Coffee heat rising

{grump} All Hell Continues to Work Its Way Loose

As the dog and I hiked back to the house along about 6:15 a.m., there across the street we see our neighbor’s lawn crew, the bunch who stole EVERY SPRINKLER IN THE FRONT AND BACK YARDS.

{chortle!} Guess I haven’t mentioned that little fiasco.

Couple weeks ago, these guys showed up. And since Gerardo seems to have quit, I hired them to clean up the yard. Their fees, by comparison with Gerardo’s, were exorbitant: $180 for the first clean-up, then $80 every two weeks, forevermore.

Shee-ut.

Well, I knew Gerardo was undercutting the competition — or else giving me a special deal, more likely. But he seems to have quit: he’s not coming either to my house or my son’s. And I can’t take care of this yard myself. So..ooohkaaaayyyyy….

They did a pretty good job. So I thought…until I went to put a sprinkler on a parched plant.

Sprinkler? What sprinkler? We don’t need to steeenking sprinklers!

Uh huh. Every. Single. Sprinkler was gone. The little metal ones. The regular plastic ones. All of them.

Sumbiche.

So it was off to buy some new ones.

Lowe’s does not have little metal sprinklers.

Home Depot does not have little metal sprinklers.

The grand, old-money nursery on Glendale does not have little metal sprinklers.

Turns out there’s a sprinkler shortage!

That would be why our guys felt called upon to steal mine.

Finally found a few at an Ace Hardware (everybody buys sprinklers in hardware stores, right?). Grabbed three of them. And they’re now locked inside the garage.

If it’s not red-hot or nailed down…

****

In other quotidian gnus, the dentist wants EIGHTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS to replace the broken crown. Jayzuz! What do they think it’s made of?

No, it ain’t made of gold.

The peripheral neuropathy continues to drive me nuts. However, in one tiny glimmer of light, I stumbled upon a study suggesting that antihistamines may help with the peripheral neuropathy.

Seriously??

Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I sure have plenty of those around the house. Arizona is where you come to find out that you’re allergic to everything…

The researchers were using Claritin, but also mentioned chlortrimeton. Apparently chlortimeton is now available over the counter — it used to be a prescription drug. Claritin is readily available, and in fact I happened to have a bottle of it in the house. Benadryl is also mentioned as effective. Though that stuff has some inconvenient side effects for me, I do have some of it in the house.

So I drop a Claritin. And by golly, it does seem to help some. The tingling/stinging is not gone, but it’s noticeably milder.

We’ll see if this works over a period of days or weeks.

****

Meanwhile, the other day La Maya and I decided to go out to lunch.

Our first choice, a beloved Italian restaurant near Moon Valley (in the middle-class northerly realms of Phoenix), was closed, to our horror. They were hard-hit by the plague — I’d heard the husband died (a man and a wife owned it). La M said that wasn’t so…presumably, then, the gossip mill got it wrong.

From there we drove from Yuppified joint to yuppified joint, until we got alllll the wayyyyyy down North Central to Camelback and decided to go into one of the restaurants in the AJ’s shopping center.

Personally, I’m just not all that fond of eating out. In the first place, I cook much, MUCH better than the short-order operators of most restaurants. So the food, when you come right down to it, isn’t very good. And what you get is spectacularly overpriced. And the noise is annoying. And the cigarette smoke (often) is annoying. And…blech!

At any rate, we shared a kale salad, which she enjoyed.

Driving back up lovely North Central…HOLEEE shee-ut! We saw the single closest call I’ve ever witnessed, and were almost dragged into the middle of it.

Central Avenue in that area is a 40-mph zone. This means the locals drive 45 to 55 mph along that lovely main drag, which bisects an upscale neighborhood to the north of the central commercial districts.

We’re cruising along calmly enough in a pod of 45-mph traffic when, incredibly, a Moron steps out into the crosswalk in front of the oncoming traffic (among which we are numbered).

Yes, you are required to stop for nudniks in crosswalks. But it is assumed that the nudniks will wait until the barreling-along cars have passed before stumbling across the road.

He walks right out in front of La Maya, who slams on her brakes. She misses him, so he proceeds to stroll in front of the car next to her!

He escaped intact — literally by inches. And he seemed unruffled…as though he does this all the time.

And yeah. Yep., He probably does.

Both of us expected to see him go flying through the air. Thank heaven no such acrobatics ensued.

Phoenix: what a place!

****

Out of the blue, the credit union apparently stopped making some — possibly all? — of the autopays I’d set up to my various creditors. Suddenly I got a notice from the gas company threatening to cut off service. A little checking revealed that other utility bills also had not been paid.

WTF?????

So now I’ve got to traipse to the credit union and do battle over that — around the Adventures in Dental Science.

WonderAccountant is coming over this afternoon to try to help untangle whatEVER that mess is. One thing is for sure: as senile as I may be, I know I did not ask the CU to discontinue the autopays. That would be insane!

But it IS a mess, and I am not a happy camperette.

Speaking of the which…I’d better get up, eat some breakfast, and start shoveling through that stack of paper…

Round and Round We Go….

Welp, by this morning it was beginning to look like Funny (and all that which is related to her) was flat outta luck. The blogsite’s “dashboard” would NOT take my password, and it would not let me change the password.

Finally had recourse to Grayson, the Web Guru Extraordinaire. He created a new password…TWENTY-FIVE CHARACTERS LONG, all utter gobbledygook. No chance in Hell of a bad guy or gal  memorizing it.

Ahem…not too likely that the computer’s operator can memorize it, either! 😀 Helle’s Belles, I can barely remember my own name these days.

Meanwhile, yesterday in comes a notice from the gas company…

They’re going to CUT OFF MY GAS because they think they haven’t been paid!

HUH??????

All of the utilities are set up to auto-pay down at the credit union. This has been so for several YEARS! Howcum all of a sudden the gas company isn’t getting paid, and WHAT OTHER REGULARLY RECURRING BILLS AREN’T GETTING PAID???????

God DAYUM it!!!!!

So tomorrow I’ll have to call the gas company and see if I can talk them into charging my AMEX card — thereby, as you once suggested, piling up credits toward this, that, and the other reward scheme.

Then I will have to get into the goddamn car and burn ANOTHER quarter tank of $4.89/gallon gasoline to traipse to the CU and find out WTF they’ve done and why they canceled the goddamn auto-pay. And what other auto-pays they’ve canceled. On further inspection, it looks like quite a few of the auto-pays are no longer autopaying.

WHY??? This is not something I would have willingly shut down.

As you know, trying to unearth a human at each of the utility companies will take HOURS. The phone runarounds, at least in our parts, defy belief. By the time I get a person on the phone, I’m so frustrated and angry that I could bite someone! So THAT is a procedure I do not look forward to. IN fact, I wonder if it’s possible to go in person to some of these outfits.

Despite my concern about the Mac outfit in Scottsdale (and the none-too-great experience I had with the same company’s far, far FAR west-side office), the guy we talked with there turned out to be just stellar. He has the MacBook running — albeit, not in the style I would prefer (I loathe, for example, page changes that slither by like slides in a slide projector!) — thereby giving me at least a little time to get my act (such as it is) together. I really liked the guy, and you may be sure that if I have to buy a new computer, it’s coming from his place.

Man…in addition to the CompuFrolics and charging from pillar to post around the Valley, on the way home yesterday evening…some poor wretch had somehow FLOWN off the main north-south drag to the east of the hood — apparently he literally went airborne — and sailed into a power pole. Upshot was he ELECTRIFIED a good three blocks of North 7th Avenue. Had a woman in the car with him. You never saw so many cops and firemen in your life.

They shut down 7th, which is one of the main, MOST major surface streets leading out of downtown and mid-town Phoenix toward the northern and western suburbs.

****

Mercifully, neither the driver nor his passenger was injured seriously. Before the troops got themselves into position, I managed to slither past and could see the whole shebang. And we do mean “bang”…it”s amazing that they both weren’t killed

Power stayed on over in this section of the ’Hood, but apparently it was down for a large part of the area

Got a little worried when I couldn’t find my fave neighbors, the WonderAccountants…she works at home, but he goes into an office. Hope he didn’t have to drive around Robin Hood’s Barn to get home

Man, that little wrecky-poo was something to see, when you reflect upon it. The perps were in a standard-sized pickup truck, about the size of a Ford 150. Along that stretch of Main Drag East, there’s an access road, which is separated from the main thoroughfare with a narrow planter delineated by concrete curbs.That’s a 40 mph zone there, so if our hero was keeping up with the traffic, he was going around 45 to 50.

He hits the curb, and hevvin help us, he goes airborne. Now he’s behind the wheel of a flying machine that’s about 15 to 20 feet off the ground, all four wheels

He slams into the metal light pole — this is a large, standard city thoroughfare’s lamp post, about three or four feet in diameter  and very tall. And he hits it between a third and half-way up.

No kidding!

Incredibly, the truck hits the pole so the shaft impacts the front end almost exactly halfway between the headlights, where it digs a hole in the truck’s engine compartment

The power lines go down, electrifying a substantial part of the nearby acreage. But incredibly, neither the driver nor his female passenger were seriously injured

Says something for airbags and seatbelts, eh?

*****

Dontcha love it that the New Improved Mac won’t let me format this thing’s font for copy drafted in Word to fit the style used by WordPress?

*****

Oh, wait! Here’s a password for the credit union, taped to the front of the MacBook! there are now so many effing p/w’s taped to the computer, I can’t track of them!   Lemme see if this will get me in!

Nope. Doesn’t work.

Just what I need. Another 40 minutes of traipsing through homicidal traffic, another hassle with the CU’s mystified staff, another raft of incomprehensible password hoopjumps….

STOP THE WORLD I WANNA GET OFF!

Fill up that afternoon…

…with HASSLES!

Yep: I spent the entire afternoon shift down at the church reception desk putting out fires ignited by the theft of my card wallet and every credit card and ID card to my name. Three hours of figuring out what recurring charges need to be OKed by the credit union, which ones have been in place since the memory of Person runneth not to the contrary, and which are new charges that the CU staff need to know about.

I’m now prepared to gallop into the CU tomorrow morning, let them know which autopays are legit and should stay in place, which autodeposits are real and must not be fu*ked up, alert them that my son’s account is vulnerable, too (won’t he be thrilled?), and try to order up a new Medicare card (good luck with that!).  This afternoon — just a few minutes ago, I found the original of my Social Security card, so that is one truly major hassle evaded. But trying to get a new Medicare card involves a fine hoop-jump with a faceless, brain-banging system. And…because my son has linked his credit-union account with mine by way of juggling payments on the mid-town house…ooooohhh gawd! Presumably if the sh!thead can get into my account, he can get into my son’s.

So THAT highly convenient arrangement will have to be demolished.

I’ve been afraid to tell M’hijito about this débâcle. But…depending on what CU staff say tomorrow morning, I may have to tell him about it. And oh my friends and ah my foes, you may be sure I’ll never hear the end of it!

😀

Man! I’ll tellya…I’m hoping (against hope) that tomorrow’s visit to the credit union will be as close to the end of this headache as we can get. If push comes to shove, o’course, we can close both accounts and start over with new account numbers. But that will just be stage 2 in the marathon headache.

I have a sh!tload of autopays that will have to be re-done; probably will need the advice and consent of credit-union staff to pull that off. We already have a new debit card. But some of this stuff, like Social Security and Medicare cards, cannot be issued anew. Big Brother will give you a new card, but  with the same number. So if the jerk has got your name and your card number, you’re just flat outta luck for whatever bills he runs up.

So, what can Funny’s readers learn from this fine fiasco? Well…

1. Photocopy all the cards in your wallet, front and back. Store these copies in a safe place where you can find them quickly.

2. While you’re at it, compile a list of all your credit-card issuers with contact information. Do not lose this!

3. If some doctor’s office’s staff demands that you carry your Social Security card around with you and show it to them every time you visit (ahem! are you listening, Young Dr. Kildare?) tell them to take a flyer at the moon. Remind them that it is illegal to use a Social Security card as ID and that they have no business demanding that you bring your Social Security card every time you walk in the door. Nor, for that matter, once they’ve recorded your Medicare data, is there any reason to expect you to flash your Medicare card for every visit.

4. Keep an up-to-date running record of every charge, credit, and debit you make. Don’t wait for statements to come in. Keep your own list of debits and credits!

5. Although auto-pays of recurring costs like utility bills are convenient, consider that they may morph into first-class hassles if a theft requires closing a bank account. It may be better to write (gasp!) paper checks or manually send electronic payment. While manually paying every little routine bill is a time suck, undoing your carefully crafted bill-pay system is even even greater time suck…and a chaotic one.

The Endless Tide of Hassles…

In the Never-a-Dull-Moment department, Funny has surely taken the proverbial cake. The past two weeks have devolved into hassle after hassle after ever-more-astonishing hassle.

Surprisingly, Funny is still on the air. Fancy that! Since last we scribbled at each other, in came another threat from the scammers impersonating staff at BigScoots, which provides the web hosting service for this blog. By then we had ascertained that this is a fraud, a fraud, and nothing but a fraud.

Problem is, it’s extremely difficult to tell whether the demands for money are coming from the scammers or whether in fact it’s time to update the auto pay for BigScoots. As we sit here, yea verily here’s another dunning email floating around in MacMail. Just now I’m too harried and too maxed out on annoying ditz to try to figure out whether it’s real or not. I believe not, though: BigScoots was auto-paid.

Which sounds good EXCEPT….

Yeah. Always an except, right? Just now the True-Life Except is that BigScoots is still paid out of my corporate account. I decided to close down the technical editing business...think I will just freaking DIE if I have to read another 30-page scholarly disquisition that purports to prove, using the highest and most intricate of intricate higher math, that automobile exhaust emitted from cars traveling along an inter-city highway in China backs up against the foothills of a bordering mountain range and…

…wait for it…this is too, too amazing…

causes smog!!!

Holeee mackerel! Who’d’ve thunk it?

Academia. What a place! Apparently it’s no less ridiculous a place in China than it is here in the U.S.

Face with Rolling Eyes on Apple
So anyway, in my enthusiasm for BREAKING FREE(!!!!!) of academic editing, I conveniently forgot that the corporate bank account happened to host a whole slew of auto-pays. Meanwhile, it’s been one fiasco after another, leaving exactly zero time and energy to dig out the paper statements from the credit union and figure out exactly what those auto-pays are and track down the creditors and change the auto-pays to my personal account. So not only do I not know for sure that the latest nuisance demand for payment to BigScoots is real, neither do I know exactly which creditors need to have new auto-payments set up.

Speaking of the meanwhile….I’ve got to wrestle with the income tax data for WonderAccountant. That  took up the better part of two afternoons last week. Mind-numbing, grinding, booooooorrring ditz, hour after hour after hour of it. For the life of me, I do NOT understand how accountants can stand it

To frost all those cookies, last week I again had to traipse up to Young Dr. Kildare’s office and beg his staff to give me a password to their accursed portal. Been there, done that…and promptly lost the damn thing.

The accursed peripheral neuropathy is flaring, and it’s driving me crazy. He only just found out about that, because we haven’t had time to go over all my endless series of effing ailments since he arrived in my precincts. I had to drive up there AGAIN and get them to give me another new password, because I promptly lost the one their gal made for me, and then finally we made a new appointment.

He thinks the dizziness is caused by allergies…apparently it didn’t occur to him that peripheral neuropathy can also take the form of vestibular neuropathy, an affliction of the nerves in the inner ear that can also cause vertigo. To his credit, though, he referred me to a neurologist. Haven’t had a chance yet to call and make an appointment with that guy…and I have a very bad feeling that I don’t wanna, because whatever treatment they inflict on you is likely to be worse than the ailment.

YDK has theorized, though, that the endless spin stems from congestion in the eustachian tubes. And that actually make sense. The air here in lovely uptown Arizona has been just ungodly bad, with days when the haze obscured houses a block away, and the hills to the south have been submerged in a blanket of dirty air. Most of the time my parents and I lived in lovely Southern California, the air was always like that. And I was sick all the time. This was in the early 1960s, before air pollution laws kicked in — SoCal enjoyed phenomenal smog In fact, all the time I lived there, I didn’t even know there are mountains behind the LA basin. Never saw them once, in all the time we dwelt in lovely Long Beach.

Tellingly, a light breeze has come up and this morning you could see the North Mountains….a-n-n-n-d this morning I could breathe. This morning the world was only gently revolving around my head. So chances are YDK’s guess is right — especially when you consider that 1 aspirin and 1 Sudafed will do the trick pretty well.

At any rate, one more distraction, that.

In the meantime, the other day I hired a guy from Barbecue Doc — a backyard grill-cleaning enterprise — to come shovel the grease and crud out of my barbecue. He was the first of two workmen that day: in the morning we had a guy come over to repair and lubricate the garage door.

The barbecue dude, who came over in the afternoon, stole my my credit-card wallet off the patio table, where (after paying him) I’d set it down  between the time we inspected his (highly excellent!) work and the time I showed him out the door.

The upshot has been (and apparently will be, into the foreseeable future and then some) an amazing series of hassles. I’ve been running from pillar to post ever since I discovered all my ID, all my credit cards, all my whatnot was GONE.

Spent an entire day running from pillar to post and back again. All the way out to darkest Maryvale, a low-end suburb (the term we’re groping for is “dangerous slum”) on the west side, there to stand in line for 40 minutes to apply for a new driver’s license. Get up to the front of the line — which moves fairly fast, since they’ve got about two dozen windows open — explain the predicament, and the clerk kindly arranges for a new license to be sent to the Funny Farm. While I’m watching her work, I remark that her tattoos — full-color works of art decorate her arms — are really cool. (No, I’m not what you’d call a tattoo lady, but this was really out of the ordinary and the finished project actually was beautifully decorative.) She, sounding a little tickled, says “Oh, thank you.”

When she finishes taking my picture and filling out all the paperwork and generating a temporary license, she pushes the thing across the counter quietly and says g’bye. Got it? SHE DIDN’T CHARGE ME THE $25 RENEWAL FEE.

Yeah. Be nice: it pays off. 😀

Canceled both AMEX cards — corporate and personal. Arranged (I sincerely hope) for a new personal card to be sent my way; decide to opt the separate account for “business,” since I’ve decided to fold the business. If I get some little project from a former client, it’ll be easy enough to flag income from that for WonderAccountant, but I don’t expect to be making enough money to make it worth any elaborate apparatus to divide out bidness and personal income/expenses.

Meanwhile, because YDK’s staff insists that you show a Social Security card when you check in (is that even legal?), BBQ Dude ripped that off, too. Y’don’t s’ppose this is WHY the SS Administration emits a warning, when they send you the card, NOT to carry it around in your purse or wallet?

I figured I was going to have to trudge up to the SS office in Paradise Valley and sit there for the usual four hours to get in to see a live human being to beg for a new card. But…lo! Believe it or not, you actually can order a new Social Security card online!

If this works, it’ll be some kind of a miracle. The proverbial ointment fly is that to make the online form work you must have a current driver’s license. And of course BBQ Boy ripped off my license, too. So I’ll have to wait until the replacement gets here to do virtual battle with the Social Security bureaucrats.

Fortunately, I do have a photocopy of the SS card. Which brings us to the Aesopian moral of this tale: Keep a list of all the cards in your wallet, AND keep a photocopy of each one.

Can’t wait to see what new headaches and fiascos this latest gambit causes. Pool Dude, who has been around the block more than once, says that identity thieves who know what they’re doing always make a small, preliminary debit from your checking account — small enough that, with any luck, it won’t be noticed. If it goes through, then they head off to the nearest Harley-Davidson dealership to buy themselves a new hog. Or some such.

A-a-a-n-d…damned if he ain’t right. A day later, up popped a debit for $2.17!

The theft has been reported to the credit union and they’re raising the barricades. But it means that for the next few months, I’ll have to check my online accounts virtually every day, and flag every fake debit. Actually, they may be able to change the account number and issue a new card with a new number, which will foil our boy. Or whoever he sells the card to.

In theory BBQ Boy’s gambit wouldn’t be that big a deal, if it hadn’t come on top of the health-care hassle and the headaches entailed in closing the business account and the 2022 tax calculations hassle and the PITA auto-pays hassle and…JAYZUS am I tired of this stuff!

Interestingly, you can’t report a credit card fraud or theft to the Phoenix Police Department. At least not over the phone. They have two numbers for the Great Unwashed to call: “emergency” and “non-emergency.” When you dial the latter, first you get a blabathon, and then you get a high-pitched, LOUD, eardrum-shattering squeal SKWEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!! blasted into your ear. No, it’s not some kind of fluke: it happens every time you dial the non-emergency number.

What are they tryin’ to say to us?

To further frost the cookies (you didn’t imagine we’d run out of frosting, did you?), the roll of (expensive!!) dog food I bought for Ruby proved to be slimey-spoiled when I cut into this morning. Normally one of these things lasts her about ten days. But this one: less than 20 seconds: I had to throw it directly in the garbage.

Fortunately I have a few cans of dog food to act as backups.

But this is the second time it’s happened. First time, I schlepped the stuff back to AJ’s and they replaced it, gratis. But this time…y’know…I’ve got quite enough to do, thank you, without having to drive way to Hell and gone down to Central and Camelback to return the stuff. Again.

So, I believe that will be the last time we patronize that maker of overpriced dog food.

Fortunately, deep in the freezer reside the makin’s for DIY dog food, which I know Ruby will love. So tomorrow (or maybe this afternoon, if I manage to get off my duff) we’ll be concocting a week’s worth of chicken dog food for Her Ladyship. And so it will be henceforth.

And all that ain’t the half of it…

De-Banking and Re-Banking

Possibly the term is de-credit-unioning…but that’s a little clumsier than de-banking, for a title. 😉

The plan under way just now is to abandon the Arizona State Credit Union, now annoyingly called “OneAZ,” and move my vast wealth over to the Desert Schools Credit Union. Probably I should have done this a long time ago, but out of inertia I’ve remained with the state employees’ credit union. Closing out a personal account and a corporate account represents a substantial amount of hassle, especially since a LOT of direct deposits come in and even MORE automated direct payments go out. Canceling each of these and re-establishing them at a new institution presents a lengthy series of headaches.

However, OneAZ (isn’t that cutesiness enough to  just gag you?) has gone too far in its latest manifestation of customer disservice. They’ve decided that we no longer will be allowed to deposit checks by scanning to a computer and uploading to an account. All electronic deposits now must be made by smartphone.

Well. I don’t have a smartphone and I don’t want one and even if I did want one, believe me, there’s no way in Hell I could afford one. I’ve tried an Android smartphone and after several expensive months of wrestling I simply could NOT learn how to work it. We’re told the iPhone is more OldBat-friendly. Yeah: for a thousand bucks.

Jayzus. A thousand dollars for a telephone!

At any rate, what this means is that every time a check comes in, I have to traipse across the city to hand the damn thing to a teller, in person. The nearest branch is at the ASU West campus, a 15- or 20-minute drive through a depressing slum — so, 30 minutes to deposit one check, with no other errands to do on that side of town.

I get a constant flow of little nuisance checks. Medicare and Medigap do not accrue all the eligible payments for any given Adventure in Medical Science. They send you a tiny little check here and a tiny little check there and an even tinier check again. Most recently, they sent me a goddamn check for $3.17! The gasoline to drive to the credit union and back would cost more than that!

Desert Schools is located in the North Central corridor, putting it reasonably close to the Funny Farm. And, more to the point, putting it in the general direction of other errand destinations where I go several times a week: two grocery stores, an Ace Hardware, drugstores, a Costco…. And several more or less acceptable restaurants;. It’s halfway to a Sprouts; a Nordstrom’s Rack; the FedEx guys, an upscale Fry’s and a downscale Fry’s (the local name for Kroger’s); and the now much-discombulated Biltmore Fashion Square, home to a Macy’s, a Saks, a Williams-Sonoma, a Pottery Barn. L’Occitane, a Cost Plus, a Pier One, and on and on.

So as a practical matter, Desert Schools is much more convenient, now that I’m not working at the West campus. I’ve stuck with them for a good 20 years, because their service has been primo, and for many years they had a banker stationed in the lobby who was about the best thing that ever came along. But recently they promoted the guy, and they replaced him with one of the dumbest cows I’ve ever seen. She is just stump stupid, and when you have a question or a problem, she not only is no help, she’s actually…shall we say, counterproductive.

This leaves as the only reason to drive out there the depositing of checks, which one really should not have to do at all because in any reasonable system one would be able to upload a jpeg or two and be done with it.

LOL! Desert Schools has also changed its name, but at least not in an annoying way: they now call themselves simply “Desert Credit Union,” presumably signalling that potential customers no longer need be educators to qualify for membership.

One must admit, the products they offer are significantly better than OneAZ’s. They can take wire transfers, although only to personal accounts. Since we recently de-incorporated The Copyeditor’s Desk and turned it into a sole proprietorship, that won’t matter: clients can simply wire direct to me as a human being rather than as a business entity. This, oh hallelujah, would revive my China trade!

WonderAccountant wants me to keep a separate business account, though I fail to see why I couldn’t simply segregate CE Desk transactions into a savings account within the personal account. You can make electronic payments directly out of a credit-union savings account; besides, I charge business expenses to the corporate AMEX card, so you’d think that would maintain enough of a corporate veil. As it were. Why do you need a corporate veil for a sole proprietorship, anyway? All its assets belong to the proprietor…

At any rate, this little  transfer scheme looks to me like a long, sticky mess.

BECAUSE…I have quite a few automated direct deposits and quite a few automatic payments, not the least of which are the utility bills, which are engrossed by each utility provider from their direction. This means I’ll have to call the city water department, the power company, and the gas company to give them new account information…and as you know, anything that sounds as simple as that invariably turns into a headache-breeding tangle. And I have Metlife ripping off $128 a month for long-term care, which I need to cancel anyway.

So that will be a hassle. Nay, a series of hassles.

Vaguely, I recall that we were told, when we signed up for long-term care insurance originally through TIAA-CREF, that paying into it created a kind of fund that would be paid back to us if we decided to stop paying premiums. However, TIAA-CREF abandoned the long-term care insurance business and transferred their customers to Metlife, which subsequently also abandoned LTC insuring. They kept their existing customers, but we’re told customer service is execrable and they do everything they can to get out of delivering the coverage you paid for half your life. So even if they don’t return some of the money I’ve poured into their coffers, at least I won’t be wasting any more money there.

Getting through to Social Security to have those monthly payments moved over surely will mean a major bureaucratic runaround, and probably a trip to a Social Security office and several hours wasted sitting around a waiting room.

And heaven only knows how long it will take to move all those automated deposits and payments around and make them work properly.

So. My plan is to leave about a thousand dollars in the OneAZ personal account and maybe about $500 in the business account. That should (…i hope…) be enough to cover about a month’s worth of auto-payments until such time as I can make SS change its records, but it also should put enough in the new accounts to cover the credit card bills and the auto-payments that get changed with minimal argument or foot-dragging.

It’s going to be a project, probably extending over several weeks…maybe even a couple of months. But I expect the result will represent an improvement.

Wiring Payment from China: Another Fine Idea Kicks the Bucket

LOL! This saga gets better and better.

So about 80% of The Copyeditor’s Desk’s customers are in China. One of the things we do well is to polish the grammar and style for research articles on arcane topics in mathematics, science, and economics for Chinese academics, who must publish in English-language journals to advance their careers. The more of these we do, the more Chinese academics appear at the virtual door. After Paypal decided to do a number on me, I looked for alternatives and finally decided the simplest and cheapest strategy would be to have clients wire payment to me.

But since I bank in a credit union that’s too small to have a SWIFT number (required for wire transactions), this meant I would have to open a checking account in a major international bank. Hence, it was off to Bank of America. It looked like this ought to work. Now I had two business checking accounts, one at the credit union and one at the venerable BofA, which wished me to transfer $3,000 from the CU into the new account — or else. Fortunately, they gave me three months to get around to this.

So now I have a fancy new bank account in a shiny new high-rise tower and boyoboy. It has two SWIFT numbers, one for transfers in dollars and one for transfer in yuan. Hot diggety.

Kewl, huh?

Okay, so the client’s university goes to wire a small payment into this elegant new bank account.

Shortly, the client emits a squawk:

From: Dr. Big MucketyMuck, Associate Professor, Master Supervisor, Director of International Center for Cooperation and Exchange, Director of the Mogul Center College of Business Administration, Erewhon University of Economics and Business

To: Funny, The Copyeditor’s Desk, Inc.

Hi Funny,

Could you please give me another bank account? There is a sign (‘) in the name of the last one, and my university told me because of it, they can not succeed in wiring the money. Thanks a lot.

Chortle! Got that? They would not accept a wire transaction to a bank account whose name contains an apostrophe. Proposed solution? I should go and open ANOTHER bank account, this one with no punctuation in the business’s name. 😀

How wondrous is that?

Quite wondrous enough to elicit the “enough-is-enough” reaction, that’s for sure. At this point I decide to throw in the towel and just stop doing business with overseas clients. After this, if you can’t pay me by check, I ain’t a-workin’ for you.

This presents a problem: four out every five of our client projects come from Chinese scientists. But what the hell. It’s past time for me to retire, anyway. This, after days of crazy-making hoop-jumping to create that new bidness checking account at BofA.

Closing the fancy-Dan checking account takes two trips down to the bank, one of which consumes an hour of jawing and driving time. As I drive home, I’m feeling frustrated, annoyed as hell, and depressed to lose 80% of my business to Paypal’s crooked greed (yes, I did send a complaint to the AZ Department of Financial Institutions, which licenses PP to do business here).

But…guess what? MIRACLES DO HAPPEN!

Stumble in the door, finish cleaning the kitchen (a job interrupted by the junkets to the bank), then click on the ole computer.

And what should be lurking in the email but a query from a think tank at the Great Desert University: can I, will I, would I puhleeeeze index not one but two volumes in their forthcoming series in Latino studies?

Hot. Diggety. Damn.

I guess it’s God trying to say “there, there, little girl…” 😀

Time passes. Late last night I get curious and ask the Internet an idle question: is it really true you can’t wire money to a credit union?

Sez the Internet: “Well, yes and no”:

From UW Credit Union: https://www.uwcu.org/checking/personal-accounts/wire-transfers/

Wire Transfers

Moving money almost anywhere in the world is fast, easy, safe and convenient with wire transfers. Please note: domestic wire transfers usually occur within 24 hours, while international transfers vary, typically reaching the destination within 7 business days. To complete a wire transfer, log in to Web Branch and select Wire Transfers under the services or visit our nearest branch. Be sure to gather the following information prior to beginning your wire transfer to streamline the process.

Wiring Funds to Your UW Credit Union Account

The sending institution will need the following information:

    1. ABA Number: 2759-7907-6
    2. Our Name: University of Wisconsin Credit Union
    3. Our Address: 3500 University Avenue | Madison, WI 53705
    4. Your full name, address (as it appears on your account), UW Credit Union account number

 Note: UW Credit Union does not have a Swift Code, IBAN or other international routing code, nor do we have a correspondent bank. You are able to wire funds to your UW Credit Union Account without this information. Your international financial institution will have a corresponding bank in the U.S. they can wire to, which will forward the funds to UW Credit Union using our ABA routing number: 2759-7907-6.

Uh HUH!

So, we’ll be taking that over to our honored CU branch manager and asking him, if the UW credit union can do this, why can’t we? I think we can: I think by “send it to an international bank,” this may have been what he meant to say…not “you have to have an account at an international bank.” At any rate, I’ll see if he can manage this. If so, maybe, just maybe I can manage to get paid for the work I’ve done over the past couple of weeks, rather than having to comp three clients.