Friday, April 20, 2012

Walking Clean And Green: A Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) Challenge!

Systematically walking the neighborhood
brings fun, profit and a tidy environment!
This week's "Change The World Wednesday Challenge" s pretty simple:
"This week take a walk and pick up trash. Then, come back here and tell us what you found (photos of what you collected would be great)!" 
My walk back from the bus stop has 8 possible routes: two east-west streets and four north-south streets. I try to hit each route at least once a every two weeks, and 9 days out of 10pick up one or more aluminum cans and plastic bottles. The bottles go into my recycling bin and the cans, squashed, go into the old wicker basket in my back yard.
Earlier this week, I had to drive to some other chores, so I put the cans in the trunk and dropped them off at SoDo recycling. At 40 cents a pound, I went away with a clear profit, especially considering that I hadn't had to make a special trip - all the walking and the one drive were things I was doing anyway!
This sort of recycling won't make anyone rich, but every little bit helps. My neighborhood is a little bit cleaner, our economy is a little bit healthier, I had a fun chat with the guy at the recycling center ( you know that old cast iron sink I tossed last month? I could've recycled that too at 9 cents a pound. Oh well, live and learn!! ).
In her challenge, Reduce Footprints asked for photos of what I'd picked up on my walk and ... in a real sense ... it was the money pictured above. Go Green!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Re-roofing underway!

Midway through tearoff
with metal roofing in foreground
We're getting our house re-roofed!
When we bought this place, we knew the roof would have to be replaced, but we put it off on the grounds that patching leaks was easy and the cost of replacement would be high.
However, an analysis with Solterra Systems of Seattle and Portland showed us that combining solar electric panels on the south side with a roofing would pay off in the long run --- and we're here for the long run!
The tear-off started last week. Of course it's a mess right now but the end result will be great!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Go2Meeting Treated Me Right

I expected to lose some money in cancelling my Go2Meeting account, and was pleasantly surprised that it didn't happen. Since I freely criticize companies when they treat me shabbily, I feel obliged to point out when a company treats me well.
A few months back, I responded to a free 30-day trial of Go2Meeting. It's a very user-friendly facility for doing web conferences, and I had thought that I would be organizing some. However, the projects I was thinking of using it for didn't come through, so I didn't use it after a few experiments.
However, I neglected to close the account. The terms of the 30-day free trial were clear; after the 30 day period, they'd start charging me month-by-month. It is completely my fault that I didn't cancel the thing when I decided I wasn't using it; by way of explanation I'll point out that I've been very very very very busy, but that doesn't excuse my noncancellation.
I noticed a charge by Go2Meeting; it was hard to miss since they sent me an email notification. I decided I'd better get to it and cancel the thing before another month goes by, but a month goes by and I am reminded that I have cancelled nothing because Go2Meeting sends me another notification.
THIS gets my attention; I've recently started ranking "to-dos" in terms of immediate financial impact, and the monthly fee was a nice concrete impact that bubbled the item near the top of my list quickly. I called their customer service to cancel, hoping that if I acted quickly I could get the most recent monthly charge reversed. If they insisted on sticking to the letter of the contract, there's no way I could think of forcing them to reverse the charges, but I figured it didn't hurt to ask. After all, I had not used the product after the free trial period.
I was pleasantly surprised when the customer service rep, after checking my usage and hearing my intention to close the account because I didn't use it, told me that they were reversing all charges. Perhaps this sort of thing happens a lot and they didn't want to hassle with angry forgetful people, or perhaps they just wanted to maintain a good image; either way, it worked. I hope to need a service like Go2Meeting soon, and their ready willingness not to charge me for a service that I had not actually used ... even though the letter of the contract strongly suggested they'd be entitled to hold on to at least some of the money ... has left me with a very good impression of the values of the company. The rep mentioned that the account was being inactivated but if I ever needed their service, I could reactivate it anytime (for the usual monthly fee of course).
To complete the business, I received email notification of the refunds within a day; this is a huge contrast to the days or weeks of delays I have experienced with some other companies not to be named.
Clearly, if and when I need an internet conferencing solution, I will feel confident to go back to Go2Meeting.
Fair's fair ... the above is my unvarnished experience!
Here's their website:
http://www.gotomeeting.com

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