Thursday, May 27, 2010

When Credit Card Security is TOO Secure

What? Yes I really am going to rant about too much credit card fraud protection.

Hormonally imbalanced much? Or Stressing about Graduation? Yeah so what....

Here's the thing - at the grocery store last night - the same grocery store I shop at perhaps 20 times in a month (no joke) for the last 11 years. And my credit card is flagged "call in." It was a large order - prom dinner for 17 tomorrow night. And this card gives me 5% back on all grocery purchases, so I really wanted to use it.

But I couldn't for some reason so I used another. Fortunately, the customer service rep helping me knows me (ya think? after all these years? Hell they open up a special line just for me when I come through I kid you not), so she said, "Hey try another card" instead of embarrassing me right there.

Today I got a frantic email from Credit Card Company saying, "We are trying to reach you and are going to cancel your card." So I called. Apparently they called the house and the kids hung up by accident so they considered this "proof" that the card had been stolen.


I said, "What activity suggested the card was stolen?"

Answer? "A strange computer code from your grocery store - the same grocery store you've been shopping at frequently."


As I said, when Credit Card Security is TOO Secure. All fixed now. And they owe me $17 for my 5% cash back on last night's order..... as if.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Professional Painting and Expectations

Quick Question for you all about expectations:

I hired a nationally known professional company to paint my kitchen, hallway and a bedroom.

I was told prior to the job and on the day of the job, by the owner of the franchise, that the Foreman would be here "90%" of the time. He might have to leave for paint, but he was in charge. The Owner showed up this morning as promised, hung out with the Foreman as promised, then left. So far so good.

About 2 hours later, Foreman leaves. 3 hours later he is not back. This is a 1 day job.

Now the other painters seem to be doing their jobs. They are polite, quiet (they pretty much don't speak English, but I was told the Foreman would be here, who does. And yeah I speak Spanish anyway), seem to be working. But we have 4 different colors going on. We have spackling, trimming, repairing. How do I know that the right guys are doing the right thing? How do I know they are being thorough without monitoring them?

Isn't that what a Foreman does?

So when I call Owner and say, "Hey you told me Foreman would be here 90% but he's been gone for 3 hours - what's up with that?" And he explains that Foreman had to go somewhere else but I was also told Other Painter was good, too, and all painters are professional, all employees not day laborers, yaddah yaddah yaddah. I wasn't necessarily questioning Painters' work. I was trying to say that the expectation set by Owner was that Foreman would be here 90% of the time to supervise, etc. If Foreman had emergency and needed to make someone else in charge, why not tell me before he left 3 hours ago??

And why doesn't either Owner or Foreman (who has now returned and wants to know what the problem is) why don't they understand any of this?

Am I being picky?? Wait aren't I paying pretty heftily for the right to be picky? So that this will be done TODAY and I don't have to go back another day and complain?


Monday, May 17, 2010

And then he RAN OVER my laptop so there will be no more photos...

Just when you think things can get no more hectic and that teens can be no more shockingly negligent - WHAM - they run you over. Or they run over your laptop.

It started with a lovely dinner - just me and the Captain, a bottle of wine, some awesome fillets cooked on the grill on Saturday night.

Over comes Son from Next Door, takes away our empty plates and our steak knives and says, "I need to talk to you."

He sits down far away - purposefully.

"Thursday was a really bad day mom. Really Bad." Ut oh. I was away Thursday. In San Diego on a conference. Far Far Away.

"You see, it all started with the Scholar's Project. I put my musical composition on your laptop and had to take it to school. But the Powerpoint locked me out and I couldn't use it anyway so I had to do my Scholar's project on a white board and wing it [Wait - your big project that is a whole year's grade? Are you going to graduate? Wait you skipped on by - this is apparently not the bad part?]

"So after school I was hanging out with some friends and I had the laptop in my book bag and we decided to skateboard and then I went home. Without the book bag. Ihaveneverdonethatinmylife. So I zipped back to school and broke in and got caught by the janitor. " [wait are you suspended are you going to graduate oh this is not the bad part?] "The janitor helped me look, but we couldn't find it."

"So I'm thinking I'm screwed and then a friend shows up Friday with my bookbag - and the laptop and the wallet and everything. Oh except someone ran over the bookbag - because I had put it down in the parking lot while we were skateboarding -and now it's in pieces....."

So this is the bad part - my laptop, with all my photos on it - prom, first and last days of school, Spain trip, Jamaica trip, Christmas - all gone?? And you took it to school without permission and simply forgot the screaming fits I had when I found it precariously perched in various parts of the house over the last few months because of how important it is to me and how if you're going to borrow it you have to ASK (even in the house) and must guard it with your life??!! YOU FORGOT ALL THIS?

Yep, that's the bad part.

The Good part? I didn't yell. I took deep breaths. I cried. I talked about lessons and learning that something may be material but may have priceless value attached to it that cannot be bought again. That he's going off to school where it might be a girl that he must treasure, or a friend, or a life.

Took the laptop to my genius neighbor who says hard drive is bent - needs a forensic specialist. For 3 million 48 thousand dollars.

Good news? My backup hard drive is only....16 months out of date, so any photos before January 2009 aren't on there.

Oh but there's more good news - my Norton online backup is there and only ran out of room that I failed to upgrade in ... June 2009. And first day of school and Spain? I uploaded them onto Picasa. And Easter 2010 and Jamaica? Some are on Facebook, some are still on the camera!

So waiting to spend the 3 million on the forensic. Going to go back to neighbor to have him build me a computer.

And? I have a slave for the summer - Son is now an indentured servant. Forever.

And then my head exploded (as a favorite blogger of mine often says....)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Another kind of Spring Cleaning

Today I tackled another Spring Cleaning job - this one a bit different from the usual ones. It involved the following tools (among others)...

Which yielded a whole hellofalot of this:

Which in truth looked a whole lot more like this:

And then, poor Queen Bee got put in the tub. Which she stepped into willingly because she IS the best dog in the whole world....

And after shampoo and conditioner and drying her off in the tub and then commanding her to "SHAKE" (yes while bathing she waits for you to tell her to shake - at which time you draw the shower curtain in a feeble attempt to keep at least part of the bathroom dry), and then towel drying (the first of many towel dryings) you let her out to this.....And Stinky Butt is saying "no No No don't tell me I'm next!!" because stinky butt's brain is so small she forgets that she already had her bath - it takes 3 minutes in the kitchen sink, no deshedding, no trouble. 9 pounds = 3 minutes. 70 pounds and long hair = 90 minutes....

after which time we are left with a bathroom that looks like this....

Sigh. But they smell good. For at least 5 minutes til they go outside and roll in more deer poop...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Yes I Know Spring Arrived - a While Ago

My few faithful blogging buddies have cajoled me into changing my banner to spring. I admit I am relying on an old banner as - SURPRISE - I have not had time to garden, clean, do any of the things I would like to do! Yes I am working full time now, travelling too much for work, and picking up stomach flu's on the way home from travelling too much for work. Which means I am behind on my work. Which means I should be working not blogging. Anyway...

We are less than a month from D-DAY. Or should I say G-Day - Graduation day. I know it's "only high school," but this is a huge deal for me. Yes I said for me. OK OK it's huge for them, too, but they won't realize it for, oh, 25 years. My babies are leaving, going off to great schools to do great things and someday have a great job and be totally self sufficient so that I can go tend bar in the Caribbean and not have to support anyone but myself.

But for now, they are just leaving. And I am going to miss them. And I feel some [probably silly] burning desire to make this send off as excellent as I can. I refrained from saying "perfect." Nothing is ever perfect. But family, friends, a cool cake, some good food, music, a slide show, a repainted kitchen, repainted hall, repainted bedroom, cleaned windows, uncluttered closets, weeded gardens, new flowers, seeded grass, new college-themed dog collars, cleaned carpets, that's all it will take to pull off graduation weekend.

What? Think there are a few extra things in there maybe? I am the kind of person who needs an "EVENT" to make the chores of life happen. Son's room has needed painting for a YEAR and has been spackled awaiting paint for A YEAR. The painters come tomorrow....

You get the picture.

Anyone else out there need an EVENT to get the ball rolling on household projects??

Oh right - I almost forgot to add to the list "Buy 100 boxes of Kleenex." I'm not the only crier in the family...