I’d still rather be making it up: an Update


After a total of ninety minutes on the phone yesterday, my debit card was finally cancelled—a shame, really, since I  repeated it or entered it so often to so many people or systems that the number string is now engraved on my memory.

The final service rep on my journey told me I needed to go to my bank to get a new one, a precaution I understood.*  I work the late shift tonight, so I was able to go in this morning.

It doesn’t appear that anyone tried anything before it was cancelled, but the one legitimate transaction I made yesterday morning hadn’t cleared, so it’s possible someone ordered some stuff while I was typing up my vent post yesterday.  But that won’t be a problem—the bank is aware that anything purchased with the card after eleven-thirty a.m. isn’t legit.

And I even scored a bonus:  while I was talking with the nice banking lady, I mentioned my ongoing problems with Honda’s automated pay service, which keeps taking car payments out of my account  and  mailing me refund checks with letters telling me to stop sending them money because my car is paid off—it’s the grown-up version of Why are you hitting yourself ? and it’s been going on since October.

My husband had suggested closing my account and getting a new one, and the nice lady agreed with him.  My old account has enough to cover that last debit transaction, after which she will close that account and move over whatever’s left.  The theory is that the ghost in Honda’s financial machine will note that my first account is closed, note that my account is paid in full, and leave us all the heck alone.**

Until my Discover Card,  new banking card, and checks arrive, I’m strictly a cash operation.  It’s an oddly helpless feeling, though not two years ago, I depended on cash and checks and now I’m wondering if I can even access my online Discover account without a card number so I can pay my bill on time.

I also have to get the library to direct deposit my paycheck into my new account and call our life insurance place to tell them to pull their quarterly out of the new one.  And then I can rest easy.

Or easier.

Okay, so I know it’s possible that the restaurant manager pulled my wallet from my bag to see who I was, some cards fell out, and they put them back in the wrong place.  This whole song and dance—and resulting migraine-like pain, I kid you not—might have been unnecessary.  But at the risk of sounding paranoid (cough, cough), I don’t know that for sure.

It would be easy to copy the information on my cards, including the three digit confirmation numbers on the back strip, and tell Amazon, et al to send the ‘gift’ to another address.  The cards themselves were still there—that’s the savvy way to go if you don’t want to alert the mark that anything’s out of the ordinary.   If I wasn’t so retentive about where my cards go or if they’d been returned to the right places, I might have let it go, despite my recent research into frauds, cons, and thefts.

So regardless of how inconvenient everything was, it was the smart thing to do.

Amazon!  I need to remember to change Amazon, too!  And Sony.  And a few other places.

Or I could take the opportunity to delete all my card info from these accounts—it would be more difficult to spend money online if I had to get the card each time.

That would be the smart thing to do, too.

I freakin’ hate learning opportunities.


* Someone jacked my Discover card number a few years ago and tried to get the bills sent to a Brooklyn PO box.  Say what you want about Big Brother, but Discover knew I didn’t live in Brooklyn and that I don’t normally buy Jet Skis in bulk.  If the thief had hit Godiva or FAO Schwartz, things might have worked out differently.

** Let’s hope I don’t get a call from Honda telling me I’ve missed a payment . . . or things are going to get tense.


I’d rather be making it up . . .

As of the writing of this post, I have been waiting twenty minutes in a phone queue to report that my debit card number was compromised.

That’s twenty minutes after a previous thirty minutes trying to make my way to the correct phone queue through Hell’s Own Phone Tree.

There are no words for how upset I am right now.  Especially since I’m the one who left my bag in the restaurant this afternoon.   Once we were reunited—after much cursing and abandoning my husband at the grocery store and even more cursing—I checked my wallet and noticed that some of the cards were in the wrong pockets.

Damn it.

I only carry two cards in my wallet, and Discover gave me no trouble at all–in fact, the customer service rep complimented me on my foresight.  But for some reason, my bank makes it completely impossible to report a lost or stolen card.  Impossible. 

All the regular service reps go home after two, so the phone system gives you a different number to call after hours.  Once.  Very quickly.  Three rounds through that part of the tree and I had the number.  I finally got a human being about fifteen minutes in, but she couldn’t help me because she was in the wrong department. 

We figured that out after I repeated my number to her three times and she couldn’t find it in the credit database.  Because it’s a &$%#% debit card, which I’d told her at the beginning of our conversation.

And now, I’m in limbo.

I can feel someone draining my account as I listen for the sixty-eighth time to a pleasant, sociopathic voice telling me my call is important and due to the personal attention given to each call, I might experience a brief delay. 

We are now forty minutes in.

On the other hand, I can now write what I know when it comes to card theft and the reporting of same. And, if I’m being honest, what it feels like to be a clueless mark.   That’s not much of a silver living from where I’m sitting, a cell phone warbling into my ear.

How’s your Sunday going?

Small Victories

It is Friday and I am still upright. 

Coughing, snorting, and trying to drown that damned frog with my my third gallon of hot tea since this morning, but upright.

That counts.


I sent off the “autobiographical” reenactment speech last night—a whole week before deadline, thank you—and received a reply this afternoon that it was more than acceptable and they’d “be in touch.” 

This is both a relief and a slight puzzlement—I wrote it for free* and I don’t have much in the way of stage direction or insights to offer, so I’m assuming any future  touching would be for edits, possibly for length.

No sweat—I could take out the poem, the obituary excerpt, and/or pare back hte bit about his best friend the radical socialist.

Or if it’s too long, I could put back one of his wives, his military “career”—which appears to have consisted mostly of a few months at Camp Cuba Libre during the Spanish-American War—and the subsequent book about said “career” (whoops, just remembered that one), numerous affairs with the women he didn’t marry, and a couple of great cautionary tales about the dangers of binge drinking.

So there’s room to move, if movement is required.

But for now, it’s one more thing off the checklist, if I had one. 


At the stroke of New York midnight tonight, Janet Reid will open the entry floodgates for one of her famous 100-word story contests.  The prize is an advance copy of The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino and the thrill of knowing that for one shining moment, Ms. Reid liked your stuff.

And I’m done with my entry!   Trust me, this counts as a victory, long-winded as I am.

I’d enter the contest anyway, because I’m ever so slightly addicted to the mini-challenges, but I do want to read Suspect X, a mystery set in Japan.  I’ve always been fascinated with Japan, mostly because of Dad, who taught at the American School in Tokyo in the ‘fifties. 

Dad taught me how to use chopsticks to pick up almost everything—practicing with M&Ms is key—and tells great stories about his first trip to the baths, where an elderly gentleman taught him a lesson in humility, and skiing, where he learned of his own mortality, and bits and pieces of everyday life the way it was half a century ago.  Of all the items he brought back with him, I covet the beautiful book of haiku,each poem delicately drawn on one page, with the translation in lovely printing on the next. 

So I’m definitely there for this one—though probably not at midnight, even if I am on Central Time. 

Ms. Reid is only allowing entries for twenty-four hours, so come join me!  The more the merrier! 

And as usual, if you win, please let me borrow the book.


My wonderful First Reader got back to me with her impressions of the revised early chapters of my WIP and so far, so good. 

I’m still wrestling with how much I should reveal of each character’s backstory . . . but at least I’ve got the firearms legally back in the hands of my ex-cons!

Hey—anyone know what a Pennsylvania gun permit looks like? 


It’s nine-thirty, the kids are toothbrushed, pottied, and in bed. 

That counts as two.


*Three reasons:  the reenactment is the entertainment for a fundraiser benefiting the local writing center, so taking money from them in this economy made no sense.  The lady who asked me to write it is a lovely, sweet, and iron-willed woman—a retired children’s librarian, in fact— who would have repeated, “We can’t pay you much,” in an apologetic tone until I caved anyway, so I cut to the chase.  And I’ve never done one of these monologues before, so if it had stunk on ice, money would have been embarrassing.