Before I begin, I would like to thank all of my faithful readers who take the time to read, comment, rate my writing, tweet it, and give me other encouragement. I began this blog for my family and for me, but having people-not-related-to-me follow along gives the insecure writer in me a huge ego boost, and hope that one day, writing will no longer be “just a hobby.” Thank you. In honor of this 200th post, if you have the time, maybe you can let me know below how you found me and why you stayed. Or not. Because I know what the “barely have time to read a blog” life is like. You can also let me know what I could improve upon (shorter blogs, perhaps?). Thanks everyone!
And now, without further ado and sentimental babbling….
Lotteries and Credit Card Companies: They both suck.
The Lottery’s Biggest Loser
It doesn’t matter if you’re speaking of Powerball, your state lottery, or one held in a church with fifty people trying to enroll their children into a Mother’s Day Out program before the slots filled up: I am cursed.
I generally avoid the first two as it’s akin to giving packs of $100 bills to my seventeen month old – they will just eat my money and crap it out.
The third lottery, however, I had little choice in – not if I wanted both kids to spend the 2011/2012 school year enjoying two days a week away from their cranky, overtired mother who has five million and fourteen things I need to accomplish – most of which are impossible with both kids underfoot.
This is why I found myself and my two children waiting in a hall with fifty other parents and their kids at 10 AM last week. I was given a blue raffle ticket which would be drawn from a basket to determine priority, and after my number was called I could fill out the appropriate paperwork to enroll my children.
Or we would go on a wait list if the time slot I wanted was already taken.
I was ill-prepared, having rushed out of the house under the mistaken impression that we would be called “in the order of our number” instead of lottery style – forced to change a Diva Diaper Bomb before leaving.
Slowly, the first number was called, as the lucky winner actually received applause.
It went downhill from there, as number after number was pulled, read aloud, and The Chosen One walked to the front.
And I sat. And sat. And chased Lil Diva. And sat. And grabbed more books from a now-empty table. I separated Lil Diva from a phone book. And sat. And paced.
Forty-five minutes in, and I knew, I knew when my number would be called, the premonition smacking into me with a clarity only seen by Twilight vampires and Charmed.
I was going to be dead last.
Lil Diva was
cranky bored full of vigor and ran amok while the “helpers” volunteering there tried to distract her. She stole snacks unsuspecting parents left on the edges of their table, typically dumping them on the floor and then eating them if they passed the gravity test. She tried to steal the forms so I could at least pre-fill something out. She almost dumped a basket of mini-sized candy onto the floor from the main registration table – all of it within her reach.
The Tackler, by comparison, was a paragon of virtue (this would not be the case at our next stop, his patience completely spent). He read from the piles of books that littered all of the tables. He had a snack. He was so good after the first hour, I caved and let him borrow my iPod for game playing.
Yes, I said the first hour.
Then the second hour approached.
I not-so-discretely hovered near the person calling the numbers, peeking into the basket: only five left.
Two hours after our arrival, ninety minutes after the first number was spoken, my number was called.
Sometimes, I hated being right.
In a true twist of fortunate fate – I was able to sign up for the time slots I wanted – thanks to a smaller number of kids enrolling in their age groups.
But I was mad.
If they had spent the first thirty minutes having everyone write on a sign up sheet our children’s ages and preferred class slot, they would have seen this very fact, negating the need for a lottery-first-come-first-pick styled sign up. Anyone without an issue could have just filled out their paperwork and left, leaving the lottery battle between the overcapacity classes.
Why the frak did someone not think of that???
It would have eliminated two very stressful and boring hours with my children – who still had to wait for another fifteen minutes while I raced through two sets of paperwork (one for each child) since they wouldn’t give you any until your number was called.
I was the last person to leave.
Next time there’s a lottery I’m forced into, I’m sending CG. His luck can’t be worse than mine.
When Your Credit Card Needs a Makeover
I received a recorded message while on vacation from my credit card company, but I never heard it. It was via recording, so when I dared answer the long distance unknown call, I waited my typical three seconds after “hello” for a response, and promptly hung up. All I heard was “this is you citib-” before it cut off abruptly as I stabbed the “end call” button on my phone. By then it was too late. The call was disconnected.
My mommy brain then completely forgot about it.
Fast forward to last week, when I attempted to go online to pay my bill and found myself mostly locked out of my account.
I couldn’t pay online. Then I was rejected by phone.
Because my credit card required a makeover.
Our card was flagged as “in danger of fraud” thanks to a security issue somewhere along the way. I’m not sure why that necessitates denying someone from paying their bill. If you want to steal my card and pay my bill, I certainly don’t want to stop you from doing the latter.
They sent us new cards to activate while we were on vacation.
We never received them.
Flash forward to bill paying time – where I finally found out what the heck was going on.
“So my old credit card will work until I activate the new ones, right?” I asked.
“Yes. Blah blah blah some date… deadline,” someone with a heavy accent replied. Only replace the “blah’s” with Lil Diva screeching in the background.
I hung up, reassured the credit cards were hiding in the junk mail pile.
Two days later, on the Tackler’s birthday, I still hadn’t found the replacement credit cards. I decided I would call them that evening to send out some new ones on Monday.
I lugged both kids and my mother-in-law to the grocery store – we had cupcakes to bake and the cupboards were bare.
You see where this is going, right?
My overflowing grocery cart was unloaded, rung up, and I swiped my credit card.
I still hadn’t activated a different card and my bill was paid in full – per the idiot I talked to two days prior – so it should have worked.
Luckily, knowing that day was “what the frak?” Friday, I’d come mostly prepared – my checkbook was out in the car. I escorted my mother-in-law and the kids out to the car – their grocery cart riding patience at an end – while my unpaid groceries waited for my return.
The transaction was completed – thank god I actually had enough money in that account – with only an additional seven minutes of my time wasted.
Still, the thought of not having the ability to pay – had I not been over prepared that day – after shopping with two young children and checking out a full cart of groceries, including supplies required for cupcake baking for my birthday boy….
It pissed me off.
The credit card company heard from me later that day.
My new credit cards arrived before noon on Saturday.
To credit card companies: If you have “deemed an account insecure” don’t send someone an automated message: TALK TO THEM. Or leave them a voice mail in a non-recorded voice way, so they don’t think you’re one of the million telemarketers sucking up their mobile minutes.
Heaven forbid real customer service takes place… or am I wrong in this?
It had a happy ending – this time – for which I’m thankful, but it still made me go, “what the frak…?!?!”