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November 27, 2006

A Little of that Family Luck

Well, M now has experienced a bit of my luck.

Her first flight from LAX was delayed about 1.5 hours for flight crew from another flight arrived. Which caused her to miss her connection at Montreal. The irony is that she was there, she ran, but didn't make the 15-minute rule.

So, she's staying with her brother in Montreal and will be back home tomorrow.

All I have to say to the Fates is this-- we're not married yet! She doesn't have my last name quite yet, so go easy on her!

I'm sure I'll have new stories to tell of my own come December. Stay tuned. ;-)

On Her Way

Super Shuttle just picked up M and she is on her (long) way back to Canada.

We had a good visit, got to make the rounds and visit with a few of my friends this trip, and had a very productive meeting with our new immigration lawyer that will allow us to make some more definite plans toward the future. So a very good visit, all in all.

I look forward to my visit at Xmas/New Year's.

For right now, I feel a bit shredded (for obvious reasons). I think I'll go take a nap for an hour before going to work for the day.

November 20, 2006

Quick Hits

M is here and I am extremely happy. We have managed to visit with some friends, see a movie (Casino Royale—definitely worth seeing), watch some NFL together, and have some quiet time alone. My apartment is just not conducive to two-people, though. Caly has voiced her displeasure at having a woman staying in “her” apartment. I won’t mention how she reacts to having another female cuddling up with “her” human. Cats will be cats, and therefore possessive and a bit condescending.

We have a visit to another set of friends on Wednesday, as well as driving out to mom’s that evening for Thanksgiving the next day. Then Black Friday. Maybe another friendly visit on Saturday. Oh, and lots of shopping. She did bring two suitcases, after all.

Having to work today and tomorrow sucks, though.

I have already heard back from my bank on the car loan debacle. It appears they realized my recent transactions were supposed to go entirely against the Principle, so that is why they backed out the payments and then re-issued them. However, that still does not account for why my ending balance after this is higher than it was before.

Anyway, I should pay this off in a week and be done with it. Then I can start the process of trying to get my pink slip from them. On my last car, it took me nearly a year to convince them I had paid my loan and to send me the registration. Let’s see if I can top that this time.

I guess Detroit has proven yet again that they are one of the worst teams in the league. After the startling win against Atlanta, I fully expected them to reach 5 or 6 wins during the "easy" part of their schedule (San Fran, Arizona, Miami plus one more game versus Green Bay and Minnesota). However, they dropped the two against San Fran and Arizona, and Miami is looking like a solid team again and a definite spoiler.

I think that Marinelli has the team going in the right direction. However, I wonder if the choice of Martz, about which I was initially very happy, may have been a poor one. Par for the course for Matt Millen, the worst GM in the history of GMs for the NFL.

There is always next season. *sigh

November 19, 2006

Here and Safe

M arrived safely and soundly at about 12:15 pm. We packed up her gear and made fabulous time back to Irvine. We spent the day going to CostCo (twice), church, Albertsons, and having dinner.

On tap for tomorrow, Casino Royale with Chris and Cynthia and some football at a normal, decent hour (none of this midnight football in the Atlantic time zone crap!).

November 16, 2006

Crazy Evening, Crazier Morning

Last night, after my nightly chat with M, I needed to go back on the internet for some reason. I found that I had no connection at all to the internet. I tried my work laptop and even TiVo to connect, but there seemed to be nothing doing. And this after chatting for an hour and browsing the internet after work. I checked all connections, released and renewed my IP, turned everything off and back on, etc.; all the usual tricks. Nothing.

I attempted to reconnect this morning, prior to leaving for work. Still nothing. Yet Cox’s online help site indicates nothing unusual for the Orange County area. I wonder if my modem or router crapped out on me very suddenly? The lights of each were still working, everything appeared to be firmly connected.

Bank 1
I picked up my mail yesterday evening as well, but did not feel like reviewing it at that time. This morning, I went through it. I received a loan statement from KeyPoint that was dated 4-20-06—WTF? Why, in November, would I be receiving a statement showing me the activity for March and requesting the April payment?

So I called. Spoke with a nice woman named Madeline about it. I explained that I was trying to get the amount paid off, which they were not making easy, and that last month’s statement came with some oddities on it that I was hoping this month’s statement would clarify. However, the statement I received was for March/April—so I was very confused. We had to step all the way back to January 06. She then month by month read to me the balance, the amount paid, until she got to October. Then all hell broke loose. In October, I made several large payments in an attempt to get the loan from them paid off and closed. I wound up receiving two statements in October, one with my original amount owed and large payment amounts, and a final amount due of well under $1000. The second statement, about two weeks later, showed them backing out those large extra payments, reposting them in a different amount to the account, and my final amount owed on the account at over $1000. Hunh?

Madeline needed help, so she called her manager over to see if he could figure it out. Neither of them could find any notes or details explaining what finance had done with these changes. They also could not explain why I was receiving a statement for March/April in November. When all was said and done, Madeline put in a work order for finance to go through my account with a fine-tooth comb and contact me back with answers no later than December 6. In the meantime, I show I need to make one final payment of about $700 and they show me needing to pay about $1150. I do not think I will be paying anything until they get this resolved!

Bank 2
While speaking with Madeline, I tried to access my bank account online so that I could tell her the exact amounts I paid. I could not enter the site. So, I wound up having to call that bank and ask them what my account number is, as it was the account number field which was at fault.

My next piece of mail was a certified letter from American Financial Warranty Corporation. It politely informed me that the extended vehicle warranty I had purchased two years ago when I bought my truck was reviewed and noted that one section was on “the wrong form.” They had corrected the mistake and were sending this change to me for my records. Wait, WTF? When I sat down with the finance guy at Saturn, I was very clear about not wanting any extended warranties. Was this a scam?

I decided to call Saturn and ask them if I did, in fact, have an extended warranty on my vehicle and if it was from this company. I had to transfer around until I reached Saturn’s Director of Finance, Mario, before I found someone who could answer my questions. He looked up my account and, sure enough, I had an extended warranty. I explained that this was a surprise to me, as I had been very explicit about not wanting one when purchasing the vehicle.

Being in the position he is, Mario could not come right and say I got scammed by their finance person. However, he did say that there were three people who worked for Saturn at the location where I bought my car during that time period. One name, Rick, stood out as familiar to me, but I cannot be sure without checking my paperwork. Anyway, Mario indicated not one of those three lasted more than a couple of months. He never came out and said it, but I got the strong impression that Saturn let them each go for “irregularities.” In general, Saturn prides themselves on being an honest and customer-centric company. And my many experiences at the particular location have all been good, so I believe him.

Further discussion and some extra research on his part indicated that this letter I received did appear to be legit. Mario apologized for my confusion and offered me some coupons for free oil change/service for the inconvenience. So, I have a $1250 extended warranty on my truck, should something go wrong, and my next service will be free. I guess that’s a good thing.

Lastly, I received a postcard from my eye doctor’s office, indicating it was time to make a new appointment. Usually, however, these postcards also say what date/time my appointment is for, because I never leave without making the next year’s appointment. This one did not have that listed, so I called. Bob was able to look me up and determined that I did not, in fact, have an appointment scheduled. My eye doctor is generally booked well in advanced, which meant my early-December appointment is now at the end of January!

November 9, 2006

New Sensation

I like chocolate bars. Especially those made with dark chocolate. Some of my favorites include Snickers, Baby Ruth, Hershey’s bars, Three Musketeers, 100 Grand, Crunch, Smores, and Milky Way. I do not like any nut except peanuts and I dislike coconut.

Recently, I ate a Snickers, a Baby Ruth, and a dark chocolate Milky Way. Not all at once, mind you. An interesting thing happen—I had a sensation like small electrical shocks in my mouth as I ate. This has not happened before, so I was a little surprised. The sensation is nothing that causes me pain or discomfort; it is just a very mild annoyance that is enough to notice even as I enjoy the candy.

I do not know if it is the ingredients, the acidity of my mouth, the mixture of silver and gold fillings, something psychosomatic, or an entirely different reason, but the sensation is there all the same. I only notice it when eating mixed-ingredient candy bars like those I mentioned, however. When I last ate See’s Candy and a Hershey’s Chocolate Bar, I did not experience this odd feeling.

Does anyone else experience this? Is this yet another thing about which I am completely unique?

November 7, 2006

Not the 300 I Imagined

Welcome to my 300th post to this blog. I have been working on a new post for a while; I have a couple of interesting topics and have been working on each trying to decide which would be my 300th post. One is a personal event that happened while I was a child and shaped my world and life view, another was a political rant about things, and a third was simple musings about life.

This is NOT one of those topics.


Dorothy (friend and work) and I went to Albertsons for lunch today. I ordered the Italian Delight. And, shock of all shocks, they did it right! I actually got the sandwich I ordered, correctly made with no additional ingredients (like onions or mustard/mayo) added in and without the tomotoes, as requested.

I'm sitting here, stunned, that it only took 5 tries to get it right. I was thinking this may become my White Whale.

Oh well, I'm sure something else will come along.

November 1, 2006

Because I Like to Share

If you can see it, there is the wound. It is just over an inch long. You can't make out the egg under it very well, as it is hard to take a pic of your own head.

PS - to any women who view this: hopefully the wound will keep you from swooning at the sexiness of my bald head. If you do swoon, well, you can't hold me accountable for the sexy!