First, my primary credit card was canceled earlier in the week. Why? It seems we have been doing a fair bit of shopping online, and Mastercard called our house when we were all at work. Since we didn't answer, they assumed our card had been stolen, and closed it. Now, I feel two ways about this. One, I appreciate the service trying to protect me, but on the other hand... they could have left voice mail or something to call us back. I mean, I had another card to complete my food purchase, but that was a scare for a while. This has now been rectified.
Monday, I have to speak to the bank AGAIN, because they have... you guessed it, rejected my work's paycheck. My work somehow got it in their head I needed to be paid, because they mailed it to my house (few days before I was supposed to get it, I might add). I am amazed, because last time this happened, work simply didn't pay me, and that was a mess, I tell you. On top of this, my bank deposited a personal check we wrote (for CR's school pictures) for $47.25 to be $147.25, and since I have carbon copies in our checkbook, I was able to spot the error when I looked at my online statement. This caused a check to "bounce" against my overdraft account (to keep checks from bouncing, but I get charged a small fee when it does), which is annoying. I also saw my online statement showed my company TRIED to deposit the check, but it was for $0.00. That's right, a payroll deposit for $0.00. On top of that, my bank now charges $2.00 for an out-of-bank ATM withdrawal, *on top* of the $1.50 - $2.50 the foreign ATM charges. I was charged $4.50 for withdrawing $20 two weeks ago. Great. That's a 23% service charge, about what a really sleazy loan shark would charge on the street. It's not all bad news, however. There's a deposit for $34.00 we can't account for (as in, no one deposited it that we know of). I am assuming it's the bank's fault (because, among other things, it shows it as an in-bank deposit on Thanksgiving Day, when banks were closed), and someone with an account number similar to ours is missing $34.00. This has happened before, and it usually takes them about 2 months to say, "Whoops, that's not yours!" and take it back out without notice or an apology. Sadly, it's always for small amounts (in the $20 - $50 range), because I wish it was for $1,000,000 and then I'd close the account, withdraw all the money, and leave no forwarding address.
Saturday I got to Target to spend my gift certificate, and I used part of it to get a watch that turns out... the band is too small for my wrist. In fact, it seems too small for a child's wrist. I am back to square one to get a new watch. I got wrapping paper, a few last-minute gifts, and a few assorted decorations. We also ate at the Bonefish Grill, which was pricey, but the food was good. They opened up the restaurant in the shopping center behind our house, and replaced the old Crown Books that was there (and I still miss). I also saw all over that Zany Brany and the Imaginarium stores were all going out of business. I guess the "educational toy" market couldn't support brick-and-mortar.
When we got home, I did all of my wrapping to get it out of the way. Well, one gift can't be wrapped, because it has to charge in its cradle. I am still a very bad gift wrapper, but this year, most of my present wrapping was actually fairly okay. I usually misjudge how much paper I need, never make neat cuts of the paper, tape gets stuck everywhere, and when I am done, it looks like a misshaped cut of meat in fancy wrinkled butcher paper. Part of the problem is that scissors, like spoons, hammers, and Philip's head screwdrivers, are vanishing commodities in my house. I don't know where they go. I must have bought over 20-30 pairs of scissors since I have gotten married, and the theft rate has gotten so bad, I hide my own pair in a secret place. I once tied them to a lanyard, but the thief used the scissors to cut the lanyard, and I lost those pair within a month. I don't know who takes them, but no one ever fesses up to it. I never borrow Christine's because I am afraid hers will get stolen, too. So I have always blamed poltergeists, and adjust my patterns accordingly. So I went to my secret place, and the scissors were, somehow unsurprisingly, gone. I had a backup pair: a pair of small, dull, blunt-edged, metal scissors often used by elementary schools in the 1970s and 80s. I think they are only never stolen because even the gremlins that take scissors won't touch them. And I don't blame them, they are as dull-edged as a bowling ball. I ended up getting straighter cuts by tearing the paper off the edge of the drywall. But this year, the packages came out... halfway decent. Part of the ease was most of them were already box-shaped, which are easier to wrap than rounded or misshapen objects. But also, I found the "hidden trove" of older wrapping paper, some of them dating back to the mid 90's, and have traveled with us from move to move. When the new paper I bought was all used up, I went to the usable scraps in that box.
We did a lot of Christmas decorating this weekend. I should say, Christine and CR did a a lot of Christmas decorating this weekend. Last weekend, they got the tree. I can't help them with the tree because I have a bad skin allergy to pine. We had the tree out to "drop" (branches drop to their resting positions), acclimate to our home, and deal with the pet problems while there's still no ornaments and lights to fix after the cats have romped through the tree. The cats didn't seem to care about the tree very much, but I think they are biding their time. We're trying to teach Widget to guard the tree, with mixed success. The tree is in a new place this year, and finally in front of a window that faces the street. For those who have been to our house, it's in the upstairs living room, right next to the stair railing, in front of the living room window. Come by and see! But then today, I work up with a SPLITTING sinus headache, the likes of which are rare in my world. I was in dizzying pain, and kept convincing myself that the pain killers would kick in soon for about 6 hours and almost as many pills. After carrying the stored Christmas stuff from the guest room and the attic, I gave up, and went back to bed. A nap finally kicked the headache, but by then, Christine and CR had done most of the work. I feel rotten with guilt, and have a sucking feeling I missed out.
Then, while flipping through channels today, I passed by one of our Spanish channels, and saw, "Saddam fue captura" or something, which photos of a very scraggly-looking Saddam on TV. Holy crap, no! We did it? I switched to CNN to find, yes, we apparently captured Saddam, and the word "spider hole" will probably soon enter popular slang. DNA tests confirm. Wow. Holy cow. Holy holy cow. One down, one left to go. I hope we imprison the guy forever. I fear he'll be killed or executed, and then made a martyr by some misguided people. I want this guy to rot for what he did to his people. One interesting comment I recall hearing was "his followers, who were told to fight to the death for him, were dismayed that he gave up so easily." Well, guess what? I don't think he cared about you.
Merry Christmas, Iraq.
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