Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Bert’s Hometown Grill & Pizzeria, Madisonville, Tennessee

We have traveled up 411 in Madisonville, Tennessee many times and I was attracted to the huge sign, “Bert’s Hometown Grill” that you can see easily from the highway. I had even gone as far as to look up their website, checked their menu and tried to read as many reviews as I could.

Bert's Sign on Highway 411

Last Saturday was our anniversary and I wanted to go someplace different and off to Bert’s we went.  It was a nice ride on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and just 30 minutes from our home.

We entered Bert’s and walked into the dining room area where someone greeted us and showed us to a table on what she called the porch – don’t worry, it’s an enclosed room not an open porch!

It did take some time before our server arrived at our table and as soon as she took our drink orders she asked if we knew what we wanted.  We did so we ordered right away.  We both ordered the 8 ounce top sirloin steak which comes with garlic bread, one side and salad bar for $12.99.

Bert's To-Go Menu

On the menu it clearly states do not order steak well done, which we never do.  We ordered our steak medium-well.  Since they don’t want you to order well done, we had high hopes our steak would be cooked perfectly.

We were given two plates for the salad bar.  We know well enough that a salad bar is a treat in most restaurants around here so any type of salad bar is welcomed.  It contained basic lettuce which was fresh, tomatoes that good, sliced beets, broccoli.  There were other items, but I am only listing those I took.  They had several kinds of salad dressing and garnishes such as croutons.  We both gave the salad bar a good rating.

When our dinners arrived this is what we received:

Very well done sirloin steak

Both steaks were cooked well done.  They were dried out and had very little flavor.  I never use steak sauce but I had to at Bert’s hoping it would help.  They were almost tender and would have been tender if not overcooked.

The baked potatoes were just barely hot.  They use ‘fake margarine’ and that is not for me. I don’t eat garlic bread, but I did take one bite.  It was regular toast with garlic powder, nothing authentic about it. Our drinks were alright and we were asked if we wanted refills.  The server however never asked how the food was, in a way she was lucky!

We can excuse a restaurant having a bad day and there might have been a reason.  On the way out we noticed a sign saying “cook wanted”….that says a lot!

This was an anniversary dinner and I would not recommend gong there for such an occasion.  Why?  The noise level is extremely high!  There were a lot of kids: babies, little ones and teens.  It seemed to be quite a family place.  We could hear conversations that took place several tables away.  It isn’t conducive to quiet conversations!

Would we ever go back to Bert’s Hometown Grill?  If we happened to be in Madisonville, and happened to be hungry and the ‘cook wanted’ sign was gone and it was a weekday so the kids would be in school or home napping – then maybe, but then again maybe not!

The options expressed are based on our visit on that particular day.

Photos belong to AbbyG

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

UPS Saturday Delivery Fail: Wait until you read this

We have had a UPS Saturday Delivery nightmare. Next time I order a package FedEx delivery is gong to be requested. You will not believe what happened to us over UPS Saturday Delivery. What a mess!

Let me say first that Amazon was on the ball! The shipping notice was text messaged to Hubby not long after the order was placed. We tracked its progress through at the UPS channels through late Friday night. All looked set for the box to arrive the next day.

The text message we got the next morning changed all that. My box that was set for UPS Saturday delivery arrive after the non-holiday weekend. Never mind that I paid extra for Saturday delivery because I needed the box for class on Monday, or that no one would be home to sign for it.

My dissatisfaction was tweeted a phone call made. The agent said the only thing he could do was to send an email asking the delivery be put on hold in favor of pick-up. But, he couldn't guarantee that would work. Updates would come via the UPS My Choice account. 

Grumbling me logged in awhile later to be sure updates were activated and guess what? The screen said the package was out for delivery!


I called them again. The agent assured me that yes, the package was out and would probably be received by 4:30. The order for pick-up was cancelled. I did the happy dance and sat back to wait.

And wait...

On the next phone call about UPS Saturday Delivery the agent assures me that all is well. Tells me the package would be here by the close of business on Saturday and just to wait until 7:00 pm. He said he was "certain" the package would arrive on time that evening.


Hubby picked it up on Monday morning. He was then told that UPS Saturday delivery doesn't exist for our address. He said that the agents were very nice, sympathetic even, but UPS Saturday Delivery isn't available for my area! We were sold something that doesn't exist!

Then something bizarre happened. Check out the difference between Screenshot 1 and Screenshot 2...

Inexplicably, the messages changed between the time and date that the screenshots were taken.

What about the extra money I paid for service that isn't offered? Take it up with Amazon because the box was ordered from them - even though they got the package out quickly. Even though USPS sold us something that doesn't exist.


I'm so fed up with the UPS Saturday Deliver fail that I want to scream! Remember stories of high school seniors who sold elevator passes to freshmen? This feels like a modern version of that old tired story.

Has anyone else had this type of experience? If so, how did you handle it? Leave your suggestions via Google Plus below.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Denials, demos and love: My life with a service dog

So many questions have been asked about my life with a service dog, that I finally created a You Tube video. It explains some of what we have faced and touches on the denial that we faced at the National Institutes of Health, Safra Family Lodge in 2014.

Of all places, who would think that I and my service dog denied there at the NIH? I never saw that one coming. Government agencies are usually better about ADA compliance. The DOJ complaint took a year, but had good results. I just hope the results are long lasting and a service dog denial won't happen there again.

Tomlin has been written about before, but this is the first time that he has strutted his skills in front of the camera. Tomlin does a couple of brief demos near the end of the video. It ends with a terribly cute scene of him licking my daughter all over. It's hard to say who enjoyed creating that part of the video more!

I hope this will help answer some of your questions. He is not a pet, companion, or therapy animal. He is a smart, loyal, loving service dog who truly enjoys working.  Click to watch the YouTube clip. You'll see what I mean. While you're there, if you could like the video and comment on it, we would appreciate the help.