How to Get Salt Stains Off Your Shoes

Ever gone walking around in the snow only to come home with weird white goo on your shoes? The white goo is salt deposits.  Salt is poured on snow and ice to melt it so people don’t slip. But it makes kind of an ugly mess on shoes that will not dissolve when wiped with a rag dipped in plain water. The way to remove these stains is to dip a cotton ball or Q-tip in vinegar and then to wipe the spot clean. Q-tips are nice because you can get down into the cracks where the sole meets the shoe. Cotton balls are nice for the top where they provide more coverage.

A product that works really well for leather is Horseman’s One Step. It is marketed to riders who use it on tack. It cleans and conditions at the same time, a necessity when leathers are out in the weather, getting wet and dirty. Pure oils make leather slippery and are really unnecessary more than once or twice a year.  Lexol is good too, but it doesn’t clean unless you buy the cleaner separately. One Step does both. I used to clean dozens of saddles and bridles daily and One Step was my favorite. I highly recommend it. And I did not get paid to say this. I wish! After cleaning your shoes of salt, a quick swipe with the One Step makes the leather clean and supple again, ready to head out into wet, winter weather.

Holiday Season

I’m learning how to be.  I’m seem always to be failing at it.  Maybe I need to change my standards.  I don’t know.

Last night was infiinitely better than yesterday.  I finally opened my mouth to the man I love and once we started speaking, things were better.  I find it odd to have roles reversed for me in this relationship.  In the past I was the one prodding and speaking and working to make the other say something.  I have now become the one who clams up.  Weird, this.

We cleaned the house and decorated for Christmas last night.  Then we wrapped too many gifts. The gifts are small, but we have quite a few of them to hand out so there was a lot to wrap.  It’s satisfying that it is done.

Portland is buried in snow. The city does nothing when it snows like this.  I find it completely frustrating.  I just left Boulder, Colorado, where it snows like this all the time.  The city plows the roads, puts down gravel, and gets on with it.  Portland just turns stupid.  We went to the mall today with a friend.  While there a customer service person at Ross accosted us upon walking in the door, WE’RE CLOSING!  We’re closing in TWO MINUTES!!  He was frantic.  This was four hours before the store was scheduled to close.  God forbid anyone is open past dark.  None of the stores salt or gravel their walks.  It’s slick, but not unmanageable.  I don’t get it.  People keep saying it is because no one here is used to it.  I say that argument is bunk.  People are from everywhere these days.  We drive in rain in Oregon; we can drive in snow if we so desire.  It would help a lot if the city actually did something productive like scrape and sand more roads, but to stop everything is ridiculous.  We did not even get mail today.

I have a wretched bladder infection.  Can you believe tha when I called my doctor.  The office was closed…of course, it’s snowing! Who goes to the doctor in the snow?  Foolish me to expect otherwise.  So the message at the office claimed it would forward me to the answering service.  Guess what?  The answering service never answered.  I called and called.  No answer.  I guess it’s too hard to answer the phone in the snow too.  Let’s hope it isn’t true that the climate is changing so drastically that snow will be a norm here.  If so, Portland might disappear considering no one can function when it snows here.

So today we are comfortably ensconced in our warm house.  I am grateful for the warmth in our home.  We are packing and getting ready for our big trip across country. I’m kind of scared, but excited too.  It’s a big step.  I hope our apartment works out.  It’s big by apartment standards, but so small in many ways.  The kitchen is wretchedly small. There isn’t even a counter.  We’re going to have to create our own.  Anyway, it feels better when I consider the prospect with Boyfriend, but I’m still sort of freaking out about fitting it all in and wanting to get the goods at Ikea to make it all fit.  We don’t have a lot of extra cash lying around.  Certain things simply will not work without Ikea to help us.  Yikes.  We’ll work it out.  I will definitely be glad when we are on the other side of the move and have actually had to do it rather than just think about it.  Soon enough.  For now, Christmas awaits.  Santa is coming to see Milla.  The tree is up.  Snow is falling.  It should be lovely.

Dear Oprah

I read today of communities in Ghana where people die daily from dysentery and disease because they do not have clean water.  The watering holes are foul and bacteria laden.  There is no fuel for citizens to burn to boil the water and kill germs.  What these people need are water treatment facilities.  I got to thinking about your generosity building schools in Africa and realized you could probably use your influence help with a project of this magnitude.

Of course I realize this isn’t a possiblity in many countries in Africa.  There is so much violence and strife, any efforts would be thwarted.  But Ghana has held proper elections since the early nineties.  They have worked to rise above civil war and to make their country a safe place to live.  Isn’t it time to help them along this journey by bringing them clean drinking water?

Our intentions are worthy.  We send bags of grain, but they never arrive.  We pull musicians together to sing about children and we buy the cd’s.  Yet what these people really need is good, strong infrastructure to help them on the path to self-reliance.  We have the expertise. We have the wealth.  We should put it to good use.  Oprah, you can help.

Good Riddance, Pure Med Spa

See my previous posts on Pure Med Spa here and here.

I am writing an article on Pure Med Spa.  For info, please click here.

Last summer, I stopped into a local spa to inquire about Botox treatments.  After being told the price, I asked to schedule an appointment.  I was informed that I would need to provide a $50 deposit to hold the appointment, and that if I did not cancel within twenty-four hours of the appointment, I would forfeit the deposit.  Seeing no problem with this policy, I scheduled an appointment for the following week.  The company was Pure Med Spa, also known as GRF Medspa.

That afternoon, I decided I no longer wanted the appointment.  I called to cancel the appointment and to request a refund of my deposit.  I was informed that Pure Med Spa does not provide refunds.  I asked to speak with the manager who was not available.  I left a message and waited angrily for her to contact me.

In the meantime, I did a little statutory research and discovered that my state has an act to protect consumers from shady spa practices.  Among other things, the act allows for full refunds of any procedures if they are cancelled within 72 hours of making an appointment.  To comply with the statute, it is necessary to send a letter stating the intent to cancel and requesting a full refund.  I immediately wrote such a letter and sent it to Pure Med Spa.

That afternoon I spoke with the manager.  After haggling for twenty minutes, I informed her that I had written her company in compliance with the statute and that if I did not receive a refund, I would be filing suit in small claims court.  I also told her I was a writer and would write about my experience on my blog.  I did not think Pure Med Spa would like the negative publicity.

The manager said she would try to get me a refund.  After another wait, she called me back to tell me the fifty dollars would be refunded to my debit card.  I thanked her and hung up.  I did not stop payment on my debit card because I thought the matter would be handled and the cost to stop payment would have been twenty-five dollars.  It seemed a steep price to pay.

Twenty-five dollars would have been better than the nothing I have ever received from Pure Med Spa.  I honestly believe the manager in the store thought her company would refund the money.  Every time I spoke to her she was even more apologetic and her apologies were genuine.

The timing of this situation was not great for me.  I left to move to Hawaii a month afterwards.  I was tracking to see if the refund arrived, and would call to speak to the manager, but because I was not in Portland where the spa was located, I could not go in and work something out in person.

In September, frustrated by the entire situation, I wrote a blog post about my experience.  I stated my intent to sue in small claims court.  I received a lot of responses from other people who had much worse situations than mine.

Through my blog I am able to track the searches people use to find my blog and to see which posts are read the most.  By far the posts on Pure Med Spa get the most attention.  Dozens of people read these posts every day.  I have gotten several comments from readers whose experiences were terrible.  One woman has a droopy face from improperly administered Botox.  Another was an employee who spoke of their terrible treatment of her and other employees.  A graduate student writing on Pure Med Spa contacted me to see if I would forward her information to people who contacted me.  The posts continue to get tons of attention.

I was planning on suing Pure Med Spa in small claims court when I returned to Portland next week.  Unfortunately, I heard the company filed for bankruptcy under the name GRF Medspa.  I looked up their case.  They filed chapter 11 in the district of Georgia.  Their case number is 08-85038-crm.  Their filing date was December 4, 2008.  Also unfortunately, they have not yet filed all the required paperwork.  It is not due until December 19, so I could not view the details of their case.  If they do not file the necessary paperwork within the alloted time, their case will be dismissed.

If you have a potential claim against Pure Med Spa, I urge you to contact the Bankruptcy Court and ask to be listed as a creditor.  When you are notified to file a claim, do so.  It is not difficult to file the claim paperwork.  In some districts it can even be done online.

Also contact the bankruptcy trustee assigned to the case and tell your story.  His name and address are:  Thomas Wayne Dworschak, Office of the U. S. Trustee, Room 362, 75 Spring Street, SW, Atlanta, GA 30303, (404) 331-4437 – ext. 145
Email: thomas.w.dworschak@usdoj.gov.

Write clearly and concisely.  Be sure to him all the information related to your case including dates and the amounts you paid.  Maybe if enough people provide this information, the trustee will pursue a class action claim against these crooks.  In this way perhaps the trustee can collect more to distribute to all their creditors.

Pure Med Spa should be put out of business.  Its CEO and any other associated with ripping people off should go to jail.  I am going to be here writing anything I can to work towards that end.  If you have a story you would like me to post for you, I would be happy to.  A company like Pure Med Spa does not need to be in business.  Let’s do what we can to get rid of them.

My QuickPress

Lately I feel like nothing I say will be different from the worldwide cacophony already out there. Everything is such a mess. I don’t know if a simple administrative change can undo so much of what has been done. The US and the world are in a shambles. Obama might want change, but unless the rest of Congress gets on board, it is not going to happen, and it seems like mostly they want to continue with business as usual.

On a Plane

This is a first for me.  I am writing this while I fly on a plane to New York.  I am going to find an apartment for Boyfriend and me.  I am pretty excited about doing this.  About the only thing that would make it better is if he or Milla were here with me, but I’ll manage on my own.

I am flying Jet Blue.  This is my first flight on this airline and I am impressed.  After I booked the ticket, people told me to let them know if the seats were bigger as rumored.  I can’t tell if the actual seats are wider, but I can absolutely attest that there is more leg room.  I have a good 8 inches between my knees and the seat in front of me. That is a HUGE improvement.  I usually touch the seat in front of me.  Planes are made for tiny skinny people.  I’m thin, but tall, and I am usually very uncomfortable on a flight of any duration.  Not on this flight, however.

I just stopped and turned on the little t.v. in the back of the chair.  This is not something I get, this need for a screen on every seat, on every corner, hanging in stores, blaring noise and advertising all the time.  I don’t own a television.  I can’t stand advertising.  But I digress.

So I turned it on because I was sitting here and it was there.  First I discovered that as I am flying, another aircraft has crashed in San Diego.  It appears to be a military plane and it crashed in a neighborhood.  I need to call my friend Megan who lives there and check on her.  I changed the channel, and discovered a thing called Live Map.  it has a map with a little plane on it showing where our plane is at.  Looks like we are over Pennsylvania, nearing Scranton.  What a trip.

Our flight is on route to being forty minutes early.  That is nice.  The flight was also not full.  I had three seats in a row to myself.  I did not get a lot of sleep last night and the second we took off I laid down and fell asleep.  I slept for almost three hours.  I feel a million times better.

Some other little details about Jet Blue.  They charge you for a pillow and blanket, but they don’t charge for one piece of luggage or a snack.  And they have good snacks, enough to actually feel like you ate something, not just three piddly pretzels.  And you get the whole bottle of a drink, not just a cup full of ice with a quarter cup poured on it.  I would rather have the snack, drink, and piece of luggage than a pillow and blanket, given the choice, but I’m sure there are others who would want the bedding instead.  Also they charge a dollar for headphones, but I have my own, so I didn’t buy those.  In fact if I did not have them, I would not use them anyway.  I have already had my five minute fill of the television.  I’m listening to Shirley Horn on XM, but would have listened to my ipod if the desire overcame me.

Now we are flying over some water.  It looks like a big river.  Oh wait, no. We’re here!  Okay, Lara is a dork.  Look at that!  I can see the Statue of Liberty!  How silly.  How cool.  I can see Manhattan Island and Staten Island.  I’m a serious dork.  I love the little ribbons of road and river.  Now the plane has turned south so I see New Jersey.  Ah, too bad.  But we must be going to circle around….OUCH!  I was listening to a song called Empty Pockets when suddenly Miss Stewardess came on to tell us to fasten our seatbelts.  Okay, fine, but does it have to be so much louder in the headphones than the music?  Shit.  In an effort to preserve my hearing I changed to my ipod.  I have that song on there.  Also the plane version kept breaking up.

Ohhhh boy.  We’re turning quite sharply left and circling around, just as I predicted.  I’m all up in the air.  The sun is setting on the horizon.  It is so lovely and orange out there, the sun spreading across the clouds.  Apparently it is 31 degrees out there.  I’m glad I brought a warm coat and wore a hat.

Well, I’m going to end this odd, stream-of-consciousness, in-flight review.  Looks like we’ll be landing shortly, way ahead of schedule.  We weren’t supposed to land until 5:40 and it is only 4:45, and we’re on our way down.  And they just told us to put everything away.  Hopefully the next time I write something it will be to rave over our brand new New York apartment!