that doesn’t get you to a live body, try the second time by NOT answering the questions you’re asked. At some point the automated voice will say “I’m sorry, I didn’t get that… I’ll transfer you to someone who can help…” Hope you get through quickly. And hope you, Don and Miss Scoutie have a very Happy New Year!

    • Claudia says

      The woman I spoke to said as much to me. Don’t answer the questions, she said. But I was still on hold for 60 minutes yesterday and I finally had to hang up. I’ll try again tomorrow.
      Happy New Year, Janet!

  9. Donnamae says

    Well, first off…Good Luck!!!! Trying to find a human being to actually speak to is just plain frustrating…frustrating! Your impatiens look fan.tas.tic! I’m surprised that they have lasted this long…made a believer out of me! Yes, a greenhouse would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? Oh, to dream. Our New Year’s Eve, might involve a celebratory drink and a movie…or reruns of The Big Bang Theory….something to make us laugh! Happy, Happy! 😉

  10. says

    I always try to save my plants, too. The only ones that absolutely never make it are my geraniums. I continue to try every year, but every year I lose them.

    Happy New Year, dear Claudia.♥

  11. says

    Claudia, know exactly what you mean – robots on the phone are disgusting…………….when you do get a person it’s like you’ve won the lottery………..and we know the odds in that game too!
    Glad you still have flowers adding color.
    I checked our PBS station here in NC and see I’ll be tuned in for the big thrill of seeing Don in The Poisoner’s Handbook at 8 pm. EST on Jan. 7 – really excited. Watched the short video trailer on the PBS website – he looks/sounds fabulous in his starring role!

    Enjoy your cozy-at-home start to NewYear – we’re off downtown, wearing our big colorful ‘First Night Raleigh’ buttons, later this afternoon. Weather is sunny and not too cold right now but will cool down later this evening. After attending venues with music and entertainment of every description, some performers actually coming from overseas this year now the celebration has become so huge, we’ll enjoy our champagne (First Night is alcohol-free) in comfort in our Marriott room above all the acorn dropping and fireworks hullabaloo going on around!

    Happy New Year to all three of you – may it be a great one.
    Love, Mary

    • Claudia says

      Yay – it’s almost January 7th! I can’t wait to see it. Hope you had a great time at First Night, Mary.
      Happy New Year!

  12. Janie F. says

    Ah Claudia, I’m so glad you still have some of your lovely flowers to enjoy . I get frustrated when trying to speak to an actual person instead of a machine too. Some of the innovations of the past several years are wonderful but some are annoying to me. We are staying home tonight also. Taking down some of my Christmas decor today and the house is looking bare but in a few days we’ll be used to it. The tree will be up until tomorrow at least. Hope you, Don, and your girl Scout have a Happy New Year filled with good health and plenty of togetherness. We are optimistic that our new year will be filled with continued blessings.

  13. Nancy Blue Moon says

    When you get stuck on the phone with a computer voice try this..Say the word AGENT..many times just saying that word will make the computer connect you to an actual person..I do this all the time now and most times it works..We don’t do much for New Years Eve either..I do make “good luck sandwiches” which here in our part of Pennsylvania consist of hot dogs and sauerkraut on rolls..What the heck..a little try at some good luck never hurt anyone..Have a relaxing New Years Eve!

    • Claudia says

      I tried every possible word, Nancy. Didn’t work! It was enormously frustrating.
      Happy New Year to you and yours.

  14. says

    Happy New Year dear friend and to Don and Scout also! I’m planning on 2014 being a great year for everyone!

    I’ve tried to send you several emails and they are returned. Would you email me your address? Don’t know what the deal is.


    • Claudia says

      I sent you an email, Judyl Curious to know what email address you were using!
      Happy New Year to you and John, my dear friend!

  15. Tana says

    I’ve got 4 and 3/4 hrs. until New Year. No way will I make it. I’ll be asleep long before then. I wish much joy, love, laughter and peace for you and Don in 2014.
    Tana xo

  16. says

    I can’t believe how well your impatiens are doing indoors. That’s awesome. Customer Service problems like you mentioned are unbelievably maddening. I feel your frustration. Brian and I stayed in tonight, too. He was sound asleep a little after 9:00 – but he gets up at 4:15 for work every day, including tomorrow. I normally stay up until around midnight anyway. Just came in from shoveling 6″ of snow (at 11 PM!), so I hope I sleep well tonight. Blessings to you, Don, and Scout for 2014.

    • Claudia says

      Poor Brian, of course he has to go to bed early! We have your snow coming our way tonight, Melanie.
      Happy New Year to you and yours!

  17. Adelina says

    Es terrible este mundo que hemos creado ! y frustante ! Tomeselo con calma , si puede !
    Quiero desearle un 2014 lleno de esos sueños que usted tiene y que alguno se cumpla ! Mucha felicidad para toda la familia.
    Muchos besos.

  18. Vanessa Bower says

    Hi Claudia,
    In regards to getting the money back from the healthcare insurance company who stole money from your checking account.(yes, stole is the correct term because it was unauthorized)
    Contact your bank, tell them this company made an unauthorized withdrawal and you want the paperwork sent to you to stop the payment. You sign the paperwork, send it back to the bank and the entire process takes about a week. You can give the bank authorization to stop the automatic deduction of money from your account, too. Just in case the insurance company tries to do it again. If you wait for the insurance company to return the funds to your account it could take months. You then need to talk to a real person at the insurance company, advise them of what you did and document the conservation. Trust me, it will get their attention – money talks!!!!
    How do I know this ? Time Warner Cable did this to me in November.
    Good Luck,

    • Claudia says

      Vanessa, they didn’t take any money out of my account. It was just a bill, thank goodness! But thank you for your advice. I may have to do that with my now defunct dental plan!
      Happy New Year!

  19. says

    I had a similar incident with all this new health insurance mess. I haven’t really had internet for 9 months, so after I finally got it back after moving I went to the website to (VERY reluctantly) sign up. It took forever, but they couldn’t verify my identity. I had to call a certain number, which accomplished nothing. The lady said she didn’t know what to do, but that she can’t verify my identity. So she pawns me off to calling Customer Service. I call them, only to get the automated messages and not one real person.

    I gave up. Apparently, I don’t exist so I’ll be keeping my money I guess. It’s not like I can afford to pay it in the first place.

    Okay, sorry. This New Year is going to be tough but I insist on not letting it control all my emotions. Your post just really spoke to me, because I can understand that kind of frustration.


  20. says

    Our small corporation seemed to be fine until we received a notice on Dec 6 that our insurance (which renews in March) would not be available after Dec 31. Boy was I scrambling to get coverage! Of course, not being able to use the .gov website due to the lack of security didn’t help. We did find some insurance. Good to know that my birth control and maternity are covered (since we don’t need those) but several other things that we do need are no longer covered! And Expensive! Wow! The people who couldn’t afford insurance before–or saw no reason to spend the money on it–certainly won’t be signing up for this insurance! We also can no longer have an HSA account so it will have tax consequenses for us as well so the huge deductibles will now not be pre-tax until we reach the correct percentage of our income. As a small corporation owner, I can say I am not impressed–and we could NOT keep our current insurance or medications or doctors. Not a fan!

    Our Canadian friends are not sure what will happen with them either. Many of them come to the US to have procedures performed (which bill the Canadian Government will pay) because the waiting list is so long in Canada but if our system becomes more like theirs, then they will lose the ability to get their procedures done timely as well.

    Also, not a fan of those frustrating electronic menus! Ick!

    Happy New Year. Crossing my fingers that the healthcare issue works out better than it appears thus far.

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