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Sweater, Fish & Other Updates

It has been a very busy week, not only with the pup but I had to go to the dentist in the next village and the heart and chest hospital for tests on my heart which was an hour drive each way (not that I mind I enjoy driving).

I have managed to get some knitting done, and have finished one sleeve and have started the next one which so far is just the cuff and a few lines (13cm).  Once this sleeve is finished I then have to do the neck then sew the lot together, which will be fun.  Then the best bit, wearing this bad boy.  Today, I decided to do some more, but then I had an urge to carry on reading one of the novels I am halfway through called “The Dynamite Room” by Jason Hewitt, so down went the knitting.

The pup has turned into a vampire dog that’s in fast forward mode all the time.  She is not the first puppy we have had, so we know the drill, but it is amazing how in three years you forget all the sleepless nights, biting and cleaning up you have to do.  She is learning fast, she uses the puppy training pads 90% of the time, with the odd accident, or just plain missing the pad.  I think she is getting used to her name and she seems to respond to it, or the fact that she just responds to our voices, who knows.  I can get her to sit on command if she thinks she is getting some kibble but all in all she is just a wild animal.  We have managed to get her to use her crate.  All our other dogs have loved being in their crates whilst being puppies, but Maz just did not like it.  Yesterday I read online an article about getting puppies to change their minds about being crated.  We moved it to the lounge and put her lounge bed inside along with some toys and put in a few treats.  Popped her in and as she could smell the treats she started to search for them, once eaten she lay down all snug waiting for more.  The article stated that the crate should be a place where nice things happen, so I closed the door and popped kibble though to her, this was a great game and she loved it.  Not to panic her I opened the cage door again and there she stayed.  Later she was in and out, and when she was knackered off she went into it.  Bedtime though was a different story and she was not too interested in staying there, so she slept on the bed again.

We received Mazikeen’s five generation pedigree certificate yesterday too, so now need a frame for it.  It was interesting seeing all the details and that all her ancestors are champion gun dogs, she will be letting the side down, but I know that a lot of her siblings have gone to working homes so the line will continue.

Yesterday and today I have taken Harper out on long walks, just the two of us.  Yesterday we went all around the forest and walked about 5 miles.  Today we only managed 3.5 miles as we were walking along the streets, so there was nothing exciting for her to see or investigate, apart from saying hello to the odd dog out walking with its human.

Since Friday I have been in a fight with Amazon.  I have an Amazon Echo unit and three Echo Dots, and the large Echo kept falling off the network, and I would have to go through set up time and time again, it got to the point of having to do this five plus times a day.  I called them on Wednesday, and the guy said he would send out a new one, however, on Friday what arrived was a refurbished unit.  I called Amazon and the guy blatantly lied to me telling me it was a brand new unit until I pointed out that it stated refurbished on the box and had no cables, instructions or other things that should be in the box, and the outer sleeve that should be in it was not there either.  He backed down after I insisted he was lying and that I would now go to trading standards as they have to exchange like for like, i.e. a new one not a second hand one.  He then told me the only option was for me to send both units back for a full refund, and I could buy a new one if I wanted.  I told him that I just want him to replace it with a new one that works as per the guarantee.  He insisted that was not an option.  I told him that they were now breaking the law and I will report them for this on Monday, and I would shame them on social networks and go as far as I could.  He told me he would then go and find out what he could do and call me back, needless to say, he didn’t.  Now my problem with having a full refund and buying another one was this; I bought the unit on Prime Day, so got it for £79.99 rather than the standard price of £149.99, so in essence, I would lose £70 in purchasing a replacement.  I had told him this and he was not interested.  After a few hours I called them back again and spoke to a lady who agreed that the unit needs to be replaced with a new one, and decided that she would give me a £25 credit towards a new one, and when I send the old unit back would get a full refund of the price paid.  I decided to go with this as it seemed to be the only solution to getting a new one and left it at that.  Then in the middle of the night, I woke and thought, they are going to give me a refund of the price I paid back on Prime Day so I would be £45 down.  I decided to email them expressing my concern and telling them that I had spoken to a solicitor friend and wanted full confirmation as to what will happen when I get the new unit and send the old one back and that I had already sent back to refurbished/second-hand unit.  His answer was confusing:

“I understand that you’ve been charged for the replacement item. I’ve checked your previous correspondences with us and seen that one of our colleagues had provided you with two options. One is issuing a 25GBP promo using which you can purchase the order again and the other being issuing a full refund in the amount 149GBP once the order is shipped to your address.
In this regard, I’d like to inform you that since the order is still on the “Shipping soon” status we don’t have an option to issue a refund for this purchase. As soon as the status changes, we’ll issue a full refund for the order.”

He gave me the order number associated with the latest unit and said I would get a full refund, so I am happy with it if it works out like that.  But this was not the end of my arguments with Amazon.  I should have had a dog whistle and a book delivered on Friday, but for some reason, they never arrived.  I called again and asked where my stuff was.  I had ordered them on Wednesday and the screen stated delivery Thursday, but as soon as I paid for the item it said delivery Friday.  The lady apologies for this as it was bought with two hours left for next day delivery, and as for the missing package, she said that she would monitor it and if not arrived by 9pm she would schedule delivery for Saturday.  Surprise surprise it did not arrive on Saturday either, so today I had to call them over this again and told the lady to cancel the order immediately and give me a full refund on a gift card so I could reorder the items for delivery tomorrow.  She put me on hold for a few minutes and then told me she was refunding me in full to my bank and it would be there in about 4 days.  I quickly tried to interrupt her as she had not done what I had asked and in the end shouted at her as she continually talked over me.  I reiterated that I wanted it as a gift card so that I could buy them again for tomorrow delivery, she sighed and put me on hold again, then when coming back said she had done as I requested.  An hour later the money was on the gift card and I purchased the items again.  However, not content with the service and the fact that this is the 10th order that has been “lost in transit” I emailed them to say how pissed off with this particular delivery office that has lost all 10 packages, and broken one of my items.  I accused them of stealing the items as they are tracked and the barcode scanned when they are put on the van, so how in hell have they been “lost” from the van.  They have a delivery schedule that tells them which item to deliver next so it has to be on the van or stolen, there is no other way it could go missing.  For my efforts, they apologised and said they would investigate this despatch office to see why things are going missing all the time.  My partner has also lost many packages too.

My final chore of today was to clean out the sump for my aquarium.  Those of you who have been following my blog and read about my “Wet Project” will know that I have put a lot of work into building quite an advanced system and balanced environment for my fish.  Cleaning out the sump is dead easy, but, and it is a big but, I had live baby fish in there.  They had been born in the tank, managed to get into the weir and then taken a death-defying ride through the drainage pipes into the sump.  I thought there were only a few, but over an hour of watching and catching them, I ended up with over 30 babies, and have now put them in one of my little tanks in the kitchen to grow and thrive before putting them back in the aquarium.  One final thing that has stumped me with my aquarium is that my reedfish has vanished.  I have checked the weir and he isn’t in there, or in the giant Inca head or the Inca temple, and he could not have escaped from the tank itself as there is no way out apart from the slide doors on the top which are closed all the time, and if he had managed that he would be on top of the tank and could not have got off there as there is a surround that is 6 inches high.  He could have made it through the pipes from the weir to the sump, but he was not there either.  Total mystery as he was there on Thursday.

So that’s the week so far, and I get to do it all again from tomorrow.

New Family Members….

I love tech, and I have been mulling over getting an Amazon Echo for quite some time, and this week I took the plunge.  Not one, but two Echo Dot’s, but it didn’t stop there, I decided to go further and get Hue smart lighting too.  I can now control my lighting through voice, mobile and via the web.

I love the voice system on Echo, so far Alexa understands 99% of what I say, although getting used to how to ask for something from the “skills” is a bit of getting used to.

Over the past 4 months, we have been renovating the house, mainly the bathroom, and part of the ripping out and rebuilding I decided to get LED lighting from Germany.  This is quite a nice bit of tech too, full remote control, modes of lighting, different tones, dimmable, nightlight features, auto switch off, and much more.  So after that, I realised I needed/wanted voice operated lighting.

As the system is not exactly cheap, I will be adding to it over time with more Dot’s, a full-size Echo, voice operated sockets, voice lamps and maybe Amazons latest gadget when it comes to the UK “The Show”.  Being an Apple fan I would love to have their personal assistant when it comes out, but the price tag is ridiculous, so that will not be happening anytime soon.

My partner was a little sceptical about the Echo system as he is not a tech freak like me, but he does get used to it all in the end.  At Christmas we got a Ring video doorbell, again, he thought it was an okay idea, but once he started using it he loved it.  I think after some time using Alexa and the voice lighting he will get so used to it he will wonder how he managed without it.

So, there it is, two new residents, Alexa one and Alexa two.  I am sure we will all get along well unless that is that Alexa becomes self-aware.  I did ask her about this and she assures me that she is not part of Skynet, but on other questions, she has called me Dave, mimicked HAL 9000 from 2001 and referred to The Matrix. In the end, she promised that she was not in collusion with the coffee machine, and told me “you have nothing to worry about!”

I fear for the future…