This is my week to kvetch, as I am sick and tired of calling 800 numbers to remove myself from advertising faxes which come into my home unwanted and unsolicited. I must call at least five a week to stop them, but they just keep coming.

I know that I have gotten myself on the no-call list, and I am assuming that there are many others who have availed themselves of this option-which is something positive, for a change, from our Congress. But, apparently, this does not stop unsolicited faxes.

There is, as far as I can tell, no national number for stopping unwanted faxes. Maybe Congress might like to take a shot at this as well, as it might be something easier than putzing about the Iraq War, underfunding Social Security, messing up an unenforced immigration policy, and other such things that now keep them polarized.

I have gotten faxes for vacations, time shares, vitamins, roofing and all points in between. What really ticks me off is that, in order to send this unsolicited fax, the company involved is using my fax machine, my electricity and my paper to generate their advertising. Being as cheap as I am, that was the ultimate indignity.

There are those who also would seek to have catalogs stopped, calling it “junk mail.” Marketers, of course, say it is advertising. I, for one, don’t think it is junk mail, though I do sympathize with my dear postman who has to lug tons of catalogs to my house all the time.

For me, who never has enough time to run out and buy things, catalogs have been a godsend, as has the Internet. I try to support my local merchants for the things they offer. Then I go to neighboring communities, all of whom used to be in my House and Senate districts, and about whom I still feel proprietary and loving. After that, it is catalogs and the Internet.

I would not have the catalogs stopped, but I do think that a national registry, a kind of a do-not-call list for catalogs, could be instituted. I mean, if you don’t want the stuff, why be deluged with it? For many, it just goes into the recycling as soon as it hits. Why kill trees unnecessarily?

The Direct Marketing Association, a trade group, says that junk-mail registries threaten big catalog companies and small businesses alike, as well as churches and non-profit groups. And, to their credit, this group does allow people to request that they not be added to its 4,000 members marketing lists.

It gets down to this-the old “your home is your castle” argument. We should have the choice on whether we want to do business or not, and until we get statewide or national non-solicitation help, we will continue to have to put up with calling individually on every fax or catalog we get.

On another front and singing praise, this time, I have to share with you something spectacular when it comes to service. Yes, real, live service, something we don’t get very much of these days on any front.

I had some car damage and went to Metal Mites Auto Body in Riverside. Not only did I get a good deal on the cost and had the car brought back to my driveway, I had a tin of Maurice Lenell cookies left on the front seat.

This was followed by a thanks note from company president Jerry Cervak, stating that he appreciated my business. And, to top it off, there was a lottery card within the thanks note. (It was not a winner, but it did allow me to get another free card). Now, how good does that get!

I was so impressed, it almost makes me want to go out and smash the car up a little just to be able to go back and get another tin of cookies. Seriously, in this day and age of service starvation, this is a standout.