I can hardly believe it …….

Well, they arrived yesterday.

So, that’s good and it means there is the final present, already wrapped and under the tree.

Of course, it’s possible that their system will work out that they sent me these after they had cancelled the order and given me a refund. Let’s see. In any event, they do have a really crap system and they need to look at it and, maybe, fire the IT people who wrote it.

But, after Christmas. I wouldn’t want to spoil Christmas for them.

And now, the cleaner is in and Frankie and she are doing what feels like a Spring Clean …….. AGAIN!

Soon I will start to prepare the food for tomorrow and Boxing Day.

And, then relax and enjoy Christmas as it’s supposed to be.

And, so, guys, a very Happy Christmas to all of you.

And I hope Gail’s move goes well and the new home is even more “home” than the old one.

A secret post

A secret post

I had partially written a post about buying things online.

Well, to be honest, it was to include my “investments” too. It was really about good customer care and bad customer care. I reckoned that about 25% of my online spending ended up as “not a very good experience”. Maybe that is an over-estimation but, with a couple of more recent things, I had become a bit pissed off.

On the other hand, paying for something using your credit card online is always a gamble. After all, you don’t have a physical “shop” with real, physical people to go back to complain to, do you? Add to that delivery problems (it doesn’t turn up; it turns up late; it wasn’t what you expected; etc.) and that gives another layer of potential problems.

In addition, I have “Italian” to add to the mix. If I have to complain or get something done it’s just that much harder.

So, the story goes like this (but whisper it because I don’t actually HAVE the things yet, so I might be premature):

I see some things that I think would be nice for both F and me. Seems like a good Christmas present. I check the size (for him) and order one for him and one for me.

I get an acknowledgement of the order.

A day or so later, I think that this would be a good present also for a couple of friends, so I go back online and order two more (separate orders).

I get acknowledgements.

Then I get confirmation that they have shipped (the two last orders – NOT the one for us). But it’s into December now and I don’t worry.

After about a week, I start to worry. Why haven’t I had a confirmation of shipment? So, I’m back to the site requesting info. The response comes a day or so later. There’s a problem with one of the items – they’ve run out of that particular colour. New ones should be in in the next couple of days. Would I like to pick a different colour?

Well, no, I reply immediately. If the right colour will be in in the next couple of days, I’ll wait. I know we have time before Christmas.

A couple of days later I get a reply which suggests that it will be a couple of weeks before new stock comes in. Would I like to pick a different colour?

I reply that they had told me 2/3 days and it had now become 2 weeks! How can that happen? And I really did want the colours I had picked.

A couple of days later I get a reply to say that they had had problems with the supplier but now the other one had run out too and would I like to pick a different colour because they were “flying off the shelves”. Oh, and right now, they only had the one colour left (which was neither of the colours I had been looking for).

I politely declined saying that the colour was important and that, if they couldn’t guarantee they would be here for Christmas, I’d like to cancel the order and would they refund me, please?

They cancelled the order and sent a separate email saying they had refunded me. Because this was a refund in pounds and it had to be converted, I lost about €4. Oh well, I thought, this is life.

Shortly after, I received another email from them (a different person) explaining that they couldn’t fulfill my order and would I like to change my order to a different colour. Since I had just received notice of cancellation and refund, I ignored it.

I kept checking my credit card online to check for the refund. And then, last week, it was there.

So, that’s when I started to write the post about online buying/spending.

And then, on Friday, I got an email to say that my order had been shipped!

I still can’t quite believe it and, obviously, I don’t have the goods yet but they included, in the email, a tracking link. I clicked on the tracking link on Friday and again on Saturday and I see that the goods are already in Milan!

So now, the question is – will I really get them? How did their systems allow this to happen?

But mainly – is this real? Are they real? Will I get them in the next couple of days?

And then – at what point do I get an email saying that they shouldn’t have shipped them and would I like to pay for them?

So, right now, they are still in Milan, it seems. But not yet delivered. We shall see …….

So this is a secret. I’m whispering it. Just in case it’s not real after all!

The Joy Is Back

The Joy Is Back

He’s away. Again.

This time it’s for at least 10 days. He left on Friday morning for London and then on Saturday flew to China. 10 days is a very long time, made worse by the fact that, this weekend just gone, was a long weekend – Monday and Tuesday were holidays.

But I had plans to make sure that I wasn’t stuck in the house all day by myself. Or, as it could be, lonely.

Plans of things to do. Some of which I did do and some I didn’t – of course, as this is me.

Things that I did do include: finishing all the Christmas cards (they are now with the daughter of the woman who works at the main post office in Milan as the Christmas stamps (see a post below) do not even cover the postage to other European countries, let alone American and Australia or New Zealand); buying of presents; wrapping of presents for overseas to be boxed up and posted today (more on that later); the usual stuff such as washing and tidying up; getting the winter tyres put on the car.

Things that I didn’t do include: cleaning the silver; painting the bathroom shower area; brushing the dogs.

I didn’t quite finish the wrapping of presents to be posted because I forgot to buy things for Best Mate’s dogs. So that means that I will have to go out this lunchtime to get things – which is actually OK because I can also buy the food to keep our dogs going over Christmas. So the parcels will actually be sent tomorrow. This is not so bad and they should reach there in plenty of time.

The cards should also reach most destinations in time. I hope. Obviously, they won’t actually be sent until tomorrow but as it’s only the 9th today, it should be OK, I think – I mean it’s 2 weeks!

I also went to Il Salvegente (a kind of Designer Outlet store – the oldest in Milan) to see if there was anything for BM and J (there was) and to buy some jeans and a jumper and, maybe, something for F. There wasn’t – but I did pick up a pair of shoes that I liked (but certainly didn’t need – unlike the jeans and jumper). As they didn’t open until 11 a.m. yesterday (it being a public holiday here), I took a longer, more meandering route and managed to find a shop (unfortunately closed) that sold Shaun the Sheep stuff – so I’ll be going back there on Saturday to pick something else up for F.

I also got a call from V’s Dad. Ay had told him that we had really looked after her well when she came over. He was ringing to thank me. I told him that he didn’t need to thank me as this was Ay and I would do anything for her – but I think his ringing me was a lovely thing to do.

Next weekend, I still have time to paint the bathroom (but probably won’t) and time to brush the dogs (I will possibly do that) but I’ve decided to forget the silver. It’s better to do that on 24th when F will, almost certainly, be cleaning the house like it’s spring or like the Queen is coming. At least it will give me something to do other than being in the way (and in the cold as the windows will certainly be open throughout the house). Obviously, even cleaning the silver, I will certainly be in the way (and in the cold) but he will understand that I’m doing something – with any luck.

Among other things that I did over the weekend was get some tickets for The Cure (next November) which F wants to go and see. This, I’ve decided, will be his birthday present. I have also ordered tickets for the ballet at La Scala for 30th December – which will be his main Christmas present, as they are quite expensive. I also thought it would be a nice thing to go to – sort of Festive and dressy-uppy and, as it’s Cinderella, both a story I can follow (I’m not that much into ballet) and right for the Christmas period.

What I also did was wrap all the presents for him, so that’s good. I still have the Cinderella tickets to come and one other present which should be on its way soon and, of course, the Shaun the Sheep thing. Then I’ve done.

And, for those of you who’ve been reading this blog over the years, you will know that this is totally unlike me. This is NOT to say that I won’t do some last-minute shopping on 24th as you will know I like that. But I really don’t need to as I have enough. It’s like the old days when I was prepared and ready. F has given me the joy back and I really like that.

So, although I miss him, I AM busy and am doing lots of things and the time is going quickly and so it’s OK. I will be very happy when he’s back, safe and sound though.

A visit

A Visit

Ay (my “niece”) and E, her boyfriend have been over for the weekend. Well, long weekend.

They came Thursday night and are leaving this morning.

To be honest, we haven’t seen that much of them. Ay (and, maybe E) like shopping, so they are out every day. Saturday night they got tickets for the football (AC Milan v somebody other team that’s not at all famous). Sunday night we cooked for them at home.

I say, “we” meaning F. He did pasta with his ragù (which is particularly nice) and the saltimbocca (using chicken fillets instead of veal) and some mixed vegetable thing. It was all really lovely and he went to lots of trouble. I mean, she isn’t my “real” relation, being V’s niece really, but they are a sweet couple and he thinks so too. He wanted to make them real Italian food, bless him.

i know he liked them because he invited them down to Carrara (when the house is finished) which he only does if he likes someone.

But it was really lovely to see them. I miss Ay (and all V’s family, to be honest) although I don’t miss the “drama” of their family life. But, in the peace and quiet of Milan, talking to them and spending some time with them, it has been really, really lovely.

So, I will miss them but I think they had a lovely time and I hope that means they’ll be over again.

I think so.

One slightly strange thing – as I never told E what he should call me, he addresses me as Uncle Andy. I’ve always felt quite strange about Ay calling me Uncle Andy but I like it – it just gives me a strange feeling. But E calling me Uncle Andy seems even weirder. However, I don’t want to correct him as it seems far to late to do that.