Monday, September 7, 2009

Cheesy vs. Classy

What I am

What I want to become?

So, I am having a life dilemma. For pretty much all of my life, I have been what you would call a cheesy person. I like weird and random things and I make a lot of jokes that no one understands. It was pretty much the Now, all of the sudden, I am grown up and I have an interest in becoming classy. For example, I want to do insane things like sew or make crafts. The problem is, I have no idea how to accomplish this transformation, or if I even should. Maybe there are some positives about being cheesy. Anyway, I need some advice from all you classy people out there... how do you do it?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Wake up call

Yesterday I found out that a friend from high school was killed in a car accident. I hadn't really kept in touch with him since he left for his mission, but the news of his passing has really impacted me. Most of my memories of him are kind of blurry in my mind by now, but the one thing that really sticks out is his smile. I remember him as always being so cheerful and friendly to everyone around him. At this point, my heart is just aching for his poor wife. I've never met her, but in looking through some of their pictures together it is obvious that they were a great match. They clearly loved each other and brought a lot of happiness into each others' lives. To top it off, they just recently had a sweet baby girl. The last post in their blog before the accident was of him and his daughter together, with the caption, "daddy's girl." It just breaks my heart that their time together had to be cut so short.
All in all, it's been a big lesson for me that you never know how much time you will have to share your love with those around you. I also have to say that I feel like I've been through some really difficult trials over the last few years, but I just can't imagine passing through one like this. It makes me realize the ways I have been blessed without realizing it. Through everything we have gone through as a couple, I am so grateful to have Michael in my life. I know he will be a great father when the time comes and I am just praying that we will be able to grow old together and share our lives with each other. I guess sometimes life just doesn't go the way you plan. Anyway, you can probably see that I am having a hard time understanding why these kind of things have to happen, but I was just talking about how writing can be a great way to process emotions in my teaching writing class, so I thought, hey, why not give it a shot?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A New Post!

Welcome, gentle reader. I decided it's about time for a new post, since the customer service rant has been at the top for quite some time now, and it's not very inviting. However, I don't really have much to say lately. We are pretty much all moved in by now, that's pretty exciting. Tomorrow I am going to be done with all the classes for my TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) endorsement which I have been working on this summer. I have to say I am overjoyed with that occurrence. Other than that, not much is happening. I have been on a big reading kick lately and Mike has even joined in the spirit a little bit, which is fun. Usually while I'm in school I feel like I don't have time to read for enjoyment, but this term I have been reading anyway and I also get a chance to read more at my library job these days which is fun. Recently I have read the following books, most of them are young adult for my reviews with a couple exceptions: Wuthering Heights, La Línea, Catcher in the Rye, Thirteen Reasons Why, Tales of Terror from the Black Ship, The Locked Garden, Tales from Outer Suburbia, Wintergirls, If I Stay, Feed... and that's all that comes to mind at the moment. Currently I am trying to read some new YA books as well as read every well-known classic that I always hear about but haven't read. It's kind of embarrassing to be an English major and then not get some reference to a very popular book. So pretty much, I am trying to cover all of bases. It's kind of exciting. It's also kind of ridiculous how many books are in that category even though I have been studying literature for 5 years in college and all of junior high/high school. It makes sense though, because obviously there are way more books out there than I could ever actually begin to read. But I am trying to hit most of the highlights. Any suggestions?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Customer Service

One of my biggest pet peeves is poor customer service. Especially since most of the jobs I have had over the years have emphasized how important it is to give the customer/guest/member/fill-in-the-blank a good experience, I am always noticing the big or little things companies do to pass or fail in this category. In fact, I am sometimes frustrated that I can't personally give people better customer service because of unreasonable rules that I have to follow. In some cases they are necessary, but in others they are just poor customer service. I try to do all I can to help a customer, but in some cases my hands are tied. But, I always TRY and WANT to help... which is the key. Unfortunately, there are many people in the world who are completely clueless about this. One example of this was when Michael and I were having dinner at Chili's. We had a problem with our meal and we asked our waitress if she could do anything to make it right for us, to which she responded, "what's in it for me?" WHAT! Especially in this case, isn't it obvious? So Mike said, "your tip," duh.... and then she acted all offended and was like, "well, I don't play games with my tips." Well, lady, if you don't want to play games with your tips, don't ask customers what's in it for you for helping them! There are many other stories like this I could tell, but for today there is only one. Michael and I had a bad experience with a place we previously were fans of... in fact largely because of what we considered their good customer service. They have very fair return policies, etc.... However, today they really un"exceeded" my expectations, and I told them up front that I was going to prove true the saying that for every customer who has a bad experience, they tell 10 other people, so here is the e-mail that I submitted on their website:
"My husband and I had an absolute nightmare experience with the Lehi and Sandy Utah warehouses. The managers were completely incompetent at dealing with customers and providing the kind of service we would expect from a respected chain such as Costco. We have been looking for laminate flooring for our home at several different locations. We decided to go for a Costco brand due to a good deal we found at the Orem store, however the Orem store was five boxes short of the square feet we needed to cover for our new home (the style is being discontinued). Luckily, we were told that the Lehi warehouse had 19 more boxes. We decided to purchase one box in the Orem store and then get the full 19 from Lehi (this would leave someone with a semi-decent amount of flooring rather than taking half from each). However, once we got to Lehi we saw that the floors were being sold for $20 more per box. This was out of our price range, so we asked an employee if they could match the price from the other location. They said they absolutely could not and they have nothing to do with the other warehouse. They also told us that on another occasion some other costumers had come from Bountiful (a very inconvenient drive as well) and they had turned them down for a similar request. We asked if they could at least met us halfway on the price for the 4 boxes we needed, and they refused. We told them it would really mean a lot to make us satisfied customers, to which the manager responded, "I don't care if you are unsatisfied, we just need to make money." I could NOT believe that an employee, and even worse the manager, told me to my face that he DID NOT even care about how I felt or how much I had been mistreated as a customer. It absolutely disgusts me that Costco has such policies as ignoring the customers’ perceptions. Well, they may have saved $40 dollars more profit that night, but they lost thousands of dollars in a lifetime of memberships and other purchases that we will not be making. We couldn't believe that we had been treated this way, and we thought surely it must just be that one location. So, we tried going to Sandy where they had 12 more boxes. Again, we got a similar brush-off. This kind of greed and arrogance makes me sick. I see an urgent need for customer service training for your management and some kind of accountability for the dismissive and offensive way your general managers are allowed to deal with customers. They say for every bad experience a customer has, they tell ten people. I intend to inform at least this many of my friends and family about this experience and hopefully many more so they can be aware that these stores do not have their interests in mind and are only trying to make every penny off of them that they can. That is no way to run a business in the long term."

Am I crazy? I know we live in a capitalist society and, at heart, the purpose of most every business is of course to make profit. Yet, as I pointed out in my e-mail, in the long run, treating the customers well is how you make a profit. At the Cougareat we had to watch this cheesy movie called "give 'em the pickle" or something to that effect. It was about this guy who owned a restaurant and he got a letter from a lady saying she was very upset when she asked for a pickle and the waiter said it would be an extra charge, whereas before it had been free. She said she didn't want to visit the place anymore if that was how it was run. Obviously, the cost of a pickle is not very much in the big scheme for things for that business. However, for that customer, it really meant a lot to get that pickle. So, it changed his life, and now he makes customer service videos. Maybe some of what I said was an exaggeration, and I may shop at Costco again just because they do have good bargains. However, where I used to enjoy it, it will now pain me. Where I once saw Costco as my friend, it has now become my enemy, and I hate to fraternize with my enemies.

Well, people of America and abroad, even if you think I'm nuts and making a big deal out of nothing, just remember that what goes around comes around and try to make life better for the people you have to deal with instead of miserable. [Unless of course they treat you bad first and then you can go after them with everything you've got, which in my case isn't much besides my blistering rhetoric :)] This now concludes my rant, thanks for tuning in if you did!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Well, I have been wanting to post for awhile now, but feeling too guilty because I always have other obligations to meet first, for example school. Now, I still have things to check off my list but I am letting myself take a break for awhile because finals are over! Woo hoo! We have a few loose ends to tie up, but we are almost done! Unfortunately for me, I start school again on Tuesday.... majorly lame huh? Not even a week to rest! Mike will be taking the summer off of school so he has a nice long break.
Moving along... speaking of moving, Michael and I have major news that many people now know, but not all.... we are going to be homeowners! We are so excited. I have been looking for houses pretty much non-stop for the last few months and now I can finally stop and have a life. It was fun for me to look around, but it was starting to drive me crazy after awhile. Our deadline to close on the house is June 4, so we should be moving in soon after that. We will be in Springville and everyone is welcome to come visit. Here are some pictures of our little home:

This is the exterior view obviously. We had been looking to buy either a townhouse or a condo, but I am really happy we are going for a townhouse because I think the style is so cute! It reminds me of a dollhouse. The neighborhood seems nice from what we have seen so far. Hopefully we can make some new friends!

Here is a view of the living room, we will be putting in the pretend wood laminate flooring instead of the carpet. Partially because we would want to anyway, and partially because there is currently a square hole cut into the carpet. You see, we are buying the house from a bank and the previous owners were apparently not so happy to be leaving (which is understandable). We are getting a good deal, but it's kind of sad for whoever was here before... but oh well!

This is the kitchen, those appliances aren't there anymore, but it gives you the idea of how it will look.

This is our patio, shed, and very tiny "yard." :)

Here is the community pool and clubhouse. I think it will be pretty fun for the summer! I never actually used the pool at any of the previous apartment complexes I lived in, but maybe this is will be different because it will be mostly families instead of weird single people. No offense to single people... obviously I was one for a long time, but I'm not a huge fan of the guy/girl single people pool interactions. Anyway... I think it will be fun.

There a couple of playgrounds and a sports court for the neighborhood. One day I could bring our little child here... aww. Except, probably by the time we have a kid old enough to go play, we will be moving on to something a little bigger. But, I still like the idea of it! And we may be here long enough to make use of it, we'll see.

This is the floorplan to give you an idea. It is nothing fancy, but it more than meets our needs at this stage of our lives. We love it! We probably would have preferred 3 bedrooms because we have gotten used to having an office, and then that would give us space for an office and a room to save for a new baby. However, we really don't need it for now, so we will just have to figure out how to arrange everything when the time comes. It will be fabulous to have our own place, and all of our housing expenses will be about the same as what we had been paying for rent... and hopefully we will be able to get a little bit of it back in the end. Well, that's it for today, more updates to come later!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Teacher and a Librarian?

This semester I will be playing many roles... so many I am starting to go a little crazy already! This week I starting my teaching "practicum" as they call it, I will be working with two different teachers over the next couple months, basically as their slave. The idea is for us education students to learn to appreciate how much work it is to be a teacher. It seems that the class is essentially designed to terrify us potentials to the very core of our beings, with an occasional, "but, teaching is the best job ever!" thrown in to keep us hanging on. Anyway, it has been a little overwhelming, but I think I already pretty much knew what I was getting in to so I am not too afraid. The first teacher I am working with has been really nice. Plus, she is the mother of BYU football hero, Johnny Harline, which makes her a kind of celebrity-by-association according to me! Right now I am at Pleasant Grove High School and then for the end of the block I will be at Canyon View Junior High. I make it sound miserable, but it's not THAT bad. I will survive.
In addition to this, I got a second job to bring home a little more moola. Last semester I worked at the credit union in the mornings, but because of my school observation class, I had to switch to afternoons. They were nice in working with me, but I could only get about half the amount of hours scheduled that I had last semester. However, it worked out good because I think/hope my new job will really help me build my resume and prepare for my future career. I applied for a "juvenile reference assistant" position at the BYU library (thus the classic "sexy librarian" pic!), and they hired me, yay! It made me feel good that they chose me for the job even though my schedule wasn't as flexible as probably most of the other applicants, but they still thought I was the most qualified! Pretty cool! Before, I used to just want to get the easiest jobs possible because I was terrified of interviews and I didn't want to have to go through a lot of stress and competition to get a job. However, I am now starting to feel like I have a better understanding and abilibity to handle those kind of situations. It is mainly a matter of forcing myself to have confidence, and just make them (and myself) think that I am just obviously perfect for the job (or program, or whatever). Interviews still make me ridiculously nervous, but it is getting better, yay! Anyway, the job so far seems like it will be perfect. It is only about 12 hours a week, so I can still work both jobs and be okay, and it is very flexible. I haven't started my training yet, but my understanding of it is that I will basically be working on becoming familiar with the children's and young adult literature. I will be organzing the shelves and so on, but I will also get to read books and write reviews every month. I think it will be fun! We shall see!
Anyway, that is the current life of Alison. I will be trying to write in my blog more often then I have been because its kind of theraputic for me. As for Mike, he is doing good. He is still plugging away with design and his courses. He might post once in a blue moon if I force him. Or he could just at random if something interesting happens in his family, as he did a little while ago! Well, that's it for today!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Back to school!

Well, the holidays are over and it's back to school for Michael and me. This year we just stayed home in Utah for Christmas and New Year's. It was nice to have some time to relax, but it still went by much too fast! The first day of class was on Monday. This semester I am finally starting the education courses for my major. For those of you who didn't know, English Teaching is a limited enrollment major, so I had to do a ton of stuff to apply. After putting it off for a couple years, I finally got my application together and applied to the program... and I got in! YAY! This was around October. Michael also had to apply for his major of choice, Graphic Design. He had to submit a portfolio in order to be accepted into the program, and he finally did it too, and he also got accepted! Hooray! He just found out over the break. So, as you can see, we are finally starting to see the end of the undergrad. tunnel here in the Cañar household. Unfortunately, the tunnel is still a little bit long.

The main problem is we both have too much we want to study. Mike is hoping to finish a double major in Graphic Design and Latin American studies, and I am trying to see if I could graduate with Psychology as a double major as well, rather than just a minor. Mike still wants to apply for the BFA program in Graphic Design (right now he is in the BA track) which is more prestigous and can make it easier to get a job and start with a better salary. But, it will take a longer time in school. As for me, it is basically ridiculous to try and do more than just major in English Teaching because it is already designed as a 5 year program, but I just love Psychology so much! My goal/dream/wish is too get a PhD in a field related to Psychology one day (like when I am 50 and all of my now unborn children are grown-up). I would really like to do either Clinical Psychology or Marriage & Family Therapy. Maybe both! That would be amazing. Anyway, as you can probably see, there are just so many intriguing things to do and so little life! Michael's plan for after graduation to get an MBA (go to business school). Basically, there is definitely a lot of schooling left in our lives. But, we just have to take it one semester at a time, so here goes another one!