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The Frustration of Doing “The Right Thing”

Over the weekend, I noticed some odd transactions in my bank account. Pursuing them further yesterday, I found out that someone was able to steal mail somewhere, somehow and in those were paper checks that had been written to pay bills.

According to the bank, two checks from my bank account were stolen and then “washed” or somehow modified such that the amounts and the payee were changed and they were able to steal $1200 from my checking account. Sigh. This actually had happened last year as well, when Time Warner’s night drop was robbed and the same thing happened with that check. This time they are alleging that it was a mail drop theft… we live very close to a sorting facility that accepts mail. I never leave mail in my mailbox, especially when you have to signal to the world that there is mail to be picked up. The innocence of being able to do that disappeared a long, long time ago.

It is a major ordeal to get this fixed… it requires opening a new account, cancelling the old one and all that comes with it. Accounts setup with autopay and my paycheck with direct deposit. For a few days anyway, I don’t have a debit card – and I live and move through the city with that card.

I’m not too upset, as the bank has taken on most of the responsibilities and redeposited those funds back into my account. Might take a “day or two” to show up, but they will. At least when this happened last year, it did.

Still, the peace of mind and the oblivion that I used to have with taking care of my finances has been shaken. To know that something that people take so for granted – that I take for granted – is a little unsettling. The effortless way that my finances are handled are almost oblivious to me, my paycheck is auto-deposited and monthly expenses are handled with pre-defined payments and for the most part, I am not even confronted with handling much. On occasion, I have an expense that can’t be handled with online payments or PayPal and I am forced to sit down and write a paper check.

And the funniest thing is that I just purchased new checks… 2,000 paper checks that are now worthless. Not a big deal, just a bit ironic.

I will need to stop into the bank this afternoon with a new signature card (includes The Kid now) which is kind of a minor blessing… I had been planning on adding him to the account for some time, this gives me that opportunity. I keep trying to see the good in this situation, but I have to tell you that some days it becomes a difficult exercise.

I mean, the last time it happened, thieves managed to get almost $2000 out of this activity. This time it is $1200. There is no catching these crooks, and to the bank it is hardly even worth the time it takes to fill out a police report. It just irks me that someone who isn’t entitled to that money, have it. And doubtful if they even have to be careful for a single minute, as no one is really looking for them. They are going to have to steal a hell of a lot more than that to get someone who will take the time to investigate it. I’m not sure who else was affected by this – whether or not they were a fellow banker – and I have no idea of the scope of this. Part of me is angry at myself at having left so much cash in the checking account. I’ve been saying for a while that I need to get that money working for me, instead of sitting in a non-interest bearing account.

Well, whatever, I am not responsible for the missing money – I did my due diligence. But it has convinced me that writing paper checks needs to be a thing of my past.


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Going Down the Rabbit Hole

Isn’t it funny how these things can go? Yesterday, just a normal course of a work day, I attempted to add an extension to Chrome and have it displayed in the navigation bar of the opened browser window. One would think this wouldn’t be a challenging task.

It quickly became obvious that simple was not what this was going to do. After spending a bit of time searching and reading articles on the web and still not getting an answer, I im’d with The Kid. So, now he too, is searching for an answer. Alas, I knew that my boss had her extension displayed in her navigator bar, so I asked her. She didn’t recall and set about trying to come up with instructions.

Needless to say that nearly two hours later (this is of three people’s time) and still no closer to solving this innocent conundrum, we took to deleting the software and all its associated files and reinstalled. We had deleted just the application before but that didn’t solve it. It took a clean sweep of the machine and all of the supporting docs before reinstalling to make this work. And even with that completed, it took a few minutes to realize that it would only display extensions that had options to interact with. So, the initial extension that I started out trying to get installed and displayed in the navigator bar simply would not.

But I did get other extensions to appear. I laugh now, but during this time it was exasperating!

Cookie ExtensionIsn’t technology wonderful!



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A Little More Settled?

Okay, big event. Well, for me anyway. The decision made was one that implies – rather requires – a higher level of permanence. We adopted a puppy.

DollyWe’ve had her now for three days and two nights. She is more than a handful. But adorable nonetheless. The Kid and I have both had our moments of questioning whether we did the right thing or not. It seems most days that it has been long enough since we lost our Ashla around Christmas. But then on the other hand, a two month old puppy is quite a handful. There are things about puppies that you forget as they grow past their puppy years that are right there in front of us again. Potty training. Sleeping arrangements and the morning rituals. Just working up the effort to walk her – and do the actual walking thanks to arthritic knees – can be a major chore. And everywhere you go, she is right there under your feet.

The Kid was hit so much harder by the death of Ashla, his first pet. Not mine, I’ve had so many over the years that one tends to lose count. But I realized just how much time it was going to take from him and I am not sure that he was really ready to take on this responsibility. He has voiced his doubts. It is probably not too late to return her and not have it be a major event for any of us – puppy included – but it still seems a difficult decision to make.

And like I said, it does imply a higher level of permanence… I doubt that we could take her on a move to Europe. Any where else in the states, sure, but not something that would require a lot of government forms and red tape.

Oh, she is a mix of American Bulldog and an Akita. So far, she has more of the features of the Akita – the fluffy coat, the ears and the tail… but the coloring and the current size of a bulldog. She could get to be quite large, from what I am told between 30 and 70 pounds. That’s kinda big. But she could stay little… I mean, look at those feet… those aren’t the feet of a big dog. Its a roll of the genetic dice.

We’ve named her Dolly. I don’t know why, the shelter had named her “Day Lilly” but that didn’t seem to fit her. She was one of 6 girls (an all girl litter!) and they had been given names of flowers: Rose, Gardenia, Oleander, Tulip, Iris and our Day Lilly. Weird, huh? At first glance though, I saw the D and the “lly” and my brain came up with ‘Dolly’. And she is a little doll, too. I mean, look at that face! She is gonna get away with murder!



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Getting ramped up… or should I say “amped up”?

So, only one day of recuperating to get over that stomach thing that I had. Its one of those cases where you just spend most of the day in a constant battle of heading to the bathroom and then trying to replenish liquids and whatever passes for solids (sorry, that pun was definitely NOT intended)!

So, back to work on Thursday and Friday. Getting ramped up to begin a two year long initiative… the thought both reassures me and terrifies me at the same time. At the beginning of my second month here, I have alternatively started to feel comfortable with what’s ahead and then realizing that I really don’t have a clue of the depth of work and investment that has gone into this project already. Huh.

What I do know is that this is a big deal here at the AAFP. They’ve earmarked a significant sum of money to make this one part of the website successful and to earn money. I guess that is the standard for determining if this is going to be a success or not. Will it make money (in the long run)?

And so there it is. It is damned near impossible for me to walk away from the money that they are paying me and I guess only time will tell if the money has to compensate for something else. Thus far, the team is only four people and a manager and there seems to be little, if any, overlap of the projects. It almost seems that of the four of us, there is almost no interaction. Not that I haven’t tried, but it just seems that people are so busy or are wrapped up in their own projects and don’t have time (or is it the inclination to disassociate from that which would detract from the work at hand?) for socializing. Trust me, I have tried. My cube neighbor (I’ll call him “D”) is sweet and seems to be open to building a personal relationship – but having recently moved to the US, It is obvious that he has much outside of work to deal with.

One thing that is interesting, is that we have high cube walls. This isn’t the usual cubicle farm, I have only one neighbor (D), with an empty cubicle to my left. On the third side is a wall and across from me is a meeting room. The walls are at least 6 feet tall, so there is no simply standing up and talking over the wall. It requires a concerted effort to talk. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of walking traffic either. We’re at the end of the building, so the meeting space is on the outside wall and that wall is floor-to-ceiling windows. Its nice for lighting and there was no issue with removing all the fluorescent lighting from above me, so I have a quiet, semi-dark working space. Highly desirable!

There aren’t a lot of people in this group, from what I can gather, there are different departments to handle very specific things within the organization. I think that’s good, that way experts are looking at what they need to make everything the very best. But it does seem to to compartmentalize people and whatever overlap we may encounter, I fear may be tricky to navigate.

On the other hand, I just saw the schedule for the project that I will be working on: two years starting about a month ago. Two years! That works for me… and hopefully they will want me to be the one that hangs around and does the QA for this endeavor. I hesitate to call it a “project” just from the size and scope and I don’t want to accidentally or otherwise indicate it isn’t monumental. At least in the scope of this company and, hey, after all that’s about the only thing that counts.

Halfway through the weekend… time is just flying by for me. Here we are firmly entrenched in September. Wow.

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