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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.kymberlieingalls.com/p/editing-services.html

Monday, March 25, 2013

Going To The Dogs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNyY3NSZezo



We have entered Bizarro Land.  There's no turning back when Fox News' Bill O'Reilly actually has a point in his pocket, and at the expense of fellow conservative Michele Bachmann no less.
The United States is a land of excess, a land of waste, and the purple mountains are rapidly turning shades of stark reds and icy blues.  We have taken what was once a million scenes of glory and are destroying our lush resources. 
This is what we do.  
Power to the people!  And whoever has the most power wins.   
Bachmann has thrown her aimless dart at the supposed excess lifestyle of President Obama and his family.  If she wanted to shove examples down our Godless throats, she could have gone any number of ways, but chose instead to bring "statistics" from an unknown, unsourced book.  What is wrong with people in the spotlight that they can't be bothered to back up what they sling?  Yes, we all have opinions.  I'm guiltier than most of tossing mine out to the wide web.  I'm not stating it as fact, however, and this is the mistake our lady Michele makes time and again.  When has President Obama excessed any more so than previous Chiefs? 
What is wrong with us that we support people like her, put them into office with every election, as our corner of the world crumbles around us?  Too many of us are down and out, and like Rocky Balboa we need a serious comeback.  Toby Keith heralded us into victory after 9/11, but it was a fleeting togetherness painted on a flimsy patriotic canvas. 
Our society is government-run, but has become completely ineffective in its power.  Few people really receive the help they need.  They are sent to stand in lines, fill out paperwork that too many can't even read.  or disregarded completely like litter on the street that we want to ignore, while we go on in our blind ambles to spend money we don't have, shove too much food in our bellies and judge those we do not know. 
Isn't our country just the bestest like that?  Yes, we have it better than so, so many.  But at what cost?   How many of us put a price tag on our souls and sold it at the nearest Nordie's?  I wish people would wake up to the disrepair we are in, not just economically but humanly too.  Really take a look around, but use our hands as well as our eyes. 
I'm no saint, but I know the difference between what is right, and what is just absurd.

 

 

(c) Kymberlie Ingalls, March 23, 2013


 

 

(c) Kymberlie Ingalls, March 23, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Ballad Of Superwoman And Bandita

 
Alicia Keys - Superwoman


Let me tell you about my recent life. 

I received the news that my friend Byron had passed away, expectedly but still, it's never easy.  I found out an hour after hearing this that another classmate of mine was killed in a horrible car crash.  On this rainy night, my memory was spiraling with my own remembrance of squealing brakes and spinning uncontrollably. 
One week later, I was having an empowerment day; trying to raise myself out of my funk, singing loudly along with the stereo "I aaaamm Suuuuuper Womannnnnn... yes, I ammmm"  when BAM... my world was turned upside down in a blinding collision as one careless woman whipped her car in a u-turn directly in front of me at a high speed.  I had nowhere to go but into her car, my own fishtailed everywhere, I was spinning once again, jolted as my car slammed into the median, severed a street sign sending it twenty feet down the road, and Bandita came to fatally rest on what was left of the post.

 
I anxiously awaited the news on my beloved beauty, my husband and I were involved in another minor collision two days later with a careless motorcyclist. 
Four days after that, after I'd exhausted myself playing police detective to prove my case and expedite proceedings with the insurance, I picked up my rental car and made it one block and through an intersection when a pedestrian stepped off of the curb directly behind my car, leaving the woman driving the SUV behind me no time to stop.  Terrified when I heard the squealing brakes yet again, I stared in horror at my rearview mirror to see the elderly man roll up onher hood and back down to the pavement with a deadly thud. 
I had reached a level of trauma that was beyond anything I could handle.
Now, to add to the stress, my car is being deemed a total loss, over a few hundred dollars over its estimated value.  I have had to play police, detective, and soldier on top of dealing with depression, fear and other physical symptoms and injury.  There has been severe miscommunication, lack of follow through, and poor customer service from all ends. 
I was simply driving down the street.  I shouldn't have to be working this hard to be made whole.  I had a car, and now I don't.  And somewhere is one Carolyn Johnston who has virtually little repercussion for what she has taken from me. 
I'm taking my case to the owner of the body shop where my Bandita sits, in pieces, in the hopes that his reputed kind nature will find something of value in my appeal.  Here's hoping that Mike Rose, of Mike's Auto Body, is willing and able to help us out. 
To some, a car is just a car.  I am not some.  And Bandita is not just a car.
Stay tuned.
______________________________
Dear Mr. Rose;
My name is Kymberlie Calkins-Ingalls, and my Firebird is named Bandita.  I tell you this because I'd like for you to go forth knowing that I am a real person, not just an invoice number, and my car is not just another bucket of bolts in your yard.
On February 21st, I was involved in a horrible accident.  Everyone seems to think it wasn't so horrible because I walked away relatively unscathed of injury.  Injuries I can deal with, but I'm an emotional sort, so as the realization settled in that my car was severely damaged to no fault of my own, fear began to set in that I would be without my Bandita for good.  We've been through our paces, she and I. 
I think, I hope, that you understand that a car isn't always just a car.
I admit, I've not been pleased at how this whole thing has been handled.  I had the car brought to your Concord shop because of a multitude of reasons; I know your company is preferred by insurances, I know you sponsor many cars at the Antioch Speedway where I have strong ties, my family is in a similar industry and therefore am aware of you being ensconced in the community based on the latter two. 
First, my car was towed from my father's shop, Bill's Tire Service, to yours.  As I awaited confirmation of its arrival, I found that it had been lost somewhere in your yard, my keys handed off to some unknown person, and nobody seemed to know what was going on.  Once it was all squared away, on to the next step.  I spoke with Damon, who assured me that everything would be done to save my car if at all possible.  I explained that this was traumatic for me on many levels; financially (despite my not being at fault, I cannot afford to replace my car or end up with a used one that has unknown issues), and emotionally. 
The initial estimate was in the range of $5800.  We held out a hope that this would be deemed repairable.  A week went by when I received a call from the Total and Loss Dept. of AAA.  The small bit of information I was given led me to believe there had been an updated estimate that I was not informed of.  I asked the adjuster to please forward to me the estimate she had received, and I waited, no email, and the adjuster kept sending me the wrong forms.  I also called and asked Damon for the same, very disappointed that he hadn't taken the time to let me know there had been a change.  He said he was leaving for the day and would email me in the morning.  No email came.  I finally had to take time out of my day to come to your shop and demand the estimate I'd requested.  At this point I was very unhappy with the service I'd received, as all but one time I'd asked Damon to communicate via email and recieved no results.
Damon came out to speak to me, and informed me that they'd reported the initial estimate to AAA, who came back and said "You have about $700 more to go before we total the car, so be sure it's accurate."  I get that 'estimate' is just that, but why on earth would someone raise a customer's hopes and prolong things without being as accurate as possible to begin with?  So please try to understand my devastation at this already traumatic experience, only to be told that the final estimate came in just over the limit they were given.  And please try to understand, after I'd done my research on the ways insurance companies and body shops work, why this might not seem right.
I'm an author, and I'd like to share with you an excerpt from a post I published awhile back:
My shimmering emerald Firebird is my shadow, my machinistic soulmate. Roger, my husband, has felt many regrets at his matchmaking when he presented her to me upon my thirtieth birthday We’ve grown up together in the last ten years.  She’s been rebuilt on three of her four sides, and we’ve nursed each other back to health after the accidents, each worse than the last.  . 
Bandita was patient as she waited for my fear to subside and I could slip once more behind her wheel with minimal waves of panic.  It seemed she understood why I needed to abandon her for the safety of our big, intimidating truck.  She’s protective of me to a fault, with instincts just like my own that won’t let anyone else on the road rev her up without good reason. 
Unresolved anger is a very dangerous thing.  It can eat away at the soul of a person like a rust corrodes the strongest of metals.  It lies dormant, lingering until someone itches your  trigger finger and with no warning, there lie the jagged pieces in a volcanic mess. 
Five years ago, I nearly lost my husband in a hit and run accident.  A truck came rushing through the light and plowed right through us, never stopping, never looking back, never to be seen again.  A two second difference and he would have been torn in bits.  I nearly lost my life that evening, and… I nearly lost my life.
I drive through that intersection every day.  The perfect circle on the faded road haunt me with its almost artistic dark, rubber stain. 
Unresolved anger –in Roger’s eyes every time he sees a champaign colored Toyota truck, his eyes skimming the front end for damage, quietly because he thinks I don’t see.  In my own mind every time someone around me runs through a red light. 
And now someone has taken Bandita away from me.  My empowering moment of sing-along at the top of my lungs to songs like Superwoman was cut short by the carelessness of another, and the damage is significant.  I don't think she'll make it this time, and it's a loss that frightens me.  My best friend, my companion in my strongest moments, who had protected me through five accidents in as many years, all at the careless hands of others, is on life support. 
Those around me have witnessed my recent depression as a direct result of this incident.  I've been treated for said depression, because we all have a straw that breaks us.  It was my physical therapist who suggested I contact you personally, Mr. Rose.  She said she has read about your philanthropic acts, and I know from my own father sponsoring many vehicles at the track that it takes a good heart to do so.  Many others have also implied that you are 'a nice guy' when learning where my car was.  I simply cannot face another loss. 
I'm throwing myself upon the mercy of your nature.  The difference between losing my car and not, as the math has been explained to me, is a few hundred dollars.  I realize labor is intensive in this job, and significant in the percentage of the estimate. If there is any possible way to lower the labor cost to meet the financial limit of AAA, I am prepared to offer a return of free advertising on every page I have related to the racetrack (I have a following of several thousand on my Facebook alone, and am adding a blog site to match soon) for the life of said sites.  I also run a network of blog sites, one of which is an up and coming Bay Area news and community site, and will happily run ads there as well, for the life of the site.  Traffic for said site is already moderately successful and will only improve over the next few months. 
This is an urgent matter as I've been informed late this afternoon that as of Monday, March 25th, I will begin incurring storage fees as AAA will no longer cover my car being at your facility.  I have no money to afford this, and need some sort of conclusion.  I'm asking for your consideration and a possible answer by the end of this business day, Friday March 22nd.  The reason being it's so urgent is that AAA failed to comply with my requests for the estimate, and did not follow up by telephone until today when I received this message.  Any fallacies on the part of AAA I am holding against them, not Mike's Auto Body.  However, communication has been sorely lacking from both parties.
If the car is totaled, and I have to go with salvaging the title, the car will be repaired at another company that I've done business with in the past, because I know their service and work to be impeccable.  It would be nice to think your company can hold its own against your reputation of the same. 
Isn't there anything to be done?
Very Sincerely,
Kymberlie Ingalls

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The P.F. Chang's Catalyst

Why must we fix what ain't broken? 

As consumers, we come to rely on familiarity.  Retailers, restauranteurs and celebrities alike all work their asses off to give us familiarity.  Where is the line of contempt?  We all bitch about fast food and its hazards to our health, but the number of people I see in the lines there don't add up with the complaints.  Walmart is the temple of evil, yet the crowds spilling about the aisles aren't only the local rednecks.  Amazon is an obscenity on the lips of many a writer and a bookseller both, yet the empire grows.

So, after getting us hooked on a product or brand, why the need for change?

There's a McDonald's in my neighborhood that had looked the same since I was a kid.  It's recently, after decades of being a familiar sight on my drive home, been remodeled into some sort of modern Starbucksy type structure.  Ugh.  Taco Bell is still pushing their fast-paced menu and 90s purple/blue motif, but I'd rather see a faux mission looking building with the big bell atop, ready to be gonged upon the consumption of a delicious crispy taco. 

My husband, a marketing expert, and I differ on this debate.  I know he is correct in his argument that change is necessary to stay fresh in the minds of consumers, especially the oh-so-desired young buying market, but I'm a habitual creature who returns more, and as I grow older with more money to spend, to partake of a favorite dish or a particular product.  I've stayed with Tivo, despite my technological grievances last year, because their DVR is user-friendly.  All of my gadgets are Apple, not because I'm a Mac fanatic, but for the same reason - the ease of use.  Most of my wardrobe comes from one of two stores because of the million choices out there, they are reliable and the clothes hold up to my washing machine.  These things matter.

I love eating out, much to the detriment of our budget.  I do so just about every day, and love to try new places, and definitely love to support independents when I can, but chains offer a reliability that I find comforting.  It's quite the upheaval when a favorite menu item suddenly disappears.  I'd love to sit in on the marketing panels and focus groups who decided that offering the McRib for a month out of the year would rake in more money than if they just offered it all year long.  Is there an actual season for pressed pork patties that only comes around in November? 

Many an afternoon or evening in this past year have been spent at P.F. Changs, an Asian fusion national chain with a lively atmosphere and, at my location, and extremely friendly staff.  Everyone has a hello and never seem to complain when I occupy the end of the bar for hours with my ginormous laptop and scattered papers.  I half expect to hear a rousing chorus of "Norm!" when I walk in the door.

I listen to the conversations, and yes even find interest in what people order.  I'm one of those that will change every dish on a menu to suit my mood of the day, but find inspiration in what others try and their likes or dislikes.  This is why I was immensely surprised at the recent changes that eliminated several items from their catalogue, because they were items that were consistent favorties among the patrons.  I have been traumatized at the loss of the lemongrass chicken dumplings myself.  In a sea of fanciful, rainbow-like foods, it was simple in its taste and helped offset the richness of other dishes. 

Alas, they are gone.

And I have found nothing to replace them as favorites.  The result?  Hardly the desired of the marketing execs, I'm sure.  I simply don't order any appetizers anymore.  Take that, Fancy Pants. 

I'm tired of losing my favorites, tired of being suckered in and dumped on the curb with other bygones.  Maybe I'm the minority.  Maybe others simply forget and move on, but I am a loyalist.  A loyalist with a wallet, and a platform

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bathroom Bill Blues

"Talk about a war against women!"

This is the most ignorant argument to date I have heard about this "war."  Really, ladies, can we save it for the real issues? 

There is a new so-called "Bathroom Bill" in Arizona that will allow transgenders and cross-dressers access to public restrooms of the opposite sex.  And apparently this is going to be the downfall of America..  Because all transgenders and cross-dressers are pervs, rapists and pedophiles. 

Women are suddenly going to be afraid to enter into a bathroom because (gasp!!) someone they aren't comfortable with just might follow them in.  Now children are unsafe.  The whole world is (no pun intended) going to shit. 

I was told on Facebook, "I bet the world that you are in a park, go in the empty bathroom, and 6 foot tall cross dresser follows you in, you cry like a baby. Be as tough as you appear, and admit I am right."  Sorry, but I call bs on that one.  Here's what I'm afraid of:  some mom who can't cut the apron strings brings her school-aged son into the womens' room, where he then pops his head under the stall and sees things he oughtn't, and suddenly I'm a sex offender just because I had to pee.  And yes, kids have done it.  It's insane.  But when I posed a question to all the moms I knew asking what was an appropriate age to let a child go into a restroom alone, the answers were varied but with the same theme - there are too many pedophiles out there.  What we should be doing is empowering our kids, teaching them to be smart, and observant.  To speak out when something seems wrong or out of place.

But now, women are being disparaged because the bathrooms are being invaded

Please. 

Ignorance is the downfall of this country, more so than anything else.  "Now anybody who wants to wear women’s clothing will not be prohibited from entering into the girls/women’s bathrooms of our schools, parks and restaurants as well as our place of worship and any other public places in the name of prohibiting discrimination, tolerance and of course let’s not forget the mighty dollar in that forward thinking America."  I love how this Suzanne Sharer made sure to get the Bible thrown in there.  Have to enforce the moral compass. 

Unless I missed it, men's bathrooms are not going to remain "men only."  Therefore, how is this a new battle against the fairer sex?  Someone please, give me a rational, realistic answer.  Not one pumped up with worship and estrogen.  Tell me that a rapist can't just waltz into any bathroom of their choosing at any time and strike.  Tell me that women aren't having sex with underaged children, enjoying peep shows on the internet and likely in their neighbors' windows too, watching porn and attacking men in very violent ways.

Tell me.

Has anyone stopped to think of the treatment these people receive by using the restrooms designated to them?  How safe is it for a man dressed as a woman to enter a men's room?  How often are transgenders and cross-dressers of both genders beaten severely or fatally simply for existing?

The world is what it is but if being afraid of someone who looks different from you is your biggest fear, you need a priority check.  And why is it men are constantly the big bad bully of every crime in this country?  When are they going to stop taking the beatings we women and our politicians rain down on them? 

I say if you don't like it, hold it.  Get a kidney infection because a guy decided to wear a dress today.

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