Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Forum - July 6

Talk about the week from hell. I suppose I should feel lucky. I have had power since Sunday night. The two down days were among the hottest of the year, and my house was intolerable. I tried to sleep Saturday night in the basement, but Charlie was having none of that. He started howling - something was wrong - and wouldn't stop. I picked up the lounge chair cushion I had used for a bed and took it to the living room, still cooler than the upstairs. He was none too happy about that, refused to stay by my side, but stopped howling. I slept there until about midnight, after which I went to my bedroom. Was it hot!

I don't feel that lucky. Connecting to the Internet has been a challenge. I still have no high-speed Internet, and Verizon cannot even give me an estimated restore time. They are working on it - only in the wee hours of the morning, it appears. Although I had no MiFi (wireless) signal for days, I have a weak one now. I'm using it to write this feature. It returned yesterday. Cell service was also interrupted. Last weekend, I could text, but not call anyone. Even mid-week, my cell phone didn't work in Arlington (I went over to the hospital for an epidural for my back). I'm starting lose hope that anyone at Verizon cares.

In case you didn't hear, the whole 911 service in our area went kaput. Back-up systems failed. Verizon can't explain. Regulators are furious, as are customers who needed help.

I believe the problem is that utility companies have eliminated the cushions they used to have - cushions that provided for emergencies. In their eagerness to be "competitive," they lost track of reliability. We are now paying for it, every time there is an emergency.

Yesterday, I witnessed a prime example of bureaucratic bumbling. A wonderful crew of 5-6 bucket trucks arrived at my street, filled with linemen and tree guys from North Carolina. After awhile, I noticed they were just hanging out. I learned that they were sitting there waiting for Dominion Virginia Power to give them a task order and that they were not permitted to go looking for damage and fix it. Turns out those wonderful men waited over five hours for a job. Meanwhile, there is a street a half mile from here that is still closed, with trees and wires down across the road. I was appalled at the power company's inept management. Help was here, but the help couldn't do anything!

All of my photo software is on my desktop, not the laptop I am using now. I am very limited in what I can publish - and getting more and more depressed about it. It's hard for me to keep any wireless Internet connection up, so I can't respond quickly to comments. I hope you'll understand.

I could tell you so much more. The storm was scary! The winds came up as fast as a tornado. It was probably the worst weather I've ever experienced. There was so much widespread damage, it's hard to estimate. Old, majestic trees were toppled in seconds. The property damage won't be calculated entirely for months, I'm sure. Worse, people died - crushed in their beds by trees or electrocuted when they stepped outside in the dark.

Anyhow, enough storm talk for now. It's time for the Friday Forum! I can't go off and copy the regular post, but you know the "drill." Tell us about your beauty treasures or ask questions. I, for one, need to live this week's "beauty" through others.

I did manage to post a giveaway contest yesterday. The deadline is Sunday night. Just scroll down. The contest for a beautiful Tarte Lip Gloss set is immediately below this feature.

I hope to have better news for you soon!

Update 2:33 pm: I just came home from a shopping trip to find my DSL service back.  You can't imagine my glee! This morning, I complained through our Fairfax County supervisor's office, and now I have high-speed Internet. Wondering if I should have followed that path earlier...

Photo courtesy of my9tv


Christina said...

I hope everything work out for you.
From the Province of Ontario, we have provided our equipment to be used to fix the problem. We have been told that the U.S. does not buy enough equipment and rent from Canada.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Christina!

Thank you - from all your neighbors to the south! I had heard that there was equipment here from Canada, but had no way to verify.

We don't buy enough equipment; we don't have enough linemen or technicians any more. It's all about shareholder profits. This kind of emergency leaves PR types claiming the high road, but they are total spin masters.

This storm aftermath has been infuriating! Every time I see about-of-state crew, I wave and yell thank you. If I saw an in-state crew, I'd do the same. Haven't seen one yet.

judith said...

first : LOVE YOUR BLOG! Second : ALL of our problems are because of company greed and incompetent management. Thanks!

Nemo said...

I saw some pics of the Armani Neo Classic fall collection which will be out in August. All I can say is WOW! Ditto the Les Fauves eye quad from Guerlain. Something to look forward to, Cg. Think of those things. Go "shopping" in your mind when things are bad. It gives you a joy. So does Charlie. Things will be better. Promise.

Charlestongirl said...

Thank you, Judith!

I'm afraid you are right about the greed and mismanagement. I was just talking to my local supervisor's office. They also heard about trucks - from Canada - idling because of no task order. The mismanagement is legendary and will be reviewed in an after-action meeting with the County government and the utilities involved.

Charlestongirl said...

Nemo, Chic Profile had the photos. They get EVERYTHING before we do! Once the collections arrive here, they sometimes change a bit - mostly in name. I'm excited though.

You all keep me sane! As for my baby Charlie, he keeps stealing my chair. :)

Anonymous said...

I suspect part of the problem is that the utility companies want to save money on tree trimming crews.

As for those guys waiting around, it is possible that it would be dangerous for them to "investigate" lines or places to work without knowing what was de-engergized.

K said...

Hi CG, I'm so sorry that things have been so tough for you. My parents live across the river in Potomac and were lucky enough to only lose power for about 36 hours... I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to STILL be fighting with the utility companies a week later. Best of luck and hope things work out soon! Crossing my fingers for you :)

bisbee said...

CG - so sorry you are still without your full Verizon service. We got our power back yesterday during the day, so DH and I spent the night back in our own house with the cats (they were thrilled), even though it was still in the 80's - took until this morning to get within 2 degrees of the thermostat setting! We did, however, have our Fios - phone, TV and Internet - once the power came back, so we are lucky!

I hope it come back soon for you. We also saw out-of-state trucks sitting on parking lots waiting for assignments. I believe it's the size of the bureaucracy, mismanagement, and the unwillingness of people to make decisions!

Take care!

Kate said...

Hi Charlestongirl,

I am so sorry to hear about your experience, though I am glad to hear that you and your mother made it through without harm, though certainly not without terrible discomfort! It has been over 100 here for at least a week, and I simply cannot imagine what it was like with no power. Honestly, my heart goes out to you and your mom. I am a "heat wimp," so I don't know that I would have made it through. I hope things return to normal there as soon as possible!

I finally got my Armani Eyes to Kill in #15. I love it, and will be purchasing more in the future. I have my eye on #2 (Lust Red) and #5 (Gold Blitz). #15 is a bronzey/taupe/antique gold color. It is a great eyeshadow for the heat, and I have experienced no creasing or fading (when used over Too Faced's eyeshadow primer).

I also purchased Jo Malone's Nectarine Blossom and Honey cologne. Holy moly has this fragrance changed my life. It is probably the opposite of a fragrance Gaia would select, but oh, do I love it! It smells exactly like the name implies: sweet nectarine followed by warm, rich honey. It is divine, and a great scent for the hot weather. Honestly, I want to bathe in it and can't stop smelling my arm during the day. Can't say enough great things about this cologne.

I ordered a Laura Mercier Lip Creme Color in Rose Quartz, which is a Sephora exclusive. I believe it is also limited edition. I saw it featured on several blogs. Despite its name, the color looks like it will be a light peachy-pink, with maybe a hint of coral. I will get it on Monday (grr....Sephora shipping times), so I'll let you know what I think next week.

I have also been seriously lemming some of those new Edward Bess lipsticks. I am sure I will take the plunge soon!

Stay cool and stay safe! I hope things start to get back to normal for you.


Anonymous said...

I've only been a member for a couple months and, of course, I've been checking everyday to read your awesome reviews. However, this last week I've been checking in to see how you and your mom are doing. Glad to hear things are improving s l o w l y.

Thank you for your reviews. Purchased the MUFE Aqua Shadows pencils (20E) on your recommendation and LOVE IT!!

alrenwald said...

Hello Ms Charlestongirl--
Just decided to delurk and to tell you I am very glad to know you and your Mom are okay inspite of what you both (and Charlie) have had to endure the past days! I was also following your posts about your Mom especially when she was sick a month or so ago.
I picked up Chanel rouge cocos in culte and avante garde as well as the extrait gloss in impertinence (not sure if I got the name right). I check your posts before I go shopping for my makeup and fragrance indulgences :-)

Charlestongirl said...

Anonymous, these were power trucks - with linemen perfectly capable of disabling any live wired. I talked to the local politician's office this morning, and the reports of these disconnects have been legendary this week. It will definitely come up in public hearings to be held.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi K!

I got my DSL back, thanks to our local County supervisor. I pulled that trump card this morning, and voila! I don't think it was a coincidence.

Thirty-six hours was a long time. I hope your parents are OK.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Bisbee,

As I wrote above, I learned from the County supervisor's office that it was most likely mismanagement, and the power companies will have a lot of explaining to do at the public hearings that will follow.

So glad your power came back! The crew that was on my street yesterday was up clearing a nearby street in Arlington today, so those folks will get their power back any minute. Yea!

Eileen said...

First off, Charlestongirl, welcome back to the 21st century! Hopefully, that can soon be said of everyone in the storm impacted areas. We always talk about emergency preparedness, but bureaucratic bungling can cause even the best laid plans to fall apart. The fact that this has been on such a huge scale is a further indictment of ineptitude. We learned from Katrina and hopefully we'll take away some much needed lessons from this fiasco.

Hi Kate, Hi Everyone

Edward Bess has had some problems with his new lipstick formulation and its packaging so don't take the plunge on those beautiful lip colors just yet. He is in the process of rectifying the situation.

Although I am a long time EB customer and fan, I found myself making an unfavorable comment about his latest offering on Gaia's blog (The Non Blond) yesterday. This morning I got a phone call from Edward Bess! Extraordinary! He was most gracious and was genuinely concerned about the negative feedback he had been receiving because of the drier reformulation and flimsy packaging. He assured me that he truly values his customers and will be pulling the new colors until he has all the problems resolved. In the meantime, he is reaching out to his customers to let them know that he takes full responsibility for the mis-step and that he is going to make sure it is corrected.

I have always admired Edward Bess' active involvement with his customers and the time he spends at his counters applying makeup and listening to his ladies, but his action in this situation shows a respect for his customers that is exemplary. All considered, it was an extraordinary phone call, but then Edward Bess is obviously an extraordinary young man.

Charlestongirl said...

Hiya, Kate!

Nectarine Blossom and Honey is divine - particularly for this kind of weather. Great choice, as were the Armani shadows.

You will enjoy the EB lip colors. I like the glosses best if I had to choose.

I was out shopping in Leesburg this morning and almost died from the heat. I'm getting too old for this 100-degree stuff! I did get some wonderful contest palettes, so it was a great trip. Undies too - always need them. :)

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Anonymous, I am so glad you like the MUFE pencils. I think they are special!

Thanks for reading!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi alrenwald! Nice to meet you!

You got some wonderful Chanel colors!

Charlestongirl said...

Wow, Eileen, that's amazing! I'm stunned - and impressed. :)

Kit said...

I just got my power back last night, so I completely sympathize. Sweet AC, do not ever leave me again!

Ang said...

Oh no. I did not have it as bad as you did, but I'm in the midwest and had a tree limb fall on my house Sunday and have had drama with that (we had terrible storms with 100 mph winds). Just got power back yesterday. Has been over 100 degrees every day this week. I so hope you all are hanging in there. I love your blog.

Tatiana said...

Hi Charleston Girl-

So glad you've had power most of the week and I hope that your internet stays up and running. I understand the frustration with Verizon. Every time some one in the neighborhood adds Verizon service, mine seems to go out. I'll call, they'll send out a technician who will look at the junction box and say that who ever installed the new service looped our wires, or some such nonsense, causing the problem. It gets fixed. But the point is, adding new service for another customer shouldn't disrupt the service for an existing customer. Sigh.
Here's to things being and staying better for you.
No recent purchases. I'm trying to find some time to check out the fall lines in person. Going to the SF Sniff tomorrow and was hoping to sneak in a purchase of Cle de Peau eye cream. Barney's stuck a generous sample in as a bonus and I've been using it and really loving it. I wish it wasn't so expensive, but I have to admit, I am seeing wonderful results after 3 weeks use. So until I can find something as good with a more reasonable price, I'm going to bite the bullet and get this one. When people tell you that you look younger or that you look like you lost weight, you take notice!
Have a great weekend.

Charlestongirl said...

So glad, Kit!

Charlestongirl said...

OMG, Ang! I'm glad you are OK! How much property damage, though?

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Tatiana,

I'd say, don't mess with success. If the cream is working for you, buy it!

As for Verizon, they seem to have lost reliability, and their repair service is infuriating. When their service works, all is fine. When it doesn't? It's usually a debacle. You know they use contractors extensively? I wonder if that has something to do with the deterioration of their work. Also, the tech support call centers are in SE Asia and India. Great...

Wendy said...

You are a tropper to keep posting on your blog with all the electrical, internet, heat and phone problems. A tree fell down on my friend's cottage near the Chesapeake Bay during the storm. At least, she could go back to her home in PA.

When it rains it pours. Glad you were able to take care of your back. I have a friend who gets epidurals for her back. During her pregnancy, she wasn't able to get the treatments. She came to see me for massages as that was her only relief.

Beauty related purchases... I stopped by Trader Joes for some jojoba oil. My skin craves it like air and water. Healthy foods count, right? Since I have a difficult time digesting milk, I tried Trader Joe's Vanilla Hemp Protein Powder blended with a banana. Oh My! It's my new favorite fast food.

No new makeup here. I was too sore from cycling and then walking all day at Hershey Park to even consider makeup shopping. I did buy new road bike shoes and pedals. Didn't have to walk through the mall to get to the bike shop though. And, I could sit down while trying on shoes. :-)

Fed Ex delivered the cutest Po Campo purse/bag I ordered to carry my makeup, sunscreen and cash for rides around town. Their multifunctional bags can attach to bicycle handlebars, strollers, shopping carts, etc. The waterproof canvas fabric was nicer than I expected. My hardcore cycling buddy refuses to ride with me if I attach it to my bike. lol

Hope all is well with your mom, and that she wasn't too affected by the storm.

Have a great weekend!!!

Wendy said...


Wow. Edward Bess sounds like an awesome person passionate about customer service. How cool is that. Thanks for sharing.

Charlestongirl said...

Wendy, walking all day in the park in this weather? You must have amazing stamina.

I love Trader Joe's. Unfortunately, I had to throw out a raft of TJ stuff in my freezer. It was heartbreaking.

That epidural has already helped. The pain that radiates from my spine to my right hip is muted now. I'm real happy with those cortisone shots.

I got some shoes today at the outlets - well a pair of shoes. I love Aerosoles for work - so comfy.

Mom is fine. Thank you - and to everyone - for caring. She has no idea how many friends she has! She's just worried we may have another thunderstorm, with power loss. Let's hope the next rounds are wimpy.

lov2read68 said...

CG - You are an amazing woman! In spite of all of your challenges this week including back pain severe enough to warrant an injection, you have announced the winner of one giveaway, posted another giveaway, and posted about products to boot! Most would have posted "I'll be back when everything has been restored!"
I agree with others that greed, mismanagement & bureaucratic bungling have led to some colossal messes. I'm always amazed at the willingness of crews that travel from states away & even out of country, if allowed, to help in the aftermath of catastrophes. My heart goes out to those that are still w/o services. Hoping that the weather breaks a bit this week for them.
Eileen - Thanks for posting about your experience with Edward Bess! I've been eyeing his lipsticks & had decided that I would splurge on one for my birthday. I will choose something else for a splurge & watch for the QC to be rectified on these.
New for me this week - NARS Brightening Serum. Feels lovely on, my skin looks better & makeup applies evenly over the top of it.
Drooling just a bit over Fall collections from Armani, NARS & Guerlain & others! ; ) Forget what other Fall collex I saw pics for this week. Fall collections are always my favorites though!

Charlestongirl said...

Hey there, Eileen, he should have pulled them. Still available at Sephora. Strange, huh?

Eileen said...

Hi Charlestongirl,

I don't really find it strange. EB's official announcement about pulling the new (made in Taiwan) colors was just made yesterday. I would imagine that it takes a bit of time and planning to notify distributors, retailers, etc. and make arrangements to pull the new colors and replace them with the classic collection. Besides, Sephora is sometimes slow to get the memo and has been known to show products on line that they don't necessarily have available.

It was certainly a mistake to move the manufacturing of a high end product to a country which suffers from so many quality control and safety issues, but at least EB is assuming responsibility and is taking positive steps to restore consumer confidence. I think we'll all be looking to the next release to see if things have improved.