Thursday, November 29, 2018

Paper Plate Productions

Pork loin stuffed with pears and gorgonzola
Cooking is a relatively new interest to me. By relatively, I mean within the last five or six years, I started cooking on a regular basis. Within just the last year or so,  I've gotten into studying the science of food and flavor profiles. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I post a lot of food pictures.

Last night, a life-long friend named Andy commented on a picture I'd posted of my latest food experiment asking when I was going to start a cooking show. I didn't see his comment until this morning and I spit out my coffee, I laughed so hard. Not at his comment, but at the idea of videoing what I do in my kitchen. I responded that having my own show would likely be a train wreck and while that's probably true, it's likely that it would, at the very least, be an entertaining one.

There are three things you can count on in my house on a nightly basis:
1. Between 6-6:30 p.m., I will open my first beer (you can set your watch by it).  By now, I think anyone who reads these blogs (all two of you) know I like beer. Drinking commences when meal prep does. This is not negotiable. Drinking lasts until about 10 p.m. This IS negotiable on weekends or special occasions.
2. Dinner will be a production of copious amounts of food and curse words while cooking said food, (i.e. "This is why I fucking hate frying chicken... it splatters all over the damn place and OW... It got my EYE... this is how it ends....") along with intermittent spontaneous bickering about people trying to micromanage while I'm cooking and shouting like an old Scottish pirate, "Get oot of ma fecking kitchen!!!" at people and dogs alike, while pointing towards the doorway with my spatula.
Side note: I'm not Scottish, but some how my control freak issues when it comes to food preparation reduce me to a weird sort of brogue that comes across in a deep, manly voice. Yeah, I don't know why, either.
3. Dinner will always... and I mean ALWAYS be served on paper plates. Why? I don't have a dishwasher and bitches hate dishes. So yeah, I might make you a fine dining worthy meal, but you gon' get that shit on Dixie China. No, I don't care if it's steak... double up on those plates, yo... they were on sale this week. I got two more stacks of them under the counter.

Venison tenderloin stuffed with mushrooms and spinach
I do find it funny that (and I mean funny ha-ha) when I post my food pics on the various social media cooking groups I'm a member of and note that I'm the only one who shows off perfectly cooked venison stuffed with mushrooms and spinach sitting on a party-colored paper plate. Everyone else uses their real china (at least for photo purposes). But, I never much cared what anyone else did or thought. I hear my own drum.

My parents and other people who have known me for more than the last five or so years find it hilarious that I not only cook, but take such a passionate interest in it because up until recent years, I didn't cook. At all.
For one thing, I didn't have time. I worked sometimes 75 plus hours per week. When I was lucky enough to be home, I was too tired to even think about cooking. And once upon a time, there was a time when I might have had three or four pots and pans along with a few cooking utensils. Now, my cabinets are full of equipment and my whole body fills with joy going into the cooking department of any store. In fact, cooking stuff is now on my approved list of things I will voluntarily shop for along with rocks and books; rounding out my list to three items now. My Christmas and birthday lists literally consist of "Cooking junk".  Though I've always maintained a healthy collection of herbs and spices, but those were used for witchcraft... not food.

Turkey on rye paninis with tortellini pasta salad.
All veggies are home grown.
But really, if you think about it.... what is more important than the food you put in your body? I was really super late to the game in understanding how what we eat affects our health both mentally and physically. When my diet consisted mainly of the diner fare from the restaurant my office shared a building with, I was experiencing all of these health issues. I don't include my weight in this because I've always been chubby and after several years of eating "right", I still am. I've got a snails paced metabolism (tested and confirmed) and I hate working out, so....
That said, since I started preparing my own food from fresh ingredients, I lost a lot of the fatigue I struggled with previously and a lot of the health problems I had developed during my tenure as a prisoner at the newspaper. In my eyes, that's a win.

The health benefits are a definite plus, but I think one the things I enjoy most about feeding others (at my house I can feed anywhere from 2-20 on any given night) is seeing people react to what I made. Having someone I love appreciate that creation and comment on how well the pears work with the pork and spiced carrots (because flavor profiles are what I'm studying right now) means a lot.  I love that everyone in my little circle has a special thing that they ask me to make for them on their birthdays or just because.

Lemon chicken with house Lo Mein, Szechuan
green beans and egg rolls because mom asked for it.
Cooking is sharing. Not just the food, but the love and the emotion that goes into the feelings you have for those you feed and as I've said before on my Instagram posts, it's a form of spell casting as well that goes back centuries. Where do you think the idea of chicken soup for a sick person came from? It was often made with herbs blessed for healing. Or the idea of certain foods as aphrodisiacs? Uh, love spells.... Food is one of the purest forms of practical magic. Besides all that... cooking is FUN.

And who knows.... maybe one day I'll make a cooking video and invite all of you to watch my culinary shenanigans first hand.

Until then, you can follow me on:
Instagram: dailgneachd
Twitter: @LucyMagilicutt2

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

When Good Guys and Good Service Come Together...

The 2018 Kia Stinger GT.
I’m a firm believer in how a person treats service personnel (any member of the service industry in general) is a clear indicator of character. On the flip side of that, I’m a firm believer in how service personnel treat customers is an equally telling trait of both the employee and the company they represent. 
I’ve called out shitty corporations and branches for not only their shoddy work, but also their terrible customer service (still flipping you the finger, Camping World) and that’s all well and good because believe you me, if you’d read the Yelp! and other reviews posted on the internet, you’d see they deserved it. 
But what about the good businesses? The ones that go above and beyond to make your experience a great one? Who have all the power to really ruin your day, but instead make you actually look forward to dealing with them even under not so great circumstances? Do these guys ever really get credit? If they do, I’m thinking it’s not nearly enough, so I want to change that in my little corner of the world. 
Two years ago, I bought a car from my local Kia (Carriage) dealership. I was really dreading the process because not only is it long and drawn out, but once you put the first of twenty thousand signatures down on those sales papers, that salesperson is off quicker than a high school girl’s prom dress. They no longer remember your name, your face or anything about you. So I was kinda surprised at the way our sales guy handled us. Yeah, he was definitely professional, but he was also kind as well as friendly in a genuine way that you don’t often find in the car business. I figured we must have lucked up and got the one salesperson that wasn’t more concerned about the sale than the person they’re saddling with a payment over the next three to five years. He actually talked to us and not just about the car we were looking at. 
I don’t know if you know it or not, but buying a Kia comes with an amazing incentive package. It’s pretty sweet deal and MOST of the reason why I went with that brand, but I'd be lying if I said the people working there didn't factor largely in my decision also.
Anyway… I took the car in for its first scheduled maintenance about three or so months (I don’t really remember) after I bought it. Right away, the man who sold us the car recognized me and came up to chat for a bit, which I thought was pretty cool. But it was the service department that really got my attention. 
*Side note: since I’ve been driving and out on my own, we’ve always done the maintenance on our own cars, mainly because we never owned anything new and working on them ourselves was a hell of a lot cheaper than paying mechanics. *End Side Note
So, they get done with my car and the dude comes out of the service bay and I was blown away at how nice he was. My one experience with a mechanic was the guy in my old hometown in NC who checked out my ’78 Firebird because I couldn’t figure out why one of the sparkplugs kept fouling out and after changing it a gazillion times myself, I took it up to him. He charged me $300 for an anti-foul plug and a rotor button I hadn’t even asked for and could have changed myself, plus labor. The plug did not fix the issue, either. Not to mention he had the car for two weeks before it was ready to be picked up. Hence my wariness. 
I was a lot poorer back then than I am now, but still, the idea of paying someone to work on my vehicle makes me twitch a little. I mean, that old mechanic couldn’t even manage to be decent when he had his hand out asking for money I really didn’t have and kept my only vehicle for half a month for a thirty-minute fix that ended up not being a fix at all. Is it too much to ask for a little romance beforehand?
And here this Kia guy just performed all my services for free and afterwards, he set about explaining to me what was done and what needed to be done next trip. He didn’t ‘mansplain’ anything, he didn’t talk down or try to talk in circles, and I liked that. A lot. Because, I do know a thing or six about cars but usually any knowledge I might have gets discounted by anyone with a penis, cause you know… I’m a chick. We’re supposed to know about chick stuff like clothing, which apparently that gene was skipped in my DNA, because half the time I look homeless.  When I don’t, it’s because my mama bought my clothes. Remember, I suck at adulting (re: I’m Notoriously Bad at Adulting).
I digress… 
Back to cars. I have singlehandedly reattached a fuel line while I had a toddler on my hip, in the middle of the night, in the ghetto of the town I lived in, complete with gangs and drive-by’s on the next street over. I rebuilt a 4-barrel carburetor on a television tray in my living room earlier the same evening. I’ve done plugs and wires, changed out coils, brakes, distributors, ignitions, solenoids, alternators, belts, and radiators, as well as dropped pans on transmissions and fixed air conditioners in vehicles I’ve owned. 
Why? Let me say this again…. I WAS POOR. I had no choice but to learn, even though there were times, I did enjoy it. Like when it wasn’t a necessity for me to use the vehicle to get back and forth to work but that was rare.
Thankfully, I had a dad who let me help do things like work on brakes or change out valve cover gaskets and the like. Thankfully also, I married someone with big hands who needed my much smaller ones to get into those hard to reach engine areas. I learned how to change a harmonic balancer, set timing, reattach the transmission to the engine (that was an education). The rub is most everything I’ve ever worked on was pre-1984. You know, before they put chips and computers in cars as a regular practice. When it comes to the newer stuff, I’m pretty lost, though I did my share of work on my old Chevy Corsica, my old Ford Taurus and my much beloved Ford F-150 (I still miss that truck), but it was simple stuff; just regular every day maintenance and wear items like the MAF sensor or EGR, until suddenly, it wasn’t and it was beyond my capability to fix the issues. That’s where the Kia came in. The truck had had enough. It was twenty years old, I’d owned it for twelve of those years and there was no more fixing it. Not within my financial ability anyway. 
 But Kia not only afforded me a car that I could financially wrap my head around paying for, it also provided a really great service package with it, so it was kind of a win/win for me. 
There was even an instance in that first year when I took the car up for service and I was so sick I could barely hold my head up. Those guys came into that customer lobby periodically while my car was being worked on, just to check on me and to make sure I had everything I needed. That was going above and beyond in my book. Most people would have treated me like I had Ebola rather than the mother of all colds.
I’ve had the car for two years now. Two years worth of oil changes and standard maintenance has been done at the dealership where the car was purchased and each time, I’m so damn pleased with the quality of customer service I get. I don’t think they know just how rare it is to have a business treat its customers that way. 
These guys are seriously so great that I’ve had to take the car up twice in last few days because the check engine light keeps coming on, (turned out to be bad fuel related) and I didn’t mind. 
The service prices are also so affordable that I kinda scratch my head at how other shops can get away with charging so much for just oil changes or tune-ups. I don’t get it, but then, I guess I don’t have to, just like I don’t have to work on my own car anymore. 
Carriage Kia has made me a fan of both the brand and their name. They've also ensured I’ll keep doing business with them when it comes to scheduled or non-scheduled maintenance or when it’s time to trade up to that Stinger I’ve got my eye on. ;)
Honestly, thanks guys for being so great; especially this past week when the Georgia heat was being a bitch and so was my car. 

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Twitter: @LucyMagilicutt2

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Life ain't always about me....

Life ain't always about me, y'all, so today, I decided to celebrate an exciting event for a sister writer. Below you'll find her blog which I totally stole. She's releasing her latest book and doing an amazing give away. You'll find a link to the contest here:
Her books are pretty amazing so give them a try!
Here's a preview of the prizes!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

RELEASE WEEK GIVEAWAY - $50 Amazon gift card and more up for grabs!

Windswept is HERE y'all! And with it comes a category 5 giveaway. Don't you just love a good storm?

Up for grabs:
* $50 Amazon gift card
* Custom leather Kindle cover inspired by Wildwood and hand detailed by Rockstar Custom Leather
* Custom leather bronc halter hand detailed by Rockstar Custom Leather
* Signed paperback of Wildwood, book #1, with bonus swag
* Signed paperback of Windswept, book #2, with bonus swag

How do you enter? Why, spread the word about Windswept, of course! Use the Rafflecopter form below to submit your entries. The giveaway opens Tuesday, May 22nd, and ends Saturday, May 26th at the stroke of midnight. Winners will be selected at random by Rafflecopter within 48 hours of closing.

Windswept is on sale NOW for just $1.99 on Amazon for Kindle. If you haven't read Wildwood yet, you're in luck, because it's also on sale for just $2.99.

Check out an excerpt from Windswept:
“Our enemies are close," Maris whispers, her gaze shifting from me to Jayce and back again. "Too close. If we all join hands, I will be able to seal our sounds inside so we can speak freely.”
“How do I know you’re not an enemy, too?”
“You don’t.” She flexes her fingers, but waits for me to decide to make contact.
“For Pete’s sake, Tanzy. This isn’t The Bachelorette Candidates’ special edition. You’re not getting married. You’re just casting a damn spell.” Jayce grabs my arm with one hand and Maris’s arm with the other, and joins us together. “There. Hashtag let’s-do-this-already,” she says, clamping her palms in ours to complete the circle.
Maris suppresses a smile and closes her eyes. I deny a shudder of nervousness and force out a long, slow exhale.
“Air and water join us here, use our light, and make a sphere. Seven colors round and round, shield our circle, hide our sounds,” Maris commands. She repeats the incantation two more times. The air warms and thickens. A growing charge pulses through my arms like an electric current.
Maris falls silent. Everything does. The mist continues to drizzle, blanketing the muddy earth and barren trees, but the steady hiss has vanished. Even though we sit within a few steps from the creek, I can’t hear it. With a start, I realize it must work both ways. No sounds in. No sounds out.
“We are safe to speak, but it won’t last long.” Maris slips her hand from mine. Her charcoal skin is pale in places where I’d unwittingly tightened my grip. Will I ever learn how to use the horse’s strength deliberately?
I rub my clammy, filthy hands together, trying to make them warm enough to stop shaking. They’re sweaty with nervousness, and the rust-colored film on my hands rolls into beads. It’s not gritty like the dirt I clung to when I climbed out of the ravine at Wildwood. It’s smooth, and presses flat into tiny flakes wherever I push down.
This is not earth.
This is dried blood.
David Andrews’s blood, caked in the webbing between my fingers and crusted beneath my nails.
The sound of his last, sputtering breath echoes in my brain. I let out a cry and wipe my fingers violently against my dress. Copper streaks the wrinkled white linen within seconds. The color leaves my hands, but there’s no relief from its weight, its smell.
 “What’s wrong?” Jayce’s voice is an octave too high. “Is that blood?” She sniffs at the air. Her pupils dilate as she arrives at her own conclusion.
I can’t summon the focus to answer—can’t stop trying to make my hands clean. From the expression on Maris’s face, she’s seeing the memory of me strangling Vanessa’s husband. The image of life leaving his eyes. The nightmare I can’t wake from.
Her gaze trains on Asher’s mark, and she brings an open palm to the brand. Heat crawls across my chest, but I’m frozen in place. My arms don’t heed the mental command to bat her hand away. Two of the circles turn black, shimmering like the coming night, and then fade back into the appearance of an old scar.
 “When did this happen?” She regards me with new distance, studying my face like I’m a complete stranger.
“Vanessa tricked me into believing her husband was attacking her. She told me he would kill her. She set me up. She made me believe . . . I thought he was Asher.” The confession tumbles from me, heavy and slipping.
“You’ve killed someone?” Jayce asks, her throat constricting around the words.
“She has taken two lives. Two of these rings belong to her now,” Maris says. Her fingers curl. She stares past me. I risk a glimpse of Jayce, whose face falls from brazen to defeat within a single second.
“Tell me about the first,” Maris orders, her mouth forming a grim line.
“An Unseen attacked Vanessa in the woods. I got between them. He picked me up by my throat and I . . . exploded,” I whisper. “I didn’t want to kill him, but he kept coming.” The memory plays in front of my open eyes. “If I hadn’t killed him he would’ve killed me.”
“Doesn’t matter. She’s useless.” Jayce shakes her head and mutters under her breath.
“I’m not useless.” My fingernails dig into my palms.
“Yes. You are,” Jayce growls.
“Enough,” Maris says. “This is Hope’s fault. She chose to keep Tanzy in the dark, and this is the price. Tanzy, you can’t kill anyone else, Seen or Unseen, for any reason.”
“A third kill, and you belong to Asher,” Jayce adds, focusing her icy glare on my face.
All the air is sucked from my lungs. I was under the impression the three circles had everything to do with Spera. How could I have missed this? A mental path quickly links the two lives I took, and arrives at one common denominator: Vanessa. She’s masterminded every move I’ve made since waking with the horse’s Vires blood coursing through my veins. She must know what will happen if I take a third life.
It’s an insurance policy, I realize. If I won’t use the Vires strength for Asher, I can’t use it at all.

*  *  *

Click here for the Amazon listing for Wildwood
Click here for the Amazon listing for Windswept

Want another taste test? Check out snippets, features, reviews, and more on my Instagram page.

Thank you so much for celebrating Windswept's release week with me! If you win the gift card, what will you splurge on? Comment below!

Tanzy's journey continues in Windswept, Book #2 in the Hightower Trilogy.

An Unseen World believes Tanzy Hightower is the key in an ancient prophecy meant to deliver the only new birth in all of time. They have waited a thousand years for her soul to return to life in human form. Some of them will stop at nothing to fulfill the prophecy, and others have sworn an oath to end Tanzy’s existence, permanently.
Tanzy’s body is compromised. Her veins are now home to the blood of a savage, wild horse, and its instincts are becoming impossible to control. Her world is also divided. She is determined to rescue Lucas, an Unseen creature who has loved her since her first life, and to find her treasured Harbor and the other stolen horses, which are bound for a catastrophic end in a world she can’t access on her own. Yet the only allies she has left insist she seeks refuge in a remote safe house on the Outer Banks.
While her fellow candidates beg her to stay in hiding, new enemies work to draw her out, making it clear Lucas and the horses are hers for the taking. But Tanzy knows all to well that when your loved ones are used as bait, finding them is only the beginning.

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Ramble on, y'all.

Monday, May 14, 2018


True to form, it’s been awhile since I last posted so this entry will just provide a little bit of an update about what I’ve been up to since January and the Great Camper Kidnapping Caper of 2017 (which also ran into 2018).

Brief summary of that… Camping World did not step up to fix the issues, actually ended up causing more damage, which they refused to repair UNLESS my parents signed a document saying they would be legally responsible for anything I wrote about their company. I had no idea I was that important or that they thought my blog reached copious amounts of readers but I did appreciate the ego boost, so thanks for that, Camping World! Needless to say, my parents didn’t sign, the repairs weren’t made, and Camping World is not the reason I haven’t blogged since then (in fact, fuck you, Camping World and fuck your face).

Life is the reason I haven’t written to you guys in a while. Since shortly after my last post things have just skyrocketed in terms of life for me. Some good, some not so good, but in short, I’ve just been busy living and being present. Wedding season started early for me this year, which has been sort of a juggling act because unlike in the years before where weddings were structured, weekend events, I have had a plethora of people who are asking to be married mid-week, mid-day in spur-of-the-moment ceremonies. I can’t complain because I love what I do and I’ve appreciated each couple that has found their way to me. 

My daughter, son-in-law, and grandson also moved out earlier this year and that was a little bitter sweet. While we managed to coexist living in the same house for over two years, no house is big enough for two families and they needed their own space in order to start their own family dynamic. I can’t tell you how proud I am of both of them, though adjusting to them (and most importantly, the baby) not being here has been a bit of a struggle. 
I love my kid. She can be a pain in the ass (she gets that from me) but she is literally one of my best friends and while most in-laws can be less than crazy about the people their children marry, her husband is also one of my best friends, so it’s been a little bit lonely here without their company and conversation. But as much as I miss them, I miss my grandson the most. They moved an hour and a half away which made it all the harder, but it’s been worth it to see them all growing and thriving in their new environment (this makes it sound like a wildlife documentary that is narrated by a slightly gruff British, low-toned voice… “See the young wife nesting in her new habitat while the husband goes out foraging in order to provide for her and their young…”) doing what a new family needs to do and establishing their own place in the world. Did I mention how proud I am of them? 

And then…

At the end of this past March, I lost my aunt Dawn, someone who because of the closeness in our ages was more sibling than my mother’s sister to me. Some of you know and are aware of how large my family is as well as how close knit we all are. 
Just to those not in the know, I grew up with 9 aunts and 3 uncles, though I wasn’t close to two of those uncles and one of those aunts. I had a fourth uncle but he died as a toddler long before I was born. I also have upwards of seventy first cousins and out of those seventy, around forty-five to fifty of us talk and communicate on a regular basis, as well as second cousins and so on. When I say we’re close, I mean it.
My aunts are just under my mother in my ranking scale of important women in my life. In fact, our specific squad of moms, aunts, nieces, and cousins are affectionately referred to by ourselves as well as others as the Blonde Bitch Club, or the “BBC,” for short. 
Dawn wasn’t just my aunt, or even just a family member to me. She was also a big sister and my friend. We were only 6 1/2 years apart which meant we played together, grew up together and for me and both of my brothers as children, it was like having another sibling. She was a bride’s maid in my wedding. Her daughter was bride’s maid my daughter’s wedding, etc.
As those of you who read these blogs know, I lost a brother in 1993 and it was a moment in my life I struggled for years to make peace with. Dawn’s death was as painful and was the second hardest loss of my life though now as an adult, I have the tools and am much more equipped at dealing with my feelings and emotions than I was at 17.
You can rationalize, even when it hurts, the death of your grandparents or even your parents after a certain point because you know people age and the body wears out and death is an eventuality in that regard. It still hurts to lose them and it’s tragic, but it’s not the acute gut-wrenching pain of losing someone who isn’t even fifty yet and who is just gone in the blink of an eye from an illness that snuck up when no one, including her was even looking. 
But I will say this, as much as it fucking sucked to say goodbye to her, I was so lucky to have spent those horrible moments with my gigantic, loud, emotional, loving, crazy family. Death is hard and most times unwanted, but it can also be a beautiful experience. Standing there at Dawn’s Celebration of Life memorial service among uncles, aunts, cousins, my parents and the rest of my family was a beautiful, sweet experience that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life even though I hated every second of the reason we had to be there. 
I’ve heard and seen for myself that death can sometimes divide a family, bringing anger, resentment and sometimes even greed to the surface but my family, time after time, has always proven our love for each other and that the bonds that we share with one another are so much stronger than just the proclaiming of a family tie. I’m grateful to have them. And Dawn’s husband, my “Uncle Kev,” is one of the strongest human beings I have ever encountered. He could have been angry and bitter. He could have retreated. But he didn’t and he hasn’t. I watched him forgive people that day that he had every right to be hate-filled towards. I watched him lift others out of their own guilt or pain in spite of what he was experiencing himself. Being able to hold a person who hurt you and give them forgiveness and peace makes Kevin a personal hero in my eyes because I know it wasn’t easy. I know the depth and strength it takes to do that because I’ve had to do it a few times myself. 

After Dawn’s passing, I came back to Georgia and threw myself into the finishing of Songs in the Key of Life, which included writing some song lyrics, something I haven’t done since my early adult years. This book has been a challenge and it’s almost done with the exception of some further tweaking and editing I’m hoping to complete in the next few weeks. Y’all know how much I hate this part of the process, so yes, I’ve been dragging my feet a bit.
I’m crossing my fingers that this one will be out at least by July 4th, but I ain’t lying when I say, it’s been a monster in trying to find a happy medium between the past these two characters share and the present when they find each other again. There have been more than a few times when I’ve thought I bit off way more than I can chew and have been tempted to just table it for the time being but I’m nothing if not stubborn so I haven’t quit on it yet. It took five years to write the first Bimini and while I’m definitely hoping that will not be the case with SitKoL, I’m willing to keep fine-tuning it until I feel I’m giving my readers the best work of fiction I’m capable of writing. It’s what I expect when I buy a book with my own hard-earned money, so I’ll accept no less for you. 

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Twitter: @LucyMagilicutt2

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Monday, January 8, 2018

The Great Camper Kidnapping Caper of 2017

I don't generally enjoy calling people out. If you read these blogs, you'll see that while I'm hefty on self-criticism and making fun of myself, for the most part, (except in the blog post Why I WILL Be Seeing the Shack) I leave others out of my drama. But, when the stupidity of someone or something invades my life and then so blatantly leaves its self open... well, I can't resist. Especially when my family is involved. (Don't mess with my mama... or my dad, for that matter...)

My parents are senior citizens. A fact I don't like facing, but a fact, never-the-less. They worked hard their entire lives so they could go and do fun things during their retirement. In hopes of this, they bought a camper a few years ago. A really nice one, at that. They use it for trips, like the one we took to the Arkansas Diamond Mines together but they also use it to come down here to visit me, their granddaughter and now their great grandson. The camp site where they stay is close to my house. The camper affords them the luxury of being able to have their privacy and a little bit of peace from the chaos that sometimes is my home. It also gets used as a little guest house for when we have large family gatherings at their farm.

During one of our trips together, we noticed some warranty items which were beginning to fail. Once home, they took it to their local Camping World in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where it was originally purchased. A few weeks went by, my mom decided to call to check on the status. She was told they were waiting on the warranty department to approve the repairs. She called the warranty department, which told her they'd approved the repairs just a few days after it'd been dropped off. A week after that, it was waiting for the parts. A week after that, it was that the parts were in and they were fixing it "as we speak".

I won't go into the entire three month debacle of back and forth, but suffice it to say, as of last Thursday, no one (including corporate) could even give a status update on the camper or even if it was still located at the Fayetteville lot. At this point, I'd have been happy for a photo of one of the service guys standing by the camper with a daily newspaper to prove it was even still on the premises. Man, I wish I'd had suggested that earlier....  >_>

So here we have a unit that my parents are paying $360 per month on, which is basically being held hostage and no one can tell us why. When my mom reached the end of her rope in dealing with the Fayetteville location, I got involved. I figured maybe contacting the corporate office would help shed some light on this issue because let's face it... Who wants to pay $400 a month for something they can't use and no one will let you know what the hold-up is in repairing? Just seemed fishy to me. Never mind that the camper was awful new to be having these issues to begin with, but shoddy craftsmanship is another matter entirely.

So, I twittered Camping World corporate and I received an immediate response to which I was pretty impressed because you know, the Fayetteville location was no longer taking calls from my parents (thanks for nothing, Steve....). I spoke with a lovely guy at corporate named Mark, who at the time, agreed with me that (at the two month mark by this time) it was concerning to still not have the camper and more so, no communication regarding its status. He assured me he'd contact my parents first thing as well as get to the bottom of whatever was going on. Mark gave us his direct number and said we could call him anytime. 24 hours passed, he didn't contact my parents, so my mom contacted him instead, using the number he supplied. Someone else picked up and said Mark was not in. The next day he did call her back saying he'd had car troubles and hadn't been into the office the previous day when he was originally going to call her. My mom and Mark discussed at length the issues with the Fayetteville location and Mark genuinely appeared to want to help.

My mom was impressed with him as well which was pretty surprising because she isn't easily taken with anyone. Mark assured her and my father that the camper was indeed in repairs and should be ready within a matter of days. So another weeks goes by. This puts us into December. Mind you, they've had the camper now since the first week of October. Mark stops communicating suddenly as well as returning my parents phone calls. So I twitter Camping World again and get a response from someone named Ella, saying she was looking into the matter. No word ever comes back, so I twitter again and get a different person who tells me the same thing. My parents get a call that day from the service department of the Fayetteville location, telling them the parts were being delivered (after they'd already said the parts were delivered weeks ago) and they were making it a priority to get the repairs done.

That was three weeks ago. When my mom asked if they could just come pick the camper up, there was a lot of stuttering and stumbling before excuses were made and a promise of a "Let me call you back on that", was made. No call back happened. (I need a job with this company because apparently an unwillingness to do one's job is what it takes to succeed. I could work them all under the table...)

So I took to twitter again and launched a public campaign against Camping World, tagging not only the corporate office but also it's CEO, Marcus Lemonis, whose previous tweets to those complaining about this company was to tell said people that he would speak with them privately to resolve the issues. I guess I'm too much of a peon to warrant Mr. Lemonis's attention and that's OK.  In my tweets, I asked for transparency and not to have any more private messages that included the platitudes of "we're looking into this matter," etc.... Because the time for platitudes had long passed. (I'm nice until I'm not)

Camping World blocked me. Why? Because I refused to be placated with the pats on the head they were giving my parents and I? Because I demanded finally after three months and four days to know what was going on with a camper that was NOT their property but located ON their property? Or because I demanded transparency? I demanded public answers since private correspondance hadn't yielded any? Because they're crybabies and couldn't handle a little public criticism? I don't know why. The reason doesn't matter, I guess, but I do think corporate was aware that something less than stellar was happening at the other location and rather than be honest about it, decided to try and shut me up by blocking me. Jokes on them... my parents have tried to shut me up for years. They'll tell you what an impossible task it is.

But, I don't mind being blocked (because I'm not a crybaby) from tagging them on Twitter because social media is as vast as the universe and between all the consumer complaint sites, facebook, blog sites.... the list goes on... Twitter is just a drop in the bucket. While they might be able to block me from tagging them in my tweets, they can't stop me from hashtagging them. #idowhatiwant #paymyinternetbill #thenwecantalk

On day 95 of what I dubbed The Great Camper Kidnapping Caper of 2017, after some thought, I decided to email the local sheriff's department regarding this matter because I'd begun to suspect (yes, suspect) that perhaps someone at the Fayetteville location made an error after the camper was repaired and maybe it had been accidentally sold (shit happens and things get moved to the wrong side of the lot), or even perchance it was stolen or vandalized while on their lot (because this also happens) and corporate was stalling in an attempt to give the local place time to either recover the camper or repair any damage it sustained. It wouldn't have been Camping World's fault if someone had done damage to that camper while it sat on their lot, that's what insurance is for. If it'd been accidently sold, that would have been human error too and no one is perfect, just admit the mistake and move on. Any time you've got human hands involved, errors happen.
But I think the important thing to note here is, to mega corporations like Camping World, consumers like my parents are disposable, insignificant and apparently not entitled to explanations. Camping World is more concerned with covering up mistakes than owning them. A smaller business that depends on its good name for its continued success might have (I hope) treated a senior couple with a little more care and honesty. I think Camping World fails to realize honesty goes a long way with most people. Admitting your mistakes does, also. My parents made mistakes, too. The most recent being buying a camper from such a dishonest company who fails completely at consumer satisfaction.

I'm sure Camping World is aware of the horribly awful reviews of their company that have been posted nationwide. I'm sure good ol' Marcus is aware of the meme circulating Facebook regarding his wish that Trump supporters not shop in his stores. I guess negative publicity is still publicity when you're as big as he and his brand are, but to him I say this... I don't care about political views. Not yours, not the people who shop in your stores, and certainly not the people who work there. I do, however care about the way you conduct your business. When 98 percent of the comments on a political post about you aren't about you at all, but rather Camping World's inability to produce a quality product at a reasonable price and provide polite, informative, educated employees to serve its customer base, along with a repair staff who seem to be rather inept and incapable of doing the tasks to which they're paid to do, in a timely manner, maybe (I'm just putting this out here) it's time for restructuring. Starting at the top with your lack of leadership. After all, leaders should lead by example. It worries me what example you've set for your employees for them to be so cavalier in their treatment of others.
You literally hold the hopes and dreams of a lot of senior citizens (not to mention other people that have invested their family vacations in your product) who have been looking forward to their "golden years" and the days when they can jump in their campers or RV's to go explore a nation they spent their youth building. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect as well as to have every single employee in that company treat them as if they were dealing with their very own parents or grandparents. Instead, you allow them to be taken advantage of. You allow them to be lied to. Given the run around and left ever-questioning what's being done with property some of them have spent their lives saving to buy. That makes you a shitty human being, Marcus. It also makes Camping World, which is a reflection of the person leading it and vice versa- a shitty corporation.

Marcus posted a Tweet yesterday, criticizing Sears for its loss of 100 more stores. He says, "
Of course they are. Poor leadership destroyed a great brand and solid employees. Kill morale, assort bad product and extract every last dime and there you have it. “It’s a real estate play” yeah we see that."

Well, Marky Mark, maybe you should step back and take a look at your own business practices because that's where you and your Funky bunch are heading, too.

Incidentally, a miracle occurred a mere four or five hours after contacting Cumberland County Sheriff's Department with my questions, which included whether or not there had been any reported incidents of theft or destruction of property from that business.... My mom received a phone call from Camping World informing her the camper had been repaired and was available for pick-up.

Coincidence? Maybe... Probably. Maybe they were just super sick of me blowing up their Twitter feeds and of hearing from my family or maybe they actually decided 95 days was long enough and they needed room on their lot for another sucker's property. Whatever the reason, Camping World and I broke up. I can't say I'm sorry or that I'll miss them, though I'd love to cash in on some alimony from this dysfunctional relationship.
And to Mark, who is head of the CST up there in Corporate Colorado, I just want to say, "I ain't mad atcha... Play on, Playa."

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