Hi,

As a follow up to Sundays talk about the Pittsburgh Glass Center, there is a glass gallery in Shadyside.  Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery is located at 5833 Ellsworth Avenue.  They have an interesting web site, more of a retail outlet than PGC’s instructional, museum, gallery, etc approach.  But definitely worth checking out.

The Arondo Donax (the bamboo/grass along the front fence) are sprouting up all over the place.  When they grow up, (they reach over 13 feet tall) it’s going to be banner year for them.  The hybrid hibiscus are finally sprouting all over the place.  Very tiny sprouts, but lots of them are popping up.  The Angelica gigas finally arrived.  They are the coolest plants, they’re crack cocaine for bees.  Don’t worry, the bees swoop in to the plant, get filled up and leave.  They have very exotic leaves and the flowers are these spikes that jut up and look like fireworks.  One of my favorite plants.  The banana plants arrived (and were planted) yesterday.  They’re still pretty small, but will grow up to about eight feet tall and wide.  I’m excited.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I have a strong preference to shop as local as I can.  Last year I had problems with my ice machine and called Allegheny Refrigeration, a company right around the corner.  The repairman showed up, fixed the ice machine and when he presented the bill, there was a $32 fuel charge (they’re right around the corner!).  I questioned it and the repairman said everyone is charged that.  I paid it.  The two door refrigerator in my kitchen wasn’t holding temperature and I again called Allegheny Refrigeration.  When I asked if I was going to be charged the fuel charge since I’m right around the corner, the lady on the phone got a distinct attitude towards me and said she doesn’t set the price.  I told her I don’t care who or why, I just need to know if Allegheny Refrigeration was going to charge me, because that would stop me from using them.  I then called Sicilia and his answering service couldn’t answer if they charged a fuel charge, someone would call me.  I then called Fugh and spoke with a real friendly receptionist.  Carol said they charge a $30 fuel charge, but she gave me a credit for a coupon they have out in circulation, so my fuel charge was $10.  I agreed to this and had no sooner hung the phone up than Jeff from Sicilia called.  They don’t charge a fuel charge and Jeff was a very personable tradesman.  Since I already agreed to Fugh, I told Jeff he’d have my next business.  I really hate that deceptive and greedy businesses.  The place that I used to get my oil changed started charging a $10 service charge.  Why not just raise your rate.  They advertise a price and then when you go to pay, there’s service fees, fuel charges, etc.  My guests would walk out the door if when they checked in all of a sudden I was charging extra fees over my advertised price. In case you haven’t noticed, I put hyperlinks in for businesses I think we should support and not for businesses that I think are not reputable (ie Allegheny Refrigeration).

I sent Kerry an E-mail about Allegheny Refrigeration and the next three paragraphs are his response:

Yes.. countless folks with the same opinions on this horrible monopoly..So inconsiderate of the little guys and know they are the only game around..

A great man, Harry Killen, had worked for them for countless years and was let go some time ago for no good reason except to cut costs..amazing how they don’t work with pricing but get rid of the folks who had been with them for generations!

Harry is now on his own and does loads of work for many around the Northside with very fair pricing and considerate service ..(He learned what NOT to do from those guys) If anyone is looking for an amazing refrigeration guy, Harry is the one I insist on every time! His number is 412 304 3255 !!

This is me again, for some reason Kerry’s font continued.  Tonight’s Soup Night at Calvary Methodist Church from 5 until 7 p.m., my very good friend Lisa does it as a fund raiser for the church.  They have a Cinco de Mayo theme tonight.  Good food served cafeteria style for a good cause (and if you’re just a little bit sneaky, you can peek in the sanctuary with the three huge Tiffany windows.)

Finally, some very good friends from college are coming in tomorrow.  Dave & Claire are coming in from Angola.  Dave’s worked for Exxon for years and they’ve been stationed over there for three years now.  They have lots of interesting stories.  And they know my Caribbean/tribal look I’m trying to achieve here and all four authentic African masks in the first floor are from them.  Tony and Sue are coming down from State College.  Tony has run a green house up at Penn State since graduating in Horticulture.  Tony always brings me wonderful plants (those hybrid hibiscus are from Tony).  He also got me that grow light in my sun room that the plants love so much.  I feel like such a slacker when they visit bearing gifts.  But I’m not too proud to accept them.  :)

Have a great one,

ed

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