Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thieves

There is an empty lot at the end of our country road. There was an old farmhouse there, once. It burned to the ground about 7 years ago. There's no concrete slab, or basement walls to note that there was a house there at one time. The house was old, probably from the early 1900's, before slabs and basements were thought of. What does remain are the flowers. A long time ago, someone planted flowers in the yard of the old house. Bright yellow daffodils and deep purple Phlox (or Thrift?).

This lot sits alone on a busy road, it has a For Sale sign on it, but it hasn't been touched in years. Every once in a while someone will take it upon themselves to park a car "For Sale" - on a lot that doesn't belong to them. About a month ago, as I turned into my road I noticed a car parked on the lot, with the doors open. I then saw a man with a shovel, digging up the blooming flowers! I drove on.

When I came back by later, where there was once a few long rows of pretty yellow flowers, there was dirt. A few broken flowers were tossed around and there was one small patch of flowers left. The purple flowers were undisturbed.

The next day, a different car was in the same spot, this time it was a woman. And a shovel. She took ALL of the remaining yellow flowers. Apparently, she had seen the man taking flowers, and thought they were free game so she came back for the leftovers.

Today, a new car, a new woman and a new shovel. She dug up the entire back row of the purple Thrift.

I won't be surprised if her thievery causes someone else to take the rest tomorrow. The lot will be nothing but overturned dirt and overgrown shrubs.

So, just because someone else is doing it, it must be okay? In this world, all property belongs to someone. There is no unclaimed land. What gives people the right to steal these flowers? Just because no one is there to tell them 'NO', they have taken it upon themselves to decide that the flowers are out for the taking.

What I find interesting is that it took one person to 'go first'. Then the rest just followed and probably justified themselves by the fact that 'he did it first, so we thought it was okay'.....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Minus One Appendix

We spent our weekend and the first part of this week in the Children's hospital. My oldest had to have her appendix removed....of course, unplanned!! Does anyone have a planned apendectomy?

Today was her first day back at school, and she only went in at 11:00 a.m. I've already gotten a call from her that she needs pain medication and it is currently 1:15!! I have strong reservations that the doctor should've given her more time to recover. He suggested that she attend school on Wednesday this week, but I didn't send her - we are all exhausted from trying to live in a hospital room and keep up with our younger child, so we needed a day off. Plus, it was her BIRTHDAY!! I figured the kid deserved a day off after having been sliced open right before her birthday!!

In retrospect, we were pretty lucky that we were only in the hospital from Saturday evening until Tuesday. There were so many people around us that were in there for much longer periods of time and for much more serious ailments. The thing that made me so sad was a little boy who was on our floor, he was all alone most of the time. His parents had to be at work and so he spent his days alone, playing Nintendo or hanging out at the nurse's station. We were lucky enough to be able to have one parent with our child at all times. I can't even imagine how crushing it would be to have to leave your 6 year old all alone at a hospital. Knowing that if you don't go to work, you could lose your job and insurance, knowing that healthcare can cause you to be in financial ruin. Knowing that you had to make a choice to be with your child, or to secure your group insurance. Ugh. It is just not right.

But we are home now, and my child is doing better. I'm still trying to catch up on the sleep that was lost, a hospital is no place to get any rest!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Money and Movie

The latest update on our money is that WE GOT IT ALL BACK! Paypal completed their investigation and we got a full refund. Yahoo!! The thing that I'm dying to know are all the details!! I have no idea if they found the jeweler to be a part of the whole case, or if they got a credit for the cost of the diamond. It just grates on my nerves when I don't have details!! I'll get past it though, since I have my moolah back!

Speaking of money, last night I dropped a nice chunk of change on my daughter's birthday party. I try not to spend tons of money on birthday parties, I don't rent out the jumpy houses for $400, we don't hire zoos, mascots, etc. But I do like to have a fun party. Our ill-planned party (due to my lack of planning ahead) went off really well......it just cost more than I ever thought it would. We met at Chick Fil A where I purchased a nugget tray and fruit cups - instead of getting everyone a single meal. This turned out to be about the same price, but at least we were able to forgo the french fries. While I knew the kids were going to eat a lot of candy, I tried to sneak in some better choices...i.e. fruit cups. After dinner we walked over to the candy store and I allowed each of them to get the equivalent of one scoop of candy. Silly me, I thought this would amount to about $3 per child, but since I could not police them - they were going batshit crazy - some of them filled their bags with more than the allotted amount. I gave too much credit to other people's kids, I fully expect my kids to follow direction and not act like an animal in public. Other people, apparently, do not teach their children these policies. Not to mention that these girls were all 11 or 12 years old, they SHOULD have some level of responsibility and grace. Eh. What I expected to cost $30 ended up being $60! Yes, I purchased $60 worth of CANDY. That makes me want to hurl. But once you scoop it out, you can't really put it back, so we were kind of stuck with it. I definately learned NOT to turn a kid loose in a candy store......heh.

Our next stop was to see Race to Witch Mountain. I have fond memories of watching Witch Mountain movies when I was a kid, so I was excited for my kids to share the fun. It was okay, but it was not as much about the kids having powers as it was about car chases/crashes. My 7 year old was not impressed with it at all - she got in my lap and tried to sleep. It was shaky filming which I can not stand and it just wasn't all that interesting. The older girls seemed to like it, but I thought the kid actors were weird. Maybe my memory is all messed up, but Tia didn't act like a frickin' robot in Escape to Witch Mountain. The classic movies featured the kids having fun, but this release gave them virtually no personality whatsoever. They were all sad in the end when leaving "The Rock" (Dwayne), and don't get me wrong, I would be sad to leave that man behind, but as the movie went, I didn't really see them make a familial connection to him since they had really no emotion at all. So, either the movie was just okay, or I'm just ass old. Probably a little bit of both! By the way, both of the child actors from the original movies had small parts in this release - I thought that was cool.

One last thing about money is that when one of the mom's dropped off her daughter (I do not know this family), the mom pulled me aside and stated that her child had picked out the gift on her own. The mom thought that the daughter did not spend enough money on the gift, so she wanted me to know that she dropped a $20 down in the gift bag so her daughter wouldn't look cheap. HUH? First of all, how did the daughter go shopping without an adult? Second of all, the little girl gave my daughter 2 new tops, both of which were very cute. ?? I'm not sure where this mom was coming from and how much she feels you should spend on a gift for a kid's birthday - a kid that is just a casual friend from school. Unless it is a really special occasion I see birthday gifts as gestures of kindness, not to be measured by worth. Maybe I am the cheap one? The funny thing is that my daughter just went to this girl's birthday a few weeks ago - I suppose she thought we sent a cheap gift because I let my child pick out the gift. She chose to give the girl a set of colored art pencils because the girl really loves to draw. The set was $9.99, we threw in a cheap sketch book and that was it! She chose something she thought the girl would really love based on her interests, not by price! I wasn't sure how to take that comment! How do you measure what is appropriate to spend on a birthday gift?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

No News

No news is not necessarily good news, or bad - it is ANNOYING! We've got no information on our Paypal/Ebay issue. I've talked to two different people at Paypal. The first one I talked to was mildly reassuring, but she didn't offer much information. She basically said that Paypal protects us and to wait up to 10 days for a decision. Pardon me, but a 'decision' means that I may or may not get my money back (in my opinion). I called again, to try to get an update, and I talked with another representative who was VERY reassuring. She asked a TON of questions, made some major restrictions on our account to prevent any further fraud (which should have been done IMMEDIATELY on my first call!), she seemed very interested in this investigation and wanted to gather as much information as possible. She states that Paypal will cover our money, AND they will pay the seller of the diamond if they had already shipped it. I suppose they would then use law enforcement to try and track the actual offender. I have hope, but I will believe it when I see it in the form of $$$$.

It's very frustrating to wait for information. On my end it seems as though nothing is happening and I'm the type of person that likes to make stuff happen. I hate to wait, on anything. The waiting is just killing me. I am also obsessed with having lots of information about stuff. I think I'm more focused on the fact that I need more information about this crime than the money itself. Well, maybe..... :)

In other news, I'm hosting a baby shower at my house next weekend. I'm getting kind of freaked out about it because I feel like my house is not 'show ready'. I also don't have a lot of time between now and the shower, sooooo... I'm a little irritated.

I have no window treatments in my living room. Not a real issue, but there were window treatments at one time, so now there are holes where the hardware once was. It needs filling, sanding and painting. Oh yeah, I don't have that paint anymore, either. The bathroom that is most likely to be used by guests also needs a paint job along with the hallway attached to it. I watched my friends kids a week or so ago and they ended up coloring all over the walls. Sounds like I did a fantastic job watching them, huh? I was actually getting their dinner together and they were playing nicely in the next room - or so I thought. I tried using a magic eraser to remove most of the coloring - it does work, but I can 'see' where I've erased. And not all of it will come off. Hey, they are aspiring artists and they used different mediums of coloring tools! There were crayons, markers and pencils.

There are a lot of other little things that I would like to have done before having a mulititude of people sticking their noses in every corner of my house, but I think I'm just going to have to get past it. There are not enough hours in the day. What is it with people coming over that they have to go on a 'tour' of the whole house and look behind every door!? I'm really letting just one person get to me about this whole house thing. I have a relative who will be attending that loves to point out things that they could do so much better!

I should just let it go, much like my obsession with our claim. It will all happen the way it was meant to happen. I will do what I can to make the shower nice, and I will do what I can to find the prick who took my money, but in the end no amount of my worry will change an outcome.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Shaft

I've been using online service, vendors, banking, etc. since the beginning of 'internet' time. It must have been more than 10 years. I've had very few 'problems' aside from the occasional suckbucket on ebay. None of my problems have ever amounted to much. Until today.

When logging on to my online banking this morning I noticed that Paypal has taken a nice chunk of my money. A $2,649.99 chunk, to be exact. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (this is the amount of silence it took before what was happening sunk in). Fu#@#^^&*%$###$***$#@!!!!!!!!! began the line of obsenities that spewed from my mouth. In my kitchen. Where my kids were eating chocolate chip waffles. I'll probably get a call from the principal today when my 7 year old asks her teacher what "you fucking fucker douchebag shit" means.

Apparently, someone has captured the password of my Hunk's ebay and paypal account. Upon which they decided they wanted to purchase a $2,649.99 loose diamond. They changed the confirmed shipping address on the paypal account and did an instant transfer from our bank account. For $2,649.99. ahem. Apparently, I have moved to El Paso, TX where I will be receiving my loose diamond via US Postal service any day now.

So, Paypal will investigate this claim, but it takes 10 days. My bank will let me file an unauthorized form of some sort, which takes 5 days to process. I doubt I have a leg to stand on with the bank. Paypal.....we shall see. I've heard a lot of bad stories, but I'll hold my judgement until it is considered a closed deal. My hope is that Paypal will indeed protect this purchase.

I checked out the auction that Hunk supposedly won, a brilliant loose diamond. Not only am I missing money, it was lost to something that I don't like AT ALL, jewelry. I don't wear any jewelry other than my wedding rings. I don't have any desire to wear jewelry. Anyhoo, I called the number of the "Seller". They have a website - a strange address, though (no www). I dialed the 877 number and a man answered, possibly having been awakened by the phone. He was clearly NOT at a jewelry store. I asked him if he could refund my purchase, he said yes, but he needed to call his partner. "Has the item been shipped?" Yes, I was assured that the diamond was shipped to El Paso yesterday. "A Tracking Number, please". He didn't have it at the moment and he really needed to call his partner to figure this all out. His partner happened to have just left for Israel. Hmmmm.

I then followed up my dispute with a call to Paypal to see what leg I have to stand on, especially if they say this item has shipped. According to Paypal, they have not yet released the money to the seller (thank GOD if that is true). Which brings me back to the seller - why would they ship a diamond supposedly valued at $6,500 (I really got a bargain!! ha) if they haven't received their $2.649.99???

There's a lot of fishy going on here. At first I thought that perhaps both the seller and myself had been duped. But with the reaction I'm getting from the seller, I'm wondering if they are not a part of the scam? Whatever the case, if the seller is legit, and they shipped this diamond then someone in El Paso is going out for a steak dinner and doing a happy dance.

A good lesson learned here, is that I should be logging on to my online banking DAILY. Paypal 'says' that there is a 3-4 day waiting period before they would have actually released the money. If I had not happened to have checked, the money would have DEFINATELY been gone and I would have no grounds at all. I'm in my account a lot, but if I set up all my billpay info, I can go a week or so without logging in.

I've made all the appropriate changes to passwords, etc., but it doesn't replace the fact that I'm out of $2,649.99 in CASH, and I may never see it again. I honestly do not see how people can live with themselves by taking things from other people. What kind of a mind do you have to have to feel as though you deserve something that I worked for? It really is amazing how people can be so different, so unfeeling, so self righteous. I wonder if I would be a different person if I weren't as blessed as I am. I don't want for food, or clothing. I have a nice place to live. If I didn't have these things would it alter my compassion for others?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Funny

My 7 year old came running into the kitchen and exclaimed, "MOMMY!! I found the perfect thing! It makes the house smell good AND it babysits!!" WTH? I'm kind of half listening, but then I realized what she said. "Honey, you heard it wrong". She insisted that she heard it as plain as the nose on her face - "no, REALLY, it's a smell good thing that watches KIDS! It's a commercial and it's really real, I promise!".

Ok - my full undivided attention is now on this kid. "Honey, you must be mistaken, that sounds a little crazy".

Enter Tivo*. Rewind, find the commercial. Play it.

So there's an Airwick air freshener commercial that features an Owl and she has all these little Owl kids running around. She states that she's too busy to keep an eye on everything all the time, but that her Airwick plug in is always on duty, it can even sense when a stinky kid walks by - or something to that effect. I can see where she gathered her conclusion and I just about wet myself laughing. It shows the air freshener perking up when the kids are around, so naturally my kid thinks that it is watching the kids!! And it's always on duty!!

So, if my kids are home alone, but I have an Airwick do I have a case against DFACs??

*Thank heavens for Tivo, or I might have had my kid tested for weirdness*

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sink or Swim

I'm so mad right now that I can't stand it. My 11 year old did it, again. They say that the two's are terrible, but I'm having a much harder time with 11. I think that something ate my child's brain. She habitually 'forgets' things that are pretty important because she is so wrapped up in whatever else is more important at the moment. She almost never thinks ahead and I'm finding it quite annoying. It is most annoying because she used to be much different. This is completely new territory for us. She used to be the kid that I could ask her where anything was and she remembered exact locations - of everything, hers or someone else's. She was very observant of all around her, yet that seems to have been lost in the shuffle. She's starting to act like a ditzy teen (but she's only 11!!!!). If this is a preview of 13-17, then people, I'm screwed. Let's hope this is a phase.

The latest comes about 11pm last night. Apparently, her conscious got to her so much that it jolted her out of sleep...."HEY, TOMORROW IS THURSDAY, remember....". She stumbled into our room to inform us that she almost(?) forgot that tomorrow is the day for her to do a cooking demonstration for her speech class. Blink. 11 pm. Blink. The day before.

What makes me the most angry is that we talked about this demonstration 2 weeks ago. We brainstormed, we came up with ideas that would be easy and ones that would really wow the teacher. We decided on something that would have an interesting story behind it so she would have good 'chat' material while demonstrating the recipe. The schedule for demonstrations was not set, so we had no date. I also asked her to speak with her instructor to make sure that she would be permitted to do what we had planned. I asked her a few times over the course of the past two weeks if she had gotten permission, etc., the last inquiry from me was Friday. She had no new information. I'm guessing she probably got the go ahead and date on Monday of this week, but failed to let me know.

Since we only had half the ingredients necessary for this project I had to get up two hours early to go to the grocery store and get what she needed, then we had to practice and time the speech and make her note cards. All on the day of the demonstration.

The worst part is that I absolutely could not enjoy doing this project with her. It started out great with the ideas and decision making. I had anticipated having a lot of fun with this, but I could not get past my anger - at 5:30 a.m. no less. The entire morning just completely sucked ass and I pretty much just helped her do enough to 'get by'. She was concerned that it would not last as long as it was supposed to and instead of being a great mom I said, "well, I guess you're grade is just screwed then!".

I'm wondering if I would have been better off to just not help her at all, to just let her tell her teacher that she was unprepared and see where the chips would fall. I might have been a lot less angry at the whole situation and I might have been a better parental unit. The jury is out, I think I would still be mad that she let the grade go, but maybe I would have been a bit less vocal to her about it.

Sometimes it just sucks to be the grown up. Would you let them sink or help them swim? I probably did more harm by helping her throw something together, than to let her just fail and learn from her mistake. Considering that this was a large percentage of her grade, would you knowingly let your child fail a class to teach them a lesson? Where do you draw the line? Failing a class is different (to me) than screwing up outside of school.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Uncomfortable

Have you ever had a conversation with friends that took a turn to made things uncomfortable from that point on?

I was talking with two friends yesterday and the subject of taxes came up. Throughout the conversation we were talking about scenarios, etc. and things that are irritating. At some point, there was some information that kind of "gave away" that of these three people, one of them is in an income category that is heinously different than the others.

Once it sank in, there was a definate feeling of uncomfortable-ness in the conversation. The thing is that all three of us lead basically the same outward lives.....as in vehicles, homes (sort of) and the activities that our kids participate in. We all send our kids to public schools, the same summer camps. We vacation alike. There is nothing of our lifestyles that suggest that we are world's apart in tax brackets.

Yet, now, it seems as though there is something in the way. The conversation went silent, and then I could just see the discomfort, the thoughts whirling. I won't divulge the specifics, because then it might make YOU uncomfortable. But I'm peeved that this has created a feeling of 'difference', when it is not something that matters at all. We are all so much alike in most everything we do. Even if we weren't alike in our daily lives, this should not be an issue. I have friends in (what I can only assume) a lot of different financial situations. I don't feel differently about any of them based on their jobs or supposed income. Why should it matter if you have more, or less, money than me. I'm still me. Are you jealous? Do you pity me? I guess it's that I just don't care about your money, and I assume that you shouldn't care about mine. Maybe I'm reading too much into how I felt the conversation went. Perhaps there will be nothing different the next time we all meet up. I hope this is the case, but there was a definate 'cloud' for the rest of the evening. The conversation wasn't 'easy' anymore.

Would it make you uncomfortable if you assumed that a good friend was 'in the same boat' with you, only to find that their boat was actually a yacht...or a dingy?

Monday, March 2, 2009

NOT a Snowy Sunday

As you can see by my highly accurate weather map that we did not get snow. Atlanta got snow, Athens got a truckload, but our little slice of town got the shaft. It has been YEARS since we had any real snow and we were thrilled at the prospect. Today, I have some very disappointed kids. But let me tell you that the kids that are 20 miles to the east of us are out building snowmen today. I shit you not, 20 miles. We got nuthin'.

We did get to see some snow falling, but it was a snow/rain mix, so the rain was pretty much just killing it as it fell. We had about 15 minutes of white falling and then it just rained. Then it got really cold and evaporated all of the moisture, so we didn't even get to skip school for ice.

We got nuthin'.

And here I thought I was going to get to do a Snowy Sunday Show....... pft.