Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why I *occasionally* HATE my bank

So my debit card was due to expire at the end of this month. I was a little concerned that I hadn't received my replacement card, so I called the bank on Tuesday to find out if it had been sent. I spent 5 minutes navigating the "if you are calling to do x, press y" menu before I got a live person. (my usual shortcut of pressing 0 to bypass all that didn't work for some reason) The oh-so-helpful genius that I spoke to told me that it had been mailed two weeks earlier and I should have had it by now and was I sure I didn't have it? Well, duh. I think the fact that I'm calling to ask WHERE it is should be a pretty good indication that I don't, in fact, have it.

Then he asked me to verify my address. I told him what it was and there was a looooong pause. "I'm showing your card went to a P O Box address." Well, that's just spiffy. The P O box that I CLOSED LAST YEAR because they closed my branch office and wanted to move me out to one 10 miles away from anything I needed to be near? Especially annoying as the bank was the FIRST place I registered the mailing address change with, and I have gotten every statement at my current address since then. The goober couldn't tell me how that happened, but assured me that the new card would arrive at my current mailing 7-10 business days.

Just freaking great. My card expires Saturday and I won't have a replacement for at least 4 days after that? One of my few acknowledgments to the digital era- I rarely carry cash or write checks any more. Not having my debit card is almost like not having oxygen. After a moment or 2 of panic, I realized that I could simply get cash & buy gas/groceries on Friday or Saturday, and I'd be fine for the few days it would take to get the new card. (most of the businesses around my home don't take checks anymore or make you jump through lots of hoops to write one due to excessive fraud in our area)

Heh. That's what I thought.

I was running late getting out of the house for work on Wednesday and forgot to get my lunch out of the fridge. Not a problem- I've been good about not eating out at work lately, so one night won't kill me. I ordered Chinese and went to pick it up. I handed my debit card over to pay for it and the cashier told me it was declined. WHAT?!? She tried it again. Same thing. I knew there was still close to $200 in my account, so it couldn't be insufficient funds. I've eaten at that restaurant so often that the staff know me fairly well and actually offered to let me come back and pay for it later. Luckily, I had picked up some things for Mom earlier in the week and she had given me cash in exchange, so I had enough on me to cover dinner.

In the meantime, I called the bank to find out what was going on. The card that was supposed to be good through Saturday? Had been cancelled when I called in to request the replacement for the replacement card that I never got. "It's easier for us to cancel BOTH cards" was the explanation I got. Well, I'm SO glad it made things easier for YOU. WHY wasn't I told this was being done? "I guess the person who helped you assumed you'd know we'd do that."


I got up early today so that I would have time to go to the bank and get a check cashed. My car was running on fumes, so I was praying it would hold out until I got the cash and could go to the gas station. It did. (I was hoping to make it to payday/Friday before having to fill up again, but the 100+ temps here killed that plan. My car a/c burns a LOT of fuel) The perky teller at the bank looked at the check I presented with my ID, dead bank card to prove that I'm a customer at that bank (they honestly ask for that, even when the bank name is clearly printed on the check with my account number and everything), and work ID and said cheerfully "You know, you can get cash from out ATM at any time with your card, right?"

I resisted the urge to kill her...barely.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

When I Left Home- Buddy Guy w/David Ritz

When I Left Home: My Story

I love blues. B. B. King is one of my favorite artists ever. I was vaguely familiar with Buddy Guy, and when he & B. B. came to town together a few years ago, I took my dad to the concert with me. Buddy opened the show and was not only an awesome musician, some of the stories he told between songs were a howl. The highlight of his set was when he jumped off the stage and strolled up the aisle, still playing. We had gotten our tickets late and wound up sitting in the back of the theater, and danged if Buddy didn't actually walk & play all the way back to where we were. He was just about to pass our row when he looked up from his guitar and saw my dad sitting on the aisle. He stopped dead in his tracks, said "How do you do, sir?" and shook my dad's hand before standing there and talking to him for 5 minutes. (I now know from reading this book that my dad falls almost exactly between Buddy & B. B. in age) Well, my dad grinned for the rest of the night and Buddy Guy earned two fans for life.

This autobiography filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge. David Ritz has worked with several other blues artists on books and they always give you a feel of the artist's personality and are entertaining as well as informative.  Buddy never plays the 'oh poor me' card, but is very honest about his humble beginnings and how hard he had to hustle, even after he became a musician. Unscrupulous record execs took advantage of him (and numerous others), yet he retained his love for his music and doesn't seem to hold a grudge.

I would recommend this to any blues fan, as well as anyone who likes a good read.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Why We LOVE Dealing With The Public

D is on a phone call that has her pounding her head into the desk. She hit the speaker phone so I could hear it too and share the joy.

Effeminate male caller: I’m so glaaaaaad you all are there…I just had a dream that you recovered my vehicle!

D: Umm, I’m sorry but we don’t deal with vehicles here.*tries to give him number to the tow lot*

EMC: No no no, it’s a bicycle. Is a bicycle not a vehicle? I consider it to be so.

D: *eyeroll* We classify them differently, but we DO take bikes. Do you have a serial number?

EMC: It’s not a bike, it’s a BUY-SICK-EL. And that IS a VEE-HICK-EL. Don’t they teach you all that?

D: *much less friendly* Did you actually want me to try to see if we have it or so you want to keep getting smart?

EMC: *huffs* Well, it’s a specialized type of bicycle, you should just be able to pick it out when I describe it to you.

D: Bikes are stored in a different section of the building and we can’t see them from our desks. *queries computer for recently brought in bikes* No bikes have been turned in during the last 48 hours.

EMC: Oh but it was stolen yesterday, so you simply must have it. It has to exist somewhere, right? Does it not exist? Don’t you all take classes to know if it’s been pawned somewhere?

D: *headdesk*

I finally take over the call, assure the ‘gentleman’ that we do not have his bike, and get him off the phone. His last comment is that the dream was VERY real and he’s SURE we have his bike and just don’t know how to do our jobs to get it back to him. Yeah, I’ll be sure to give locating your bike some extra effort, pal.


Monday Musings- Herding Cats

After losing Felicity to a combination of illness & fleas, I decided to get more active in the battle with the little bloodsuckers. So on Sunday, I flea-bombed my house and took Greymalkin & Nightshade over to Mom's for a bath while the fogging was going on.

Malkin's previous experience with a bath came about 6 years ago. My parents were visiting from NC & Mom decided the cats needed baths. She optimistically filled my kitchen sink with water and dunked Felicity first. Liss screamed, shot 6 ft up to the ceiling, landed back in the water and then went for Mom's throat. Mom still swears she was trying to escape over her shoulder- I saw the murderous look in Felicity's eyes and know better. You'd think the boy would have seen what was going on and fled, but silly Malkin sat there and watched. When his turn came, he thought playing dead would work so he went limp...unfortunately he did that AFTER Mom planted him in the sink, so he got scrubbed anyway.

He didn't go limp this time, but he was a lot more cooperative than I expected him to be. Mom had filled the tub with some warm water and I dropped him in. He froze at first, and then started half-heartedly trying to get away from me. We did ok until it was time to wash his head- we had a bit of panic then. But he survived and even enjoyed being blown dry.

Then it was Nightshade's turn. This was a little trickier. She still has all her claws and has no qualms about using them. I got slashed just stuffing her into the pet carrier for the ride over to Mom's. I went to the dollar store and picked up some oven mitts- we cut the fingertips off and slid them over our forearms for protection. This turned out to be the best idea I've had for some time. Since Shady went into the carrier fighting, I was afraid she'd come out the same way. I opened the door and she bolted- straight into the water, because I was smart enough to open the thing over the tub.

She didn't freak out as badly as we were afraid she would. Not at first, anyway. We splashed water gently over her and sudsed her up with the flea shampoo. She grumbled a little (Nightshade is a fairly talkative kitty), but was ok padding around the bottom of the tub and making the odd attempt at escape. Everything was fine until we turned the shower attachment on to rinse her off. I don't know if it was the sound of the thing, or just the indignity of being soaked further, but Nightshade FREAKED. This is where those oven mitt arm guards came in VERY handy.

Poor little kitty. She screamed as though we were poking her with hot irons and did her best to go over/around/through us to get away. We kept pushing her back into the water and finally decided we'd gotten her rinsed well enough and folded her into fluffy towels to be dried off. Since she runs when I blow MY hair dry, I decided it would probably be best not to try using the dryer on her. She lay in my arms, breathing heavily, but slowly began to relax as she realize the bath was over.

Mom had set up her spare room as a kitty sanctuary for them to relax in after the bathing process. After about an hour, Malkin was ready to come explore the apartment. He had a very good time poking around and having attention lavished on him. Shady, on the other hand, went under the bed and stayed there. She wouldn't come out to eat, even when I put a dish down less than a foot from the foot of the bed. 

We had another battle when it was time to go back to our house. NOBODY wanted to go back into the pet carriers. That's a story for another post...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book of Lost Fragrances- M J Rose

Product Details

I loved this book! It's sort of a melange of Katherine Neville's The Eight & Patrick Suskind's Perfume, with a dollop of Steve Berry's mysteries. Jac & Robbie are the heirs to a long standing family perfume business. Jac wants nothing to do with the business, while Robbie is convinced that there is truth to the family legend of a Book of Fragrances once owned by Cleopatra. He goes missing after an attempt on his life and Jac returns to the family estate in France to search for her brother, whatever he was working on, and the truth about the repressed 'memories' that have plagued her entire life. Throw in some cloak & dagger espionage, a Chinese defector, the Dalai Lama (no, really) and Jac's ex-lover who may or may not be involved in a reincarnated love affair with her and you have quite an interesting read.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Musings- Unbreak my heart

One of the hardest things to do in life is say goodbye to a beloved pet. I had to do exactly that last week. My beautiful Felicity, aka Lissa-kitten, began having seizures Monday night. I picked her up after she stopped thrashing and she was breathing heavily and was very disoriented. I rushed her to the emergency clinic, praying that there would be something that could be done to keep her with me. The vet told me that she was very weak, with a possible heart murmur and that the bloodwork indicated her kidneys were in the beginning stages of failing. She was anemic due to our ongoing battle with fleas, and the doctor suspected that the seizure was caused by a brain tumor. My choices were take her home and hope for the best, or let her go with some dignity and less suffering.

I had to do it. She deserved not to be scared and in pain. So I held her close and told her what a good girl she was and how much I love her and that it was ok to let go because her brother Donahue was waiting for her on the other side, and I let the vet give her the shot that set her sweet little soul free. I held in the tears as I watched the light go out in her beautiful green-gold eyes, and sobbed when she went limp. The vet was kind, but the pain was still there. She let me stay with my baby girl for a while stroking her soft fur & crying in a private room, before they took her away.

To add insult to injury, as I stood sobbing at the counter to pay the receptionist, the radio began playing "Total Eclipse of the Heart."

Everything hurts, still. Greymalkin & Nightshade keep looking for their big sister and I have no way to explain to them that she's gone. I cried when I found one of her milk jug rings hidden in my tennis shoe yersterday. Liss always had a thing for shoes- sleeping on them, hiding toys in them, the cat loved shoes more than Imelda Marcos.

I wish I'd had given her a can of stinky gooshyfood on that last day- she could hear a pull tab from a mile away and would race to the kitchen, wind around my ankles, and yowl insistantly until I put the bowl down in front of her. Her favorites were the ones with salmon and/or shrimp. Malkin & Shady would get to lick the gravy off theirs and as soon as Liss was done with hers, she'd knock them aside and finish theirs. She also knew the sound of the treat canister opening, and it produced the same results.

The weather was nice enough to open the windows for a few days, and that triggered another flood of tears. Felicity loved lounging in the windows, letting the sun shine on her belly and the wind ruffle her  soft tortoiseshell fur. She would churrup at anyone who passed by, encouraging them to come worship her. My mail carrier used to talk to her whenever she was in the front window.  I couldn't resist freaking him out when I heard him once- he said "How's my little sweetheart today?" I was standing just to the side of the window, out of sight, and answered for her.  "Fine, darling, how are you?" He damn near fell off the porch. I came out to apologize and he promised me that he wasn't a weirdo, Liss always talked to him so he thought he'd talk to her for a change. He asked about her Thursday and I had to tell him she was gone. We both cried.

I have a million and one stories to tell about my silly girl. They'll have to wait for future posts. There's a box of tissues calling my name right now...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Best Excuse Yet

At my job, we have people calling in all the time to find out if we have their son/daughter/whoever’s property. Our policy is that if we cannot give that information to anyone other than the person it was seized from. Despite being told this, most of them want to argue about it, and interestingly enough, most of the people they are allegedly calling on behalf of are totally old enough to be making these calls for themselves. *I* personally would rather die or lose whatever the item is before asking my MOTHER to call the police for me and find out if they had it. Of course, I’m not likely to do anything stupid enough to get arrested for, either.

Anyway, I just had a woman call me from Delaware because her poor innocent son was picked up for public intoxication & disturbing the peace, but he was out of jail now and needed to know where his personal bag was. I explained our policy and she gave me the standard “But I’m his mother” response. I reiterated the policy and then she gave me the best reason yet for why HE couldn’t make the call himself. “The number 5 button on his phone doesn’t work, so that’s why I’m calling for him.”

I’d have almost given in, just because that was so profoundly creative, until I noticed one thing. Her phone number, which showed up on our caller ID, had no less than THREE 5’s in it. I pointed that out, she told me to do something anatomically impossible unless you’re a circus freak and hung up on me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult's Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It's Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner- Jen Lancaster

Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult's Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It's Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner

I LOVE me some Jen Lancaster. My first encounter with her was on MySpace, back in the days before it became internet-central for sleazy hookups & cheesy bands. She had posted a comment on a post I had copied from an email, chastising me for not giving credit to the author who turned out to be a firend of hers. I apologized for not posting information I didn't have, pointed out that I *had* put a dsiclaimer that it wasn't my work but I found it to be too funny not to share, and after verification of the author, changed the post to include that. She sent me a message apologizing if she'd come across as too harsh, but she was an author herself and that she appreciated me taking the time to A: verify the information and give credit where it was due, and B: Not send her a "GFY, B***h" message for telling me off in the first place. I asked what she had written (Bitter is the New Black) and put it on request at the library after she gave me the name of her book.

After reading Bitter in one sitting, laughing like a loon through most of it, I went out and bought a copy. Then I went to her blog and read through her archives. Then I waited (impatiently) for each of her subsequent books to come out. I love her sense of humor, ability to laugh at herself, and the fact that we may not agree politically but have so many other shared loves (Rick Springfield- EEEEEEEEEE) that it doesn't matter. Also, thanks to Jen's sporadic reading lists and promotion of books by her friends, I have found and enjoyed several other authors I might not have read otherwise.

So what is this book about? More looks into Jen's sometimes chaotic but always entertaining life. From her deranged pets, to her awesome husband (Fletch rocks!), to the trials & tribulations of trying to stop acting like a college kid and become an adult, this is a hoot. Each chapter ends with a summarized 'life lesson.'

Want to see me giggle? Shriek "perimeter breach!" at me. Die-hard Jen fans will know why this is funny- if you don't, READ this book.

Sadly, I've never heard from her since those brief messages on MySpace. But, Jen, if you should happen to see this, I'm totally up for having a new addition to the ranks of my BFF's! Seriously, I think we'd have a blast!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Musings- The Things We Get At Work, and Why Can't I Shoot Some of These Clowns?

Two officers (one a well-known goofball) come in lugging a heavy looking metal box and looking a bit nervous. I walk up to the window and the goof says to me “I forget- what’s the property room policy on explosives?” I looked him straight in the eye and said “if it goes BOOM, you will be going to your eternal rest approximately 10 seconds before I die, with my hands locked around your throat and my foot lodged squarely up your ass. Now what’s really in the box?”

It turned out that the bomb squad had taken the really dangerous stuff- all they had was the box with a bunch of books on bomb making. Goofball looked at his partner and said “You know, I could walk in here with a severed head and she’d just look at me and tell me I’m a doofus.”

My response to that was “Let’s not be testing that theory, ‘kay?”

Thursday, June 7, 2012

London Pride- Valerie Colin-Russ

London Pride
Is anyone really surprised that I adore this little gem of a book? As the author states, it's not a complete listing of every single lion to be found in London, but it's pretty darned comprehensive nonetheless. Having something of a lion fixation, I'm always delighted to come across them in seemingly random places, and I had a very good time spotting them on my trip to London 10 years (sob) ago.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Musings- Ooops, I lost it again...

Hello, my name is Mickey, and I suffer from extreme road rage. Seriously. I don't even have to be the one driving- the rare occasions when I'm the passenger will STILL see me screaming at other cars. (Most of my friends find this to be hysterically funny)I've had an ex ask me if I knew I developed Tourette's syndrome when I was behind the wheel of a car, only to be confounded when I screamed at people while HE was driving.  I've been told I should be a NYC cab driver.

George Carlin had a routine about sharing the road, where he mused "Have you ever noticed that anyone driving slower than you is an idiot, while anyone going faster is a maniac?" My addendum to that is "and they're all total asshats!"

I hate slow drivers. I hate drivers who go on for miles with their turn signals blinking forever. (How do you NOT know that? My car sounds an alarm if the signal blinks for more than a few minutes) I really hate the people who are so busy yapping on their cell phones that they forget to pay attention to the fact that they are behind the wheel of a potentially lethal piece of machinery.  (I must confess that I am bad about that sort of thing, which is EXACTLY why I rarely make/take calls while I'm driving) These are the morons who either get so involved in their talk that they don't realize they've slowed down to well below the speed limit/drift over into my lane and then give me a dirty look when I honk & flip them off/realize at the last minute that they're passing their exit and cut me off trying to get to it.

More dislikes: drivers who act as though they don't know people on an entrance ramp will need to be in THAT lane and don't get over (if possible, I realize it isn't always feasible) and/or get so close to my car that they can see the whites of my eyes. (These people also get a good look at my tonsils why I'm screaming curses at them) Drivers who follow the herd instinct and park their car right beside mine, ususally so close that I can barely get in/out. (These are the same kind of people who look at a mostly empty movie theater and then choose to sit directly in front of me) Drivers who think it is THEIR job to enforce the speed limit and try to act as rolling roadblocks to make YOU slow down. (my least-favorite ex, Schmucknuts, would do that- I told him once that if the guy he pulled that on killed him, I'd testify that he had it coming)

Drivers who throw their trash and/or cigarettes out the window while driving. Thanks for obscuring my vision with your burger wrapper, or setting my paint on fire with your cigarette!

Drivers who view driving in inclement weather as a personal challenge. I am a leadfoot. I know this, my friends/family know this, and police officers know this. (Thank heaven I work for the local PD, and most of them are content to let me off with a scolding or I'd have probably lost my license by now. LOL) But even *I* slow down for rain & snow. Especially snow. I grew up at the beach- we rarely had snow there. Despite having lived here for 14 years, I am not comfortable driving in it and admit I become one of the slowpoke drivers I normally hate, but I always stay in the far right lane and try not to impede faster moving traffic. Even so, if the snow is falling so fast that windshield wipers can't keep up, and the roads have clearly not been treated/cleared, SLOW THE F*** DOWN. I can't tell you how many wrecks I've seen as a result of some idiot thinking they're Speed Racer in a blizzard. (I'm only on the road in that kind of weather if I absolutely HAVE to go to/from work) One of the best moments of my life was when I got to witness a police officer from the local 'rich' area (of COURSE they have their own PD) come flying up past me, only to lose control of his car on an on-ramp, and go flying in circles into a semi who had pulled over to wait for better visibility. Why YES, the officer from MY PD & I had a good time filling out the report for that one.

I'm sure there are many other things that irritate me while driving. I could keep going on, but you get the idea. I also realize that I probably irritate the hell out of other people on the road. That's their problem- they can get their own blog.