Friday, January 22, 2010

A Conversation with my Bank's Fraud Department

MW: (*peeved that she's missing Star Trek: First Contact on Syfy*): "Okay, so what's this alert thingy about?"

Fraud Guy: "Yes, ma'am. There have been some irregular charges on your credit card. We need to verify them."

MW: "Whaaaaaat?!?!?!"

Fraud Guy: "Have you just charged $170 to the Family Dollar Store in Brooklyn?"

MW: "No. That's not me. THAT'S NOT ME!!!! I'm in (*redacted*)...far away from there!"

Fraud Guy: "Mmmmhmmm. Thought so. Ma'am, it appears that someone has your card."

MW: "But I have my card. I'm looking at it. Wait, are they there right now using it??"

Fraud Guy: "Yes. The last charge was approximately 5 minutes ago. We're holding the charge back to verify."

MW: "Well, if they're there, then ARREST THEM!! SEND SOMEONE TO ARREST THEM! Why aren't you ARRESTING them??!!"

Fraud Guy: "Ma'am, it's Brooklyn. We can't really do that."

MW: "Why not? People get arrested in Brooklyn all the damn time! They're THIEVES!!! FILTHY THIEVES!!! (*MW begins to realize she's sounding like Gollum...*)

Fraud Guy: "Yes, ma'am, they are. Why don't you wait just a sec while I close out your account. You won't be charged for their purchases."

MW: "Those BASTARDS!! Why don't they get a JOB and stop stealing other people's things??? godDAMMIT!"

Fraud Guy: "Ma'am, calm down."

MW: "How do they even have a card to swipe?? I HAVE MY CARD!"

Fraud Guy: "Well, they've probably either made or purchased a forged card with your number. I don't really know how they got the number. This happens all the time. We'll send you a new card."

MW: "What? They can DO that? They can just MAKE a card?"

Fraud Guy: (*begins talking slowly. Obviously I've been raised in a convent and I still believe in unicorns, the tooth fairy, the inherent goodness of mankind, etc.*): "Ma'am. I understand you're upset, but it's really going to be okay. I'm taking care of it. You can trust me."

MW: (*still ranting*) "...and what kind of LOSERS steal a credit card number and go to the Family Dollar? What kind of RINKY DINK operation is this? Wouldn't you go to get a TV or something? Don't you think that's STUPID???!!!"

Fraud Guy: "Yes, ma'am. They are stupid thieves. Your new credit card will arrive in 5-7 days."


Fraud Guy: "Dunno. Have I satisfied all of your banking needs this evening ma'am?"

MW: "Yes. Thank you for informing me."

Fraud Guy: "Have a pleasant evening."

And, to the people who stole my credit card number and purchased what can only be described as A WHOLE LOTTA CRAPOLA from the Family Dollar:
You may suck it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why January is sucking less...

Because I heard from the press that has my book manuscript!

It was a very strong invitation to revise and resubmit - the editor specifically said that both she and the reader believe the book is well written and very exciting and said that she "strongly encourages" me to continue with the press by making revisions (i.e., rather than shopping the manuscript elsewhere in the hopes of an immediate acceptance). In fact, she apologized for not being able to give me a contract right away (of course, I never possibly expected that I would get a contract without any revisions!) and was generally lovely. The reader's report was thorough and kind - not a bit of snark - and was also praiseworthy as well as constructively critical.

The revisions suggested will likely only take a couple of months during this semester (quicker if this was summer) and they won't be arduous. What's interesting is that they want me to recast my thesis - at first I bridled at this b/c it seemed like I was being asked to jettison the governing concept of the entire book - "Nay!", I said. But, after reading the report several times and considering every single word (with a couple of colleagues), I realized that they want me to broaden my current umbrella term/concept (i.e., "tulips") and replace it with "flowers," which is simultaneously more easily applicable to the entire project and probably more accurate. The reader was kind of like: "All tulips are flowers, but not all flowers are tulips; you're talking about flowers, and you're doing it in a really cool new way, and you can still talk about tulips as a special kind of flower in the last half of the book, but chapter one is really about daisies." Does that hokey analogy make enough sense in an obscure, bloggy way?

What's great is that the reader and editor loved all my specific readings and the chapters - basically, what's needed is a recasting of the introduction, and then some minor revisions throughout the manuscript to ensure that I'm referencing things consistently (i.e., flowers, not all tulips).

So, joy!!! I'm so happy - I've thought about what they're suggesting and, while I at first shouted "Hell, no - tulips won't go!!!", I'm now thinking - "actually, this will make the book better, more precise, and more broadly appealing. Daisies are cool, too."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Possum Extraction

Thanks for all the lovely comments on my last, highly self-indulgent post. And I would love to take Flave's advice and send bits of the possum - voo-doo-like - to all those who've wronged us - but would one possum do? Or would you need legion amounts of possum? Hmmmm....

The following is a transcription of my conversation with the critter removal folks (two, count them!, two! trucks came to my house to dispose of a possum approximately the size of a loaf of bread):

Removal Dude #1: " got a dead possum here'bouts?" (not kidding - it's a direct transcription).

MW: "Indeed! It's waiting for you in the middle of the driveway!"

Removal Dude #1: "You mean it ain't in a wall or sumthin'?"

MW: "No - the driveway. Perhaps there's another in the wall, but it hasn't died yet..."

Removal Guy #1: "Oh yeah - you pro'bly got lots uh nasty stuff in them walls..." (grins; not many teeth in evidence).

MW: (with a weak laugh) "Oh, you're one of those funny exterminators...anyway, just cart it off at will."

Removal Guy #2: (inspects deceased possum) "It ain't been dead long - it ain't bloated or nuthin' - the fur hadn't started to fall off and there ain't no maggots."

Removal Guy #1: "Yyyyyyuuuup - been dead no more'n a day."

MW: Wow - "This is really like CSI stuff, huh?"

Removal Guys: (*blank looks*)

MW: "Okay - I'll just stand to the side and upwind while you guys take care of this thing."

Removal Guys then take a shovel and a bag and put the carcass in the bag; they close the bag and put it in a plastic bin in the back of their truck. They hold their hand out for the check for $89.

MW: "Did you remove all traces of viscera?" (Because I'm nothing if not professional - and I know my CSI/Law and Order-speak thank you very much).

Removal Guys: (*blank looks*) "What?"

MW: "Well, can you clean up all traces of it? The squishy bits?"

Removal Guy #1 (the comedian) takes out a can of what looks like Lysol and sprays it on the driveway. "There. That about does it."

MW (feeling slightly taken advantage of): "Hmmm...well, okay. Thanks for coming by quickly."

Removal Guy #1: "You prob'ly got bats in that attic. You want us to look?"

MW kindly declines their offer and sends them on their way.

In response to Squadrato's excellent previous comment - you'd think that basic animal control would take care of this, huh? Unfortunately, it's not clear that they will - and of course they're closed for MLK day and I couldn't get the car down the driveway until the thing was gone. It's also illegal to dispose of carcasses in regular waste bins and I wasn't too keen on that thing sitting in my trash can for another week! So, with tied hands, I called the hillbillys and they came and took it away.

Dammit (PSA: whining to follow)

Ugh - bad few days.

I've been avoiding posting for the past 19 days because I was hoping to have something - anything - joyous to post. Ya know - sparkly news about all the great things we've been waiting for to come true.

Anyway, TD still hasn't heard anything solid from Think Tank, but in response to a query he sent last week, he got a nice email from the leader of the group saying that they were still in the process of "deliberations/interviews" and she'll hope to have more information by the end of January. This was a smallish blow - we honestly thought they'd just be offering him the job. Now, they did say that they had enough work there to hire two people and be totally fine - and TD did have a really good visit there. It's just that it was on Dec. 4. A long time ago.

I'm starting to feel the cold grip of fear I have for the past 3 years - the fear that seems to suggest that we'll have to continue commuting. But we can't continue commuting and still stay us. It's really taking a toll on us and the way we are.

And I'm still not pregnant - Why goddammit why!?!?! And if one more person tells me just to calm down and it'll happen, I will send them a bomb wrapped in a Valentine's box of Frango mints.

So, I just got back from 5 days in Dutchmanlandia - I haven't seen the sun (literally!) in 5 days. It was like being on the frickin' Ice Planet of Hoth - but with no cool AT-AT Walkers or creepy snow beasts or tauntaun riding!

1) TD and I had a big big fight.
2) I just got home to find a dead 'possum in the middle of my driveway. I have to pay someone $90 to come and get it.