Oops

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Remember from a couple days back when I reported that two checks had hit our credit union and we were down two thirds of the money that we’d just deposited? And how we had to wait until today to go into the local branch and start to resolve the situation?

I was planning all the things that would need to happen – our money would need to be transferred to a new account, direct deposit and auto-pay information would have to be updated, we’d have to wait until new cards came in for that, we’d have a whole new series of numbers to commit to memory. I wasn’t looking forward to it.

Well, we went into the credit union this morning and told them what was going on, and that’s when the other shoe dropped.

The checks that we deposited on Saturday afternoon through the mobile app were from a place that our account hasn’t seen before, so to protect themselves, the credit union put a hold on part of the money before it would actually hit our account. It’s a very common practice and our online banking made it look like fraudulent charges were pending our account, so we naturally assumed someone somewhere got a hold of our banking information and helped themselves to our money.

All the frustration, all the anger, all the worry … was over absolutely nothing.

So the credit union was very helpful and released the two holds, so we could have access to all our money which has by now already largely disappeared into paying bills. Being an adult isn’t fun a lot of the time. You have to do things that you don’t like doing or there can be some real consequences. I was very, very happy, however, to watch that money get pumped into the places that we owed it.

The only question that remains in the cleanup from this incident is – why didn’t the guy in fraud prevention that told us we had to go into the branch just tell us that these were our own checks that had had a hold placed on them? After a moment of reflection, it’s pretty clear – the guy in fraud prevention didn’t have full access to view our account, otherwise he would have been able to open the case himself instead of having another employee do it come today. Without looking at their side of our account, he wouldn’t have any way of knowing what was really going on.

So life is back to normal, financially speaking, and that’s a good thing.

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A Break from the Stress

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After yesterday’s adventures with our credit union, we decided two things. First, neither of us had any business trying to put together a show or talk on the radio. Since we discovered the two bogus transactions about the time we had to start putting together a show, there just wouldn’t be enough time for us to settle down and focus on music long enough to generate a playlist. Second, we desperately needed a break from the stress of having our checking account compromised again. So we settled on going to the late show of Captain America: Civil War.

Here is my assessment of the film.

It started out kind of tense in the beginning when the thing happened to the people and the beginning of the conflict in the movie started to germinate. The conflict got worse as the movie went on and there were several fights between the various characters in increasingly intense action sequences and some funny bits too and then the movie came to its climax and all the characters dealt with the events of the movie in their own way. It was a nice touch when they took the ghost mask off Mr. Jenkins in the end and he said “And I would have gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for you meddling Avengers.” Aw crap, so much for spoilers. Sorry.

(Seriously, though, one minor spoilerish detail if you haven’t seen the movie: Keep an eye out for the motorcycle stunt. That’s all I’m going to say. And in a warning that shouldn’t have to be given for a Marvel movie, stick around through the end of the credits. You’ll thank me.)

The movie was just what we needed: a hard jolt of distraction at the end of a very stressful day. Now to get through today with plenty of rest to deal with talking to the credit union tomorrow morning.

Frustrated Beyond Words

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We woke up this morning expecting a paycheck. We got two checks instead. We deposited them in the bank through our mobile banking app. Yay for living in the future.

Unfortunately, that also means that untoward things can happen through technology too.

It was only after we deposited the two checks that we discovered that two-thirds of the money we just deposited was eaten up by two pending transactions that neither of us made.

A frantic and frustrated call to our bank produced nothing more than “the department you need to speak with isn’t open until Monday, your best bet will be to go into a branch and talk to them there.”

Obviously we plan to do this, but this is the third time in 18 months that our account security has been compromised – twice through debit card transactions and this most recent time through what appear to be online checks, meaning someone has both our routing number and account number. The only way we’ll be safe is if we start a new set of accounts with the bank and get new cards accessing the new accounts. This means that we’ll need to change direct deposit information for both of us, as well as change the account information for those accounts that we are automatically debited for goods and services. It’s going to be a big hassle that’s going to take us weeks to get back to normal.

I am really not looking forward to this.

NaBloPoMo Day 27: Black Friday

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I think that regular readers of this blog will be able to suss out that I would rather chew my arm off at the shoulder than go shopping today. I can appreciate the desire to get a head start on the holiday shopping, but Black Friday has become this monster that we’re only now starting to fight back against.

It got to the point that some retailers were opening on Thanksgiving Day in order to one-up their competition, and sure enough families were descending in packs to the stores within hours of – and sometimes instead of – eating a big traditional Thanksgiving meal.

It pleased me greatly to see that REI, an outdoor supply cooperative that I am a member of, closed not only for Thanksgiving Day, but also Black Friday. A handful of other retailers followed suit and announced that they, too, would remain closed Thursday and Friday. I made note of those companies and will do my best to frequent them because of their commitment to their employees’ families during the holidays.

Online shopping is taking a bigger part of that pie every year. It’s become so popular, in fact, that Cyber Monday is now a thing. The first day that many people are back to work and have computer access is now the biggest day of the year for online retail.

The draw of online shopping is that you don’t have to brave crowds, leave the house, or even get dressed to get what you want. With Amazon Prime Now, certain items can be delivered to your door within an hour in some locations. (My home is one of them.) You also don’t have to present a physical credit or debit card, either; you can just take down the data from someone else’s card and use it without their permission with some online retailers.

Which is precisely what happened with my wife’s debit card yesterday.

I went to go pay the electric bill this morning and was surprised to see the card continually being declined. I couldn’t figure out why this was the day after payday when neither of us had spend a dime, so I went to the bank’s website, pulled up our account information, and lo and behold, someone had stolen my wife’s debit card data and used it on two transactions totaling more than half of my wife’s paycheck. Neither of us have ever heard of these two retailers, much less would have spend hundreds of dollars without consulting the other.

I immediately contacted the credit union, canceled her card, and formally disputed the two charges. Apparently they’ve already been approved by Visa, so we wait and see whether they’ll reverse on their own or we’ll have to complete paperwork and an investigation into the charges to get the money back. They’ll be sending my wife a new card within seven business days, and we can go to the bank tomorrow morning and get a temporary card for her to use in the meantime.

The temporary loss of that money will affect us profoundly with regard to our bills, as we’re especially tight this week, what with the first of the month coming out of this check. If Visa allows the transactions to clear, then I don’t know how long we’ll have to wait to get that money returned to our bank account, and we can’t afford to have it gone for very long.

So despite neither of us going shopping, it looks like a Black Friday for us as well.

Generally speaking, I kind of hate humanity right now.

NaBloPoMo Day 20: Fear of the Future

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A few years ago, I was absolutely terrified of growing older, because I didn’t know how in the world I would make it past a certain age. The thoughts passed as I started concentrating on more pressing matters, and I haven’t really thought about what the future holds until recently.

But now the fears are worse than ever.

I’m 46 years old. Partially because of my intolerance of a high-pressure, competitive work environment and partially because of my complete lack of a background that I can actually do (I have two vocational certificates, both of which are for a line of work that requires standing for hours at a time, something my back will not tolerate anymore) and partially because of my own lack of motivation to make my career my legacy, if I returned to the workforce, I would be doing so at essentially an entry level position, no matter what field I managed to find work in, and would likely not move past that tier of responsibility for some time. (This is all taking into account my own mental health as it stands today. This might improve over time but that remains to be seen.) I can’t afford to go back to school to improve my chances of finding a career, as the student loans would likely not be paid off in my lifetime and I don’t want my daughter to be left paying them off on top of her own substantial education debt, plus by the time I could graduate and find work, I’d likely have 15 years in the workforce before I was forced to retire. Right now, because I’m on disability, our budget is so tight that in the coming weeks there will be less than a dollar of wiggle room in order to be able to pay our bills one pay cycle.

Now tack on the extra expenses of seeing the doctor more often, seeing more doctors, and paying for more procedures and prescriptions, and the future looks very, very bleak indeed.

What little bit we had managed to save for retirement was eaten up in 2012 when we both lost our jobs within three months of one another and couldn’t find work for several months afterwards. (I have yet to return to work, in fact.)

I try not to dwell on thoughts like this. But any time I think of the future I don’t really see a place for me in it. I see myself homeless and alone and not lasting long on the streets.

This is not where I wanted to end up at the end of my life. I wanted there to be enough saved to be able to make ends meet when I retired. Now there’s no chance I’ll ever be able to retire. Either I’ll remain on disability for the rest of my life, or I’ll have to somehow work until I die.

I don’t like talking about money, and I don’t like talking about my fears, because they both depress me greatly. But lately that’s always in the back of my mind.

I don’t know what the future holds. But right now, with things going the way they are, I don’t see a way out of the hole that I’ve spent my life digging for myself.

Do I plan on giving up? No, not yet. There’s still a chance that something could happen that would help turn this around, and I’m hopeful that it will happen.

But I’m not holding my breath.

NaBloPoMo Day 8: Sunday Wrapup

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I don’t really have an agenda for writing today. No well-thought out cohesive commentary on the things that are going on in my world. So today, you’re going to be treated to what a typical day for me is like, at least in my head. Here are my thoughts on this beautiful, comfortable Sunday.

  • I love this time of year. The temperatures are finally dipping to the levels that we don’t have to have the AC on all the time (in fact, it hasn’t even been turned on since early this morning, and it barely ran overnight). The windows are open, and it’s a gorgeous day. Both of us are pretty low on energy today, since we’ve been through the ringer trying to adult (more on that word later in this post) over the past few days, so rather than get ourselves out of the house to go enjoy it somewhere we’ve just been sitting on the couch goofing off on the computer while we watched the day go by from the second floor. Rather than having a railing for our balcony, we have a half-wall instead, meaning that there’s nothing we can see out of our living room window except for the second floor and above of the apartment building across the way. It’s days like today that make me wish I were a little better prepared to handle life out where there are people. I miss being outdoors, and I miss being healthy enough to go take advantage of it some place besides lapping our apartment complex.
  • As I said in a recent post, I am a Panthers fan. Today’s game nearly gave me yet another heart attack. We won, but the Packers were DANGEROUSLY close to being able to tie the game late. Little more cushion next week, please guys. My blood pressure thanks you.
  • The financial situation that I wrote about yesterday was resolved yesterday. They reversed the charge so fast it was back in our bank the day we called. Finally, our provider does the right thing.
  • I really need to start talking to my therapist about how to process the events in my past that have exacerbated my mental illnesses, and start learning how to work through them in any situation, even work. It is not a delightful thing to be stuck at home all day with extremely little to do. I miss working. I miss being able to work, to contribute to society. I want to make getting back to that point a higher priority, which means we’re going to be minimizing what’s going on now from week to week and concentrating on what happened back then to lead up to this point.

And finally, five good things that happened this week:

  1. We’re tending toward the use of “adult” as a verb in today’s lexicon. “I adulted so hard,” someone might say. “I don’t want to adult today,” another might complain. Over the past few days, I’ve adulted very hard. It’s been a challenge trying to manage our budget for this month due to unexpected expenses, but so far we seem to be managing decently. Financial planning always takes a lot out of me, since it’s somewhat depressing seeing the blueprint of how all of our money drains away right in front of me, but I persevere through it. To many people, this is assumed to be just a thing to do, no big deal. To someone with mental illnesses, tackling this kind of preparatory exercise can be easily overwhelming, and I needed today to just be, no real agenda or anything.
  2. The Panthers won again. Yes, I’m putting that as a good thing. This is the best start they’ve ever had and I’m excited to see just how good they’ll be in the second half of the season.
  3. I got to follow through on a yearly tradition in the house, that being the watching of V for Vendetta on November 5th. (Okay. So. We started it at five minutes to midnight on the 5th and the vast majority of the movie actually ran on the 6th, but at least some of it happened the day of, right?)
  4. I tend to be a creature of habit when it comes to food. One egg and three strips of bacon in the morning. Two ham and turkey wraps for lunch. A smattering of variety at dinnertime. Recently we tried a new ham and turkey for our wraps. Neither of us were very impressed, myself to the point that I could barely choke down even one of the things. We finally made the decision to switch back to the ham and turkey we know we like and that made all the difference in the world. I’m back to wolfing them down like crazy.
  5. I managed to get through the week without any meltdowns into irrationality. There was some self-doubt scattered throughout the week, but nothing was bad enough to get to the point that I couldn’t listen to reason when it was told to me.