Monday, November 26, 2012

Yep...Still Got It

I had a blonde moment to end all blonde moments tonight.

And I'm not even blonde.

You know how when you order checks, they always tell you to verify the information when you receive the new order (do the check making people really think anyone actually does this)? So tonight I'm paying bills,  and I'm three batches of checks into a box I ordered about nine months ago. As it always seems to do, the current check batch runs out mid-bill paying, so I grab the next one in the box and continue paying bills. Suddenly, I notice the check numbers aren't in sequence. The new batch is 30 check numbers ahead of the last batch, meaning there are now 30 unaccounted for checks.

"No big deal," I think. I obviously must have grabbed the wrong batch when refilling the checkbook, and the batch with the correct sequence numbers must still be in the box.

Back into the box I go to find the right checks. I glance at all the check numbers on the top of the new batches, but none of them begin with the number of the missing sequence. I put the checks in order according to the number of the top check of each batch, just to make sure I'm not missing anything. (It isn't hard. There are just two batches left: the one I had pulled out, and the one with the reorder form on it.) The check number on the reorder form is the number immediately following the last check in the new batch I just pulled out, meaning it comes after the new batch and there really are 30 checks missing from the box.

I'm a little nervous at this point. Does the fact that I'm missing 30 checks mean it was just a misprint? Or, gulp, does it mean that someone somehow took them at some point in between the time they were printed to the time they arrived in our mailbox? And is there anything that can actually be done about it, since it took me nine months to notice?

"Don't panic," I think to myself. "Call customer service. Surely it was just a misprint and they will straighten it all out."

I call customer service. A talking robot answers the phone, and politely gives me three options to choose from. None of them seem to pertain to my particular dilemma, however, so I say "Customer service," hoping the robot will understand.

The robot does not understand. "I'm sorry," the robot says. "I do not recognize that option. Please choose from the following three options."The robot then repeats the same three options to me.

Quickly realizing there is a very real possibility I might lose this battle, I try a different tactic. "Operator," I say.

"I'm sorry, I did not understand you," the robot politely replies.

"Associate! Representative! HUMAN!" I say to the robot (surely it will have to recognize one of the many verbal options I have just provided).

"I'm sorry. I did not understand you." (We are eons away from being overrun by robots, people, I can assure you.)

Fortunately, the robot is so thoroughly confused at this point, its system goes into its default setting...which means I get transferred to a real live person! Success! But alas, the thrill of my victory was to be short-lived, being very quickly squashed by the realization of my own incredible stupidity.

The customer service rep listens to my predicament and takes down some information. "Do you see a batch of checks with a reorder form on top?" the service rep asks.

"Yes," I reply. I'm still staring right at it.

"What check number is on the reorder form?" the service rep asks.

I give the service rep the check number, the number that begins the last sequence in this particular box of checks.

"Lift up the order form," the service rep instructs me. "Underneath the order form should be the missing check numbers."

What is it that Homer Simpson usually says in situations like these? And why couldn't I have remembered that the check number on the reorder form indicates the first check number of your new order, and does not indicate the check number on the check immediately following the order form before I called customer service?

In other news, I'm pretty sure I just made this blog:


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Don't Let This Happen To You

I hate salespeople.

Whenever I go shopping anywhere that involves a salesperson--car dealership, retail stores where employees work on commission--I always try to fly in and out under the radar to avoid any unneccesary contact with these people. If they come to my door, I pretend I'm not home. If they call on the phone, I screen the call. Why? The same reason 95% of the rest of the world's population does the same thing: the fact that I feel like I'm being conned.

If you've ever had the same reaction to something and felt as though you were being a bit paranoid or overreacting, have I got a story that will cure you of that but quick:

We have been in the market for a new computer, and visited a local branch of a big box electronics store, which shall remain nameless, within the last few weeks to look at the computer Hubby has been eyeballing. We had been there for no more than .046 seconds when--you guessed it--the manager walked over to see if we needed any "help."

Within the first three minutes of the conversation, this guy talked us out of a sale. He did it by trying to talk us into buying something else in addition to the computer: the extended warranty the store offers. His sales pitch? He told us that he had the same machine we were looking at, and the hard drive had fried after only a year's time.

I immediately felt conned. We had done some research prior to coming in, and hadn't heard of anything like this ever happening with this particular computer. Plus, what this guy didn't know was that Hubby used to work for this very same big box electronics store, and was well aware of their policy to give incentives to their managers for selling as many of these extended warranties as possible. Once, Hubby watched his own boss get a weekend trip to Las Vegas because he and his employees sold enough sound systems (that's right, the employees under the manager don't get rewarded for their sales--they all get lumped under the manager's numbers, and the manager is the only one who gets the reward).

I quickly came to loathe this manager. I decided there was no way was he getting credit for anything we bought. Ever. So I encouraged Hubby to leave. He did, even though he really wanted the computer. I felt like a bad wife, but was still determined not to buy anything from that man.

Fast forward to this week. Hubby's co-worker, also in the market for a new computer, goes to the same branch of this big box electronics store and is helped by the same guy. He gives her the same schpeel about his hard drive frying within the first year of his owning the machine, and encourages her to get the extended warranty. Instead of walking out of the store like we did, however, she bought the warranty. It added almost $500 onto her purchase price.

A different employee rang up her purchases. As they were chatting while the transaction was being processed, Hubby's co-worker mentioned something about the schpeel the manager had given her, which had influenced her to buy the extended warranty. The other employee rolled her eyes and said:

"That guy's such a jerk. He's got five computers, and, like, three of them he's won from here because he sells so many of these warranties."

So take heart friends! It's okay to say no to the pushy salespeople. There is a reason they are pushy, and it isn't because they have your best interests at heart.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How Many Times Can YOU Move in a Year?

When I started this blog, I was updating daily. Then it went to weekly...then biweekly.

Now I'm down to biannually. :( For those of you who still read, my apologies. Life has gotten in the way of regular blog posts. I do enjoy blogging, and intend to keep up with it, even if posts are few and far between for the time being. I am hopeful that the frequency might change once life calms back down.

When I last posted, we were living in an apartment, desperately hoping to find a house before our lease expired at the end of September. We failed. We found another house we'd hoped to buy at the end of September, but again, it was a bank repo, and someone else beat us to it (although, again, it was still listed as available).

So our lease expired, and we packed up our stuff, and one of Ben's aunts was nice enough to take us in for a month. That was October. In November we moved across the yard and into Ben's dad's house, where we stayed for the next six weeks. Fortunately, during that time, we were able to find a house that we liked and was available! We closed and moved in December, almost six months to the day when we closed and sold our previous home.

And in those six months, we moved six times, alternating between the apartment and generous relatives who tolerated us temporarily invading their space. To those relatives, if you ever read this, a huge thank you. It is a wonderful blessing to have family who will take you in when your Plan A, B, and C living arrangements fail.

We have been in our new home for two months now, and we love it. It has a walk-in pantry, a whirlpool bath, formal dining room and a fireplace, all features I was hoping to find. Hubby loves the large three car garage and basement, which he's turned into his man-cave. The previous owners took good care of the house, so, while there are cosmetic changes we are making to suit our personal taste, there were no changes that absolutely had to be made if we had decided to pass on the house projects.

And I have pictures! Well, two. We still have stuff all over the place, so if you want to see more, you'll just have to come visit. I refuse to document for public posterity our current mess.

This room had the nastiest carpet in the house. So we gave it to our cats.

And our living room with the afore mentioned fireplace!

Friday, September 10, 2010


April 28 was the first time we went house hunting.

It is now September 10, and we still haven't found a house. We've seen at least 100 houses. At least.

That's not to say we haven't found anything we like. There have been two houses we've tried to buy. The first was a short sale, and the agent didn't disclose there was an existing offer until we called to make ours. The second was a bank-owned home, and, again, the agent didn't disclose there were multiple existing offers until after we had seen the home and fallen in love with it.

Our three-month lease, which we originally thought would be too long, expires at the end of the month, and we're not sure where we're living after that.

All of our stuff is in boxes in the garages of various relatives. I can't bake anything in the oven, because all that stuff is packed. Pizza cutter? Packed. Winter jackets that we'll be needing soon? Packed.

I'm frustrated.

Monday, August 16, 2010


One of the perks of apartment living is shared laundry facilities. Based on the people I've seen floating around our apartment complex, I refuse to use the laundry facilities as it is quite probable that they are hotbeds of multiple germ and bug infestations. My mother-in-law has been nice enough to loan out her laundry facilities whenever we need them, so once every other week or so I bring two basket fulls of dirty laundry and camp out at her house for the 12 hours it takes to wash two weeks worth of laundry. Recently, on a non-laundry week, hubby asked me if I was planning on going to his mom's to do laundry. I said no, but that I would make a special trip if he really needed something. He was shooting a wedding that weekend, and needed a pair of dress pants washed, so on my day off I dragged my basket of laundry down to my mother-in-laws and did a load of laundry. He also requested I pick up some other items we are storing at her place. At 5:30PM, hubby called to tell me he was on his way home from work.

"Ok," I replied. "I am just now leaving your mom's."

"Oh," hubby says, his voice filled with surprise. "Did you do laundry today or something?"

Next time he needs an emergency load done, I'm just going to go buy him new clothes instead. It will be quicker.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Where Does The Time Go?

Wow. February 5. It feels like I just updated this blog a couple of weeks ago.

For any of you still out there, here's what we've been up to:

Moving: we began the process of putting our home on the market in March. By April, we were finally ready to list. In today's economy, we weren't sure how long it would be until we had a buyer. We had regular showings--every couple of days I was either going to work late or coming home early to make sure the house was clean for prospective buyers. Our house sold in under three weeks, which caught us a little off guard, because we had been so busy getting the house ready to sell that we hadn't bothered to look for a new one yet.

Our closing was in June; we had scheduled a two and a half week vacation a year ago that ended four days before our scheduled closing. We decided not to cancel. We enjoyed the vacation, but paid for the timing. We had four days to move our seven years worth of stuff plus the 20+ years of stuff from Hubby's childhood out of the house. We didn't make it--Hubby had to go back the next day for one final load. Fortunately the new buyer wasn't moving in until two weeks after the closing.

Since the closing, we've looked at probably 100 homes. We're still looking. It's been a frustrating process. Temporary housing is an apartment with a three-month lease; originally we thought that would be too long, but now I'm worried it won't be long enough.

We are hoping to be in permanent housing within the next couple of months. In the meantime, we don't have Internet access at the apartment, so postings will probably remain few and far between. Hopefully the next post will be a picture of our new house!

Friday, February 5, 2010

'Nuff Said

California Turbines Frozen in Minnesota Wind

From the Star Tribune:

"Like a lot of California transplants, 11 newcomers to Minnesota are having a hard time adjusting to our winters.

They are wind turbines, erected last fall by 11 metro and outstate cities. The green energy machines were expected to be spinning before Christmas, but so far their blades have been largely motionless, apparently paralyzed by frigid weather."

I posted this on Facebook but thought it was worth a second look here. Just more proof that things from California weren't meant to live in the Upper Midwest.