Coffee heat rising

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.

Bills and Taxes and Budgets and Mathematicians, Oh My!

Almost fainted when I saw the American Express bill this month: $1250! Holeee Mackerel!

Since I’m running low on money anyway and am not going to make it to the end of my “fiscal year” when we’re slated to pull out another Required Minimum Drawdown, this was a bit of an eyepopper.

The fact is, though, that only about $700 of that was for living expenses. The vet charged $200 to put Cassie the Corgi down. The plumber charged $350 to rotoroot the plumbing. Et voilà: budget busted.

Fortunately, I’ve been putting $300 a month into emergency savings, so had a couple thousand bucks for damage control. Transferred $200 to help cover the bill; and if at the end of the month push has come to shove, I can transfer another two or three hunnert into checking for survival purposes.

Meanwhile, the scheme to decommission the Copyeditor’s Desk’s Paypal account continues apace. After hours of hassle, I finally managed to trick damnable PayPal to establish a new account, except that they wouldn’t let me attach it to the corporate bank account. So now money paid for editorial and blogging work will go into my personal account, and then will have to be transferred, with elaborate explanations to the tax man, over to the corporate checking account. That is going to be a vast PITA.

However, speaking of decommissioning: WonderAccountant has a modest proposal. She thinks we should change the business’s structure from an S-corp to a sole proprietorship, an LLC, or a C-corp. And she’s got somethin’ there.

If we made it a sole proprietorship, tax prep would be enormously simplified. The only drawback I can see is that the credit union will want to close the corporate checking & savings accounts. However, WonderAccountant and Mr. W.A. believe we can keep the EIN, and so we could quietly not tell the credit union that any change has occurred. This, we will address later…after tax season.

Meanwhile, all the tax stuff for her is in hand. How I hate this bureaucratic stuff! And how happy am I that I do not have a job in which all you do is wrestle with bookkeeping and taxes? Eeek! Let me count the ways!

Oh, in the PayPal department — and the Department of Outrageous Corporate Bureaucratic arrogance — can you believe this?!? Paypal actually demanded that I provide my bank account number AND password!!!!!!!!! Only in a fine-print line does one find a link to allow you to bypass that bit of bullshit.

Can you imagine? Like I’m gonna give PayPal direct access to my money and let them spy on every thing I do with my bank account? Yes, and while we’re at it, fork over my password to the next hacker who takes on PayPal!

Meanwhile, just as I thought the editing bidness was so moribund I might as well shut it down altogether, along came another of the redoubtable Chinese mathematicians, with 18 typeset pages of elaborate theroretical explication.

What amazing stuff. When you read this copy, you realize how creative and original mathematicians are. The whole premise for the system she uses to describe as a way to understand a specific set of empirical phenomena is a metaphor. Her demonstration works because she founds it in a metaphorical view of the real-world conditions she addresses.

And just as I reached the last few paragraphs of this project, in came a message from a senior scholar who contacted me some time back about helping him with a new biography of a very interesting mid-twentieth-century Chinese figure. This is a book I would really like to work on, and more to the point, he is an eminent scholar with whom I would really like to collaborate. Too, too exciting!

In other pastures of the Elysian Fields…I canceled tomorrow’s crack-of-dawn appointment with the adorable Young Dr. Kildare. Suddenly, out of the proverbial blue (is that also Elysian?), the back pain slacked off markedly. Yesterday afternoon it started to feel better, and this morning the pain was almost gone.

Well. In the first place, I’d just as soon not waste YDK’s time if the damn back sprain is going to go away on its own. Less generously, the prospect of spending a full hour in rush-hour traffic fills me with annoyed horror. To get there by the 8:00 a.m. appointment time, I’d have to leave here at 7 a.m., and the drive would be gawdawful. So…”feels better” served as a convenient excuse.

And a chimera: by 4:00 this afternoon it hurt like hell again.

Among the several tasks I’d set for today was to get a grip on Chapter 36 of Ella’s Story. Right. Well. I filled my pen, anyway.

If It Ain’t Broke…

Ever feel like you’re oversensitive to change? Dunno whether it’s age or just a manifestation of the ever-more-unlovely dystopia in which we dwell…but I have just about had it with having to adapt, adapt, and re-adapt to change made for no very good reason.

I mean, if there’s a reason for it, fine. But to shake things up for the sake of shaking them up — and hassling everyone who uses said things — not so much. Especially when it comes to techno-change: since electronic technology is now ubiquitous, even rather small changes can mean big, time-consuming headaches. But BIG techno-changes? Ohhh shee-ut!

This weekend, the credit union is shutting down its website for three days in order to disgorge an “update.” This creation is supposed to make our lives easier and ever so much more wonderful.

But you and I know exactly what it will do, right? Make our lives complicated and ever so much more miserable. 😀 Been here before, done this…

FAQ’s:

Will my account number(s) change?
Your account number(s) will have a new look in the upgraded system. We will add a number at the beginning of your current account number to identify the account type (savings, auto loan, etc.). Checking and HELOC accounts will not change, so your current account number will remain the same.
You will see your new account number(s) in online and mobile banking after the upgrade.
We will also link your various account numbers to one Member Number, which is tied to your Social Security Number. If you currently have multiple individual account numbers, your oldest account number—the account you have had with us the longest—will be used as your member number.

Ducky!!!

Will my scheduled transfers in online banking continue to work after the technology upgrade?
If you have scheduled auto-transfers in Popmoney or Funds Transfer, you will need to reestablish them after the technology upgrade with your new account number(s). Auto transfers from checking accounts must also be reestablished even though the account number will not change.

Never heard of “Popmoney” and don’t expect I want to. Funds Transfer? I do transfer my (shrinking…) share of the mortgage on the downtown house to my son, since he manages those payments. So it looks like I’ll have to screw around to keep that happening. Probably will end up having to write him a check next week. Dollars to donuts…

Will online banking and bill pay be available during the technology upgrade?
Online banking and bill pay will not be available from Friday, August 31 at 6:00 p.m. to Monday, September 3 at 9:00 a.m.

Paid the bills that are coming due. Since I’ve been totally distracted for the past several days, two of them are going to be paid late, thanks to the CU shutting down for three days. Whoopeee.

Looked up all account numbers for all the recurring bills; made a note of each in a single place, so it will be relatively less of a PITA to rebuild all those bill-pay structures. Ugh. How can I count the ways I don’t want to waste time doing that?

This is the same outfit that changed its name, pointlessly, from the perfectly intelligible “Arizona State Savings and Credit Union” to the cutesy, unpronounceable and unintelligible moniker, OneAZ. No one knows what that is, and half the people who see it can’t figure out how to say it.

So…it’s hard not to suspect that this “upgrade” is yet another pointless change.

Crabby as a cat…

Grrrrrrrr! This is one of those can’t touch it without causing it to go T-W-A-A-A–N-G!-!-! days.

Mostly I’ve been too damn lazy to touch anything, thank God. Didn’t make it out for the wee-hours doggy-walk: sucked in to the hilariously lurid news reporting on our national politics. Sat glued to the digital screen until it was way too hot to take the dogs (or me) outside.

This: it’s just too good. Too, too, TOO good:

Uh huh… 😀 Our role model

Except really, you couldn’t make this stuff up. Not a chance!

And how lovely: if enough weren’t enough, my touchpad has stopped working. I’ll have to go get the mouse, put in new batteries, and find something that it can squirchle around on. Never. A. Fuckin’. Dull. Moment.

Naturally, that thing doesn’t work, either. So….I guess I’m without a computer just now.

Well…nooo…lookee here. Now the damn touchpad lash-up is working. Sort of. In a half-assed way. Better than not at all. I guess.

Oh, god!!!! I have SO had it!

After diddling the entire morning away, I decided I should shift around and get something done. How’s about I deposit this stack of checks from Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff?

It’s a task I tend to put off until the stack gets so high it can no longer be ignored. I hate depositing checks electronically. It is a ditzy hassle, every damn inch of the damn way.

So I ditz around and ditz around and ditz around: scan the checks, crop the checks, store the checks to disk as jpegs under distinctive filenames, make a record of each check and its amount and where it comes from so as to be able to explain to WonderAccountant what on earth those random cryptic figures represent and then upload the front of each check and upload the back of each check and print out the receipt and staple each check to its receipt and file it away in a CE Desk file folder and what a gigantic fuckin PITA!!!!!!!!!

Almost as much of a PITA as driving through the wackshit traffic to the credit union, halfway to San Diego, and depositing them in person.

Today I got the best of both fucking experiences.

When I uploaded the first check to the credit union’s site, I got back a message reminding me that it’s a crime to deposit the same check twice, and no, they would not accept any more checks from me.

WTF?

No, it was NOT a duplicate check! The thing had been sitting on my desk for the past two weeks, waiting for the whole pile to accrue. If I’d already deposited it…well, cf “print out the receipt and staple etc. etc. et-endless-cetera”!

Furious, I now gathered the mound of checks and set out through the murderous heat, humidity, and traffic for the credit union. There, hearing this story, the teller remarked, “Oh, yeah. That happens…sometimes it thinks checks are duplicates.”

Oh, thank you so much. I just LOVE having my time wasted and my patience tried!

So, after this, to cut down on the aggravation factor I guess I’ll just have to drive all incoming paper checks up to the credit union in person. What a fuckin’ waste of gasoline and time!! About the best I can do to ameliorate that is plan to coordinate with Costco trips, and do my Costco shopping in the store up on the I-17, which is not my least favorite outlet, but still is far from my favorite.

Pisseth me off.

But I was already crabby, for reasons that are unclear. The weather, I expect. It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s allergenic as hell. My ears are plugged like drums, I can’t sing without choking on gook in my throat, and believe me, nothing constructive is getting done.

About all I’m good for is watching our Honored Leader twist in the breeze.

Speaking of the which, it looks like a helluva storm is blowing in…here as it is blowing into Washington. Towering clouds all around, closing in from every direction.

I give up. I’m going to take a nap.

Why I Bank at a Credit Union…

A fine Day from Hell in every way: at five in the morning, temp on the back porch in the 90s and air so thick you need a spoon to breathe it. It rained during the night, so that did cool things off. But. Ugh.

First order of the day’s business, once business establishments opened, was to run up to the credit union and try to find out why all my accounts are scrambled.

Ugh, indeed!

You’ll recall that to reset my grip on the finances, I decided to use Costco cash cards and my existing credit union cookie-jar accounts to create an “envelope method” approach to budgeting. Purchases at Costco would stop when the current cash-card was used up ($300, though I may drop that to $200). And (as usual) set-asides for 2019 taxes & insurance, for incoming Medicare and Medigap reimbursements, and for an emergency fund would be doled out, monthly, among three credit-union savings accounts.

These accounts have always existed. You can make as many savings accounts as you choose at my credit union, plus your checking account. So I’ve always had an account called “Emergency Savings,” one called “Mayo” (for the medical reimbursements), and one called “T&I” (for tax & insurance).

At the time I make this decision, I figure I’ll live on my 401(k)’s Required Minimum Drawdown (or try to), and transfer all the Social Security payments into “Emergency Savings,” an account whose balance had dwindled to a little over five dollars. To accomplish this, I get on the phone and talk with a credit union’s CSR. I ask this person how I can arrange to auto-transfer the gummint’s monthly electronic deposits from checking to the account branded “emergency savings.”  SS payments come in unpredictably, roughly depending on what cycle the bureaucrats use to send them to you. Mine arrive sometime between the first and about the 12th of the month. I explain that I’d like this money set aside to build an emergency fund and I’d like not to have to do that manually whenever the SSA gets around to sending the money. She says she will make it so.

Good. Days go by.

Now I do some more budgeteering — and I realize that there’s no way I can possibly live on the RMD alone. While I probably can avoid suctioning up all the SS income, I’m going to need at least $500 a month of it. Probably more. When I go online to arrange an automatic transfer of $530/month, I’m astonished to discover the “Mayo” savings account has disappeared, and the chunk of dough set aside in there to pay the Mayo’s next bill has disappeared with it.

The money to cover medical bills has been moved over into my regular savings account (which I’d dubbed “Emergency Savings,” but which has been renamed “Share Savings”).

When I go to double-check the scheduled transfer of the SS funds, I can find exactly no trace of it.

So. You know better. I know better. We all know better: Never do your banking over the phone.

This meant I had to drive to the credit union, collar a manager or assistant manager, and find out WTF is going on.

  1. What happened to the scheduled transfer of the monthly Social Security deposit into Emergency Savings?
  2. If it didn’t get arranged, why not?
  3. If it did get arranged, why doesn’t it show as a scheduled transfer? Where did the transfer that was supposedly arranged go? Is that monthly deposit going to disappear into limbo?
  4. If it did not get arranged, can we arrange it? Can we be certain that we’re not duplicating a scheduled transfer that doesn’t show even though it  supposedly was made?
  5. Can we arrange an auto transfer on the 20th of each month from Emergency Savings (holding the SS deposits) to checking, enough to make ends meet?

Oh, those lucky people! We need to start a U-Tube Video series: Here She Comes Again!

So I get up there and discover…

  1. If a scheduled transfer was made from the CU’s environs instead of by you, you can’t see it in the online “scheduled transfer” function. (Naturally! Why did I ask?)
  2. He doesn’t have a clue what happened to the “Mayo” savings account.
  3. He suggests it would be simpler to transfer the difference between the total SS monthly deposit and the amount I need  into the “Emergency Savings” account. Keep whatever is needed in checking and transfer the rest to the savings account.
  4. He will rename “Emergency Savings” as “Mayo,” leaving the amount for the medical bills in that account rather than transferring them around.
  5. And he will create a new “Emergency Savings” account to hold a little over half of incoming Social Security deposits, leaving the rest in checking to cover cash flow. We hope.

Sounds OK, right? He says what I see at home is different from what he says on his monitor. He suggests I send him a screenshot, after I get back to the Funny Farm, so we can check that all this is working.

And so, off I go to retrace the 8.2 miles of my steps back to the house: it required driving 16.4 miles and about 90 minutes of my time to accomplish this.

A check-up revealed that we had it almost right. We ended up with…

  • a checking account  (Balance: one year’s worth of RMD plus a few bucks)
  • a savings account (“Emergency Savings, 00.” Unfunded)
  • a savings account, (“Taxes & Insurance, 60.” $8408)
  • a savings account (“Taxes and Insurance, 61.”  $538.95)

So what has happened is that the set-aside account to cover medical bills was redundantly named “taxes and insurance” rather than “Mayo.” But at least we have an account into which to stash Medigap and Medicare payments.

Gaaaahhhhhh! So I had to get on the email, send him the desired secreenshot, and ask him to rename account 61 in such a way that I can distinguish it from the real tax-&-insurance “envelope” at a glance.

Jeez.

Long as I’m wrestling with money online, I decide to check to see how much AMEX thinks I owe it as of this minute, to be sure it jibes with the $130 I believe I’ve charged up.

Well. No. AMEX’s website says I owe that fine outfit $682!!!!!!

WTF??????? Have they not received the seven-something I sent them when the last statement came in?

Go back to the credit union’s site and find that they have indeed paid last month’s bill, as directed. AMEX should have received the money on or about the 5th…four days ago.

Get a chat rep online at the AMEX site. After endless waiting and screwing around with typing out the question and explaining that it was paid electronically and should have been received, I learned that yea verily it had been received. It would take another 24 to 48 hours  before that fact registered on their website.

Ducky.

Q. So, I ask: how much have I charged up on the card in the current billing cycle — that is, how much do you see owing right now?

A. About $126.

That’s four bucks less than my records say I’ve charged — probably because this card applies an automatic cash kickback to eligible transactions. But at least their conception of reality is now close to my conception of reality.

What a bitch of a morning! And early afternoon.

Coulda been worse, though. Just imagine if all those cookie-jar shenanigans had been happening at, say, Wells Fargo.

Needing to pick up some one-pound bags of chlorine shock treatment this morning, I serendipitously discovered a Leslie’s about six blocks from the campus (where the CU office resides). And even more serendipitously, right next door to the thing was a Fry’s grocery store….where I could buy another breakfast melon, some grapes, and a few tomatoes to restock the larder.

And at the Leslie’s, I discovered that eight pounds worth of shock treatment in bags costs about $14 less than the same amount of the same stuff dispensed in bulk. Jeez. Such a deal.