I’m Not Even Getting Paid For This

I locked in a 5% interest rate for my mortgage today.  5%!   That’s a freaking fantastic rate!

I know the market’s crappy and you’ve lost all the money in your 401K, (who hasn’t?) but apparently that’s a good thing for mortgage rates.  (Something about the fed wanting us to spend money so they lower interest rates which makes it so that I can get rid of my old rate and get a new really really low one, which of course in the end means that I spend less money rather than more but whatever.)  But I’d recommend getting on that.

Because I’m a super kind caring person, and because I love my brother, I’m going to tell you about how you can do it too.

See, my oldest brother (remember this guy) is a mortgage broker and he’s fantastic and he has this thing called rate watch where you tell him what kind of rate you want and he calls you when the market hits that number.  It’s that simple.

And the thing is, that even if we didn’t share a lot of DNA I’d still want to work with this guy.  Seriously, this is classic Chris and this and this.  Even if you have no interest in refinancing click, read, these are great blog-posts, or just go over to his blog and read through the archives, look for the long posts, they’re worth reading, I mean it!  (And they’re not just marketing, he believes it, he really does.) Who wouldn’t want to work with a guy who feels that way about family and God and helping others?

He’s based in Utah but he can help you no matter where you live so seriously, you should give him a call, (801) 787-2162 ask for Chris or an email chris@thechrisjonesgroup.com, or just go here and sign up for ratewatch (it’s on the right of your screen).  I promise you won’t regret it.

A La Bythelbs

You know how Bythelbs does those posts about those emails that she-  What?  You don’t read Bythelbs?  Why the heck not?  You should you know.  Go ahead click on the link, I’ll be right here.  No really, I’ll wait.

Back?   Ok now, so you probably didn’t see one because it’s been a while since she’s done one but she occasionally does these posts about these misdirected or phishing email that she gets and they crack me up because… Well, because they’re really funny.

Anyway, I thought I never got those kinds of emails because I never see them because like 90% of the rest of the world I have a yahoo email account and like 20% of the rest of the world I actually use mine.  (Emailing with a company that has millions of costumers means that they see billions of spam emails so their spam filters are actually quite good.)  But I checked another email account that I have the other day and I found a few gems.

The first is, I think, a pretty basic phishing scam but I find it fascinating because I don’t see them that often.  Here it is:

Tell: +27 73 313 35 72
I write, asking for your indulgence in re-profiling funds to tune of Twelve Million,
Eight Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US$12.8m) which we want to keep safely
overseas under your supervision.
In other words, we would like you to receive the said funds on our behalf. The Funds
were derived over time from a project awarded to a foreign firm by my Department, and
presently the actual contract cost have been paid to the original project executors,
leaving the balance in the tune of the said amount which we have in principle obtained
approval to remit overseas.
Kindly pardon the use of a medium informal as this for reaching out to you to make a
request of great importance to us.
Currently, I work as a Director of Projects at the Department of Minerals & Energy here
in Pretoria . I have the authority and approval of my partners involved in this
transaction to negotiate a suitable compensation for your participation and I propose
22.2 percent, while we also propose that we receive 46.6 percent and 31.2 percent be
earmarked for purposes of taxation.
This endeavor has a minimal risk factor on your part provided you treat it with the
utmost discretion. You are advised to reach me through email or you can contact me on my
number for further clarifications. (solomon.zuma@executivemail.co.za)
I am available for further clarification.
I kindly wait to hear from you.
Yours Sincerely,
Solomon Zuma

I just love that they don’t know whether I’m a sir or a madam but they trust me to keep almost 13 million dollars under my supervision.  I’m a big fan of the random sprinkling of corporate and official sounding words “The Funds were derived over time from a project awarded to a foreign firm by my Department, and presently the actual contract cost have been paid to the original project executors, leaving the balance in the tune of the said amount which we have in principle obtained approval to remit overseas.” What does that even mean? And then there’s the generic African sounding name.  Altogether priceless.

It may be heartless of me to ask but who falls for these things?  Who reads this and thinks Oh my goodness, this poor guy, he really sounds like he needs my help. And then starts sending money?

The second email that I got actually gave me pause for a minute.  The first thing that caught my attention was that is showed as being from Chris Oldboyfriend.  (No, not that old boy friend.)  For a minute I was actually really excited to read it because I haven’t heard from him in a long time. (Mostly due to my own lazyness but let’s not go into that ok?) But then I started reading the email.  Here it is:

How are you today ? I am sorry I didn’t inform you about my traveling for a program called Empowering Youth to Fight Racism, HIV/AIDS, and Lack of Education. The program took place in three countries in Europe which are Scotland, Ireland and England.  I am presently in England. I misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money, and other valuables were kept. I will like you to assist me with a soft loan urgently. The total sum of money that i would need would be $2,800US Dollars to sort-out my hotel bills and get myself back home. I will appreciate whatever you can afford, i’ll pay you back as soonas i return,Let me know if you can assist me so that i can send you the details to use when sending the money through western union money transfer.

NB :Let me know if you would be able to help me out and lend me the money ?

Regards ,

Chris .

Ok so, first of all this is a guy I haven’t talked to in probably at least 5 years.  Why on earth would he have informed me of his travel plans?  Secondly, who writes a friend and asks for a “soft loan”?  I know that that’s what a loan of a “small” amount of money is called (I think) and that’s great if you’re talking about corporate petty cash or something but “Hey buddy, can you help me out with a soft loan?”  that just doesn’t sound all that-  actually, it’s growing on me.  Next time I need to borrow a couple bucks I might just try it out.

But the biggest thing that convinced me that there was now way that this email was actually from Chris Oldboyfriend was the closing.  Regards.  Regards?! This is a guy that at one time I thought I was going to marry.  He’s a guy that I still love, that I will always love (because you never really ever completely stop loving someone that you loved once do you?)  and I get a “regards”?! Even if I did think it was actually from him I wouldn’t have sent him any money just for that.

But I have a lot of respect for his trying to stamp out Rascism, HIV/AIDS, and Lack of Education.  Now that’s ambition.


For those of you who are new to the Wonderland please read this post before you read this post.

School started today.  The Princess went off to begin third grade and the Pea headed out to first grade.  His first full day of school, morning and afternoon.  And that means one thing: lunch.

His lunch was packed with care by his older sister (she beat me to it, it was made before I got up) he had a juice box and a sandwich (peanut butter and jelly on a hot dog bun), he had a nectarine.  I even added a little baggie of carrots.

So he went off to school and guess what.


He was told at the beginning of the day to put his backpack in his locker.  He did.  Apparently not many kids bring their lunches to school or possibly he wasn’t paying attention (I’m sure that wasn’t it) but whatever happened he didn’t end up going back to his locker to get his lunch.  “They made me get the school’s lunch,”  he said when he got home.

*Deep Breath*

Since it was the first day of school many forms and permission slips were sent home.  Amongst them I found one for free and reduced price lunches.  We don’t qualify for either but I’m sending it back anyway.  See:And when they send me the bill for the lunch that the Pea ate today I’m taking a page out of Lisa M‘s book (I linked to her blog but she gave me the idea on the last post of this nature.  Somehow I’ve failed to follow the link to her blog and read it before now.  I plan to rectify that oversight.) and declaring it an unautorized expendeture.  I will not pay it! You think they’ll get the message?

PS Bonus points to the first person who figures out what the phone number on the form is.

Hey, Let’s Go To the Mall!

When I got up this morning I dressed for construction.  Before the day was far spent I had been to the lumber yard, with the Pea and Irish1. Whatever possessed me to think that taking a five and a two year old boy to the lumber yard was a good idea I don’t know.  Needless to say, it wasn’t.  We left there with not enough joist hangers (to hang 5 joists you need ten hangers, not five) so we went back and got five more only to discover when we got home that they were the wrong ones (all of them) after all.  I haven’t been back yet.

I got home and cleaned.  And measured in preparation for cutting rim joists (not nearly as dirty as it sounds) and I nursed and yelled at the Pea and listened to Irish1 whine and ignored Irish2 crying (why won’t he just go to sleep?) and just did all my normal day stuff. But by about 5:00 (I say about because I had no way of knowing what time it actually was) I was done. D-O-N-E. Done.

So I handed the kids over to Sean and headed for the mall, a place which despite being located at the end of my street (just past the Costco) I hadn’t been to in at least three years, to replace the battery in my watch which had stopped working nearly two weeks ago (I hate not knowing what time it is) or possibly to just replace the watch itself, since I don’t really love it.  I was still dressed for construction, orange “Spartans” softball t-shirt I stole from a girl-friend in high school, denim shorts, no makeup.  Not the look I would have chosen but I wasn’t spending another minute at home even if it meant I went out looking like white trash.

The store closest to my home is a largish department store.  I’ll call it Nacey’s.  It was close, it was convenient and they sell watches, and presumably batteries, so I went in.

Ahhhh.  It was quiet.  It was clean.  No one referred to me as Mom mom mom mom mom.  It may have been heaven.  I went in for the battery, possibly a watch. But since I was already there- I really did need another pair of shorts, this long length that’s currently in style is highly convenient to a card carrying Mo like myself, I really ought to take advantage while I can.  And I realized as I got dressed this morning that I’ve lost a whole stack of shirts that I took out of my drawers last time I was pregnant.  So I’m low on shirts.  And did I mention that it was quiet and clean?

So I wandered around.  I picked up a couple pairs of shorts.  I made it to the watch counter.

Oooooh, look how pretty.  Wow I really like this one.  And it has a crystal face, a must, (I’m very hard on my watches) and it’s titanium, (I’m very very hard on my watches) and it has a cool metal mesh band that is infinitely adjustable, unlike the metal link ones, that always end up either too long or too short, or the  leather ones that stretch and wear out. (Did I mention how hard I am on my watches?)  And it’s so pretty.  And it’s $130.00.  Eeek.

I really do wear and love my watches (I say watches but I ought to make it clear that I only own one functioning watch at a time, I’m not the kind of girl that has a different watch to match her outfit.)  I probably get $130.00 worth of use out of them but- I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t bring myself to pay $130.00 for a watch.  “I’ll think about it,” I told the woman at the counter.  I continued wandering the store.

8 days ago we took Irish1 to the ER for stitches.  He’s fine.  It’s not an interesting story so I won’t bother telling it, except for the part where he refused to stand on the scale.  So I held him and stood on the scale and then I handed him off to Sean and stood on the scale again.  I honestly couldn’t even begin to guess what Irish1 weighed.  But I know what I did. 117 lbs.  117.2 to be exact.  117 lbs!!!!  I don’t think I’ve been this skinny EVER! (Go ahead and hate me, I’m too thin for it to bother me.)  I weighed more that that by a minimum of five pounds when I was in high school.

So why is it that now that I’m at the smallest I’ve ever been, and let’s face it, the smallest I’m ever gonna be, maternity shirts are the height of fashion?!!  The high waists, the flowing lengths, come on people!  My stomach’s never gonna be this flat again, can’t I show that off?  Just a little?  I’m not looking for a bikini top here, I’m not even into showing my midriff, (aside from the undergarment issue there’s the fact that skinny does not equal anything in terms of muscle tone, or skin color) but I’d like something slightly form fitting.  Is that too much to ask?

Apparently it is.

I grabbed a couple possibilities from the little boy’s department (my secret source of cute, cheap t-shirts) and with my shorts and a skirt (the only one for under $50 I had seen ) headed for the fitting room.  One of the pairs of shorts was OK.

Alright, so I wasn’t doing fantastically but the shorts weren’t too expensive ($24) so having to look at myself, partially dressed, in the horribly unflattering light (fluorescent?  Really?  Don’t you want me to think I look good so I’ll buy something?) hadn’t been a complete waste of time.

I thought.

I really did need to get a watch.  I was trying to justify the $130.00.  I headed back to the watch counter and looked around.  There was a clearance rack on the counter, 40% off.  And there it was.  Angels sang, trumpets trumpeted and light shone from heaven right onto my watch, the same one I had loved before, in the clearance box.

“Um, can I see this one?” I asked.  The same woman (who now that I think about it may not have been my biggest fan since I kinda got her hopes up before about making a big sale and then I walked away.  But honestly, how could I have done any different?  They tuck the price tags under so you can’t get even an inkling of the price until they unlock the display case.  And how much could she have believed I was gonna buy it?  She could see what I was wearing, I was the walking definition of low budget.) unlocked this display case and handed me the watch.  Yes, it was the same one.  Titianium, crystal, pretty.

“What’s the clearance price on this?”  I asked, unable to do the math in my head what with all the excitement.

“Let’s see how it rings up,” she says.

“It’s $130.00,” she says.

“But it’s on clearance.”

“No, it’s not, I guess someone put it away in the wrong place.”

That’s it?  Yup, that was it.  I probably could have fought it, asked to see the manager.  I know suburbancoorespondant would have but I was too deflated by this point.  I had been considering paying the full price but after seeing it at 40% off (and having that little dream snatched away) I couldn’t even consider it.  I took my shorts and wandered off to buy them.

I went to five different “service centers.”  Apparently the woman at the watch counter is the only person who works at Nacey’s.  I found a rack, hung up my shorts and left.

I glanced around a few other stores in the mall, $50 for that?  It’s not even a whole shirt, really?  Who buys this stuff?

There was a kiosk in the middle of the mall.  It had a sign that said they replaced watch batteries on site.  There were some watches for sale too.  They weren’t cute.  “I give a discount for Spartans,” the man working there said.

I walked away.

But let’s face it, this trip was not going to end well.  I walked back.  “How much for a new battery in my watch?”

“$8.00 but for you I’ll do it for 7.”

I’m sure I could have talked him down to 5.  I paid 7 and walked straight through Nacey’s looking neither to the right nor to the left (5,000,000 because I can’t remember) on my way home.

I now remember why I haven’t been to the mall in three years.   I think I’ll stick with Zarget.

Credit Card: REVOKED!

I cut up the Princess’s credit card yesterday.

No, obviously not an actual credit card, she’s only 8, geez how crazy do you think I am? It’s a metaphor. Make yourself comfy and I’ll tell you the whole story.

Nearly two years ago I sent to Princess off to her first full day of school. She was a big girl, she was in first grade, she was six. Being the exemplary mother that I am, I packed her newly purchased Disney Princess lunch-box with a healthy, nutritious lunch, I even wrote her a loving note on the napkin just like the mothers of the girls who weren’t me always did when I was growing up and I wished my mother did too (in her defense my mother may have done something like that when I was in grade school had she made my lunch, but since lunch making was one of the morning chores for myself or one of my six siblings she wasn’t really in a position for writing napkin notes.) I loving placed said Disney princess lunch-box in my darling daughter’s Disney princess backpack and sent her off on the bus to school.

Fast forward a few hours and I got a phone call from the Princess. She had hurt her arm- that’s right she needed first aid in the first grade (10,000)- So I went to the school and picked her up. As we were driving home I asked, “did you like the lunch I made you?”

“I didn’t eat it.”

“What do you mean you didn’t eat it?”

“I went through the line and they gave me pizza.”

Pause. “Sweetheart, they don’t just give you food, you have to buy food and you didn’t have any money.”

“They said I could bring money tomorrow.”

And so began my daughter’s education in buying on credit. SHE WAS SIX!!!!!

I realize that it was only $1.20 but that is SO not the point. The point is that the school, an institution I’m trusting to teach my daughter, has just taught her that she can get what she wants now and pay for it later. Gone are the days of sending your kid to school with lunch money which they handed over to the cashier at the end of the lunch-line. Now you send money in to the schools and it goes in your child’s account. they they go get their lunch and give the “cashier” their account number. I’m completely serious.

In the intervening nearly two years Sean and I have done what we could to disabuse her of the notion that she can’t just get lunch on credit to no avail. She is currently in charge of making her own lunch, something she does about four days a week. The other days I plan for and send money. But some days she makes herself a lunch and she doesn’t eat it!! She just eats in the cafeteria. And the school sends notes home telling us that we owe them money.

And they’re mean about it, collection agencies have nothing on Unnamed Elementary for getting their money. They take the Princess out of class and have her call home to remind- by remind I mean tell, since the note that they sent home with the Princess is still in her backpack- us that we owe 20 cents. 20 CENTS!!!! You’re calling me at home to demand 20 cents?!!!!! Is the school system really that hard up? (Again not the point but I couldn’t help but mention it.)

But we can’t not pay it. We live in a very… (how do I put this?) non-affluent area. There are a lot of kids at that school who are on reduced or free lunch, there are a lot of kids there for whom the meal(s) they eat at school are the best meals they’ll get all week. We can afford the lunch, we can afford one for her and one for a friend. I would just like to afford it ahead of time.

Yesterday I got my big break. Instead of the Princess calling me about money owed, the “lunch secretary” (I kid you not) called. “The Princess didn’t bring her lunch today and she’s going on a field-trip but she already owes $1.00.”

“I didn’t know about the $1.00 (I really need to be better about making her clean out her backpack when she gets home) but I was actually aware that she didn’t bring her lunch today. The note that was sent home about the field-trip said that lunch would be provided.”

“It’s provided but it’s not free.”

Am I stupid that I thought “Lunch will be provided” meant that it was free? It’s ok, you can tell me if I am. But If I had known that I would have had her make a lunch. (No, it’s not about the $1.20, it’s about the fact that I’ve never been that impressed with the nutritional content of the school’s lunches anyway- tater tots are not a vegetable)

“Ok, well since I misunderstood could you go ahead and give her lunch today but since I have you on the phone can I request that you not extend credit to her.”

“So if she doesn’t have money you just want her … to go … hungry?” Asked the lunch secretary clearly aghast at the very idea.


She’s a sturdy girl, one missed lunch isn’t going to hurt her and maybe we can undo a little of the damage you have done by giving my six-year-old a credit card. I guess we should have called the school to ask for this before. I’ll admit the idea did occasionally occur to me but I didn’t think there was any chance that they’d go for it. Now that I know they will, well let’s just say that the Pea will be eating the lunch I make him on his first day of first grade.

Run Faster Than a Locamotive, Jump Tall Buildings in a Single Bound

I had a roommate in college who always told the greatest stories. They were interesting and funny and always came to the perfect entertaining conclusion. It wasn’t until we had lived together for about six months that I realized why that was.

She was telling a story to some mutual friends when I realized that I had been there when that particular anecdote happened. And it hadn’t happened the way she was telling it. Not that it was completely wrong, she had just rearranged a few things, added and deleted some details, that kind of thing. I realized this about the time she was bringing her story to the perfect humorous conclusion and I turned to her and said, “that’s not how that happened.”

“I know,” she replied, without batting an eye, “but I like the story better this way.”

Bear that in mind when reading my posts, the way I write it may not be exactly the way it happened but I like the story better this way. Besides, I’m a novelist, not an essayist. What do you expect?

(There was some discussion on MMW about the following and kids here, I don’t think I chimed in then but I did know that Sean has some weirdness in this area. I just didn’t think it was quite this bad.)

I was going through the credit card statement yesterday, trying to figure out how on earth we could possibly owe as much as the number at the top says that we do, and I saw a few charges that I knew weren’t mine.

“$100 on Ebay?” I asked Sean.

“I bought some mumble mumble mumble,” he says. “But I’ve got some stuff I’m going to list.”

He’s always got some stuff he’s going to list. Sometimes he even lists it. Sometimes not. But I didn’t pursue it because another charge caught my eye.

“$72 to Nike.com?” I ask.

“Yeah,” Sean says, not elaborating.

“On what?” I ask.

“What? you want a bottle?” Sean’s attention is fixed on Irish1. He holds out his hand, Irish1 takes it and they exit the room.

About five minutes later when Irish1 is happily drinking his bottle. I ask again.

“$72 on Nike.com?”

“Here, let me load up the game for you.” He holds out his hand for the Princess and the Pea because obviously they can’t load a playstation 2 game on their own. And apparently doing so requires his whole concentration, because he still doesn’t answer me.

A few minutes later, the Princess and the Pea both happily occupied playing Sly 3, Irish1 happily drinking his bottle, I try again. “What did you buy on Nike.com for $72?”

“You remember,” he says “I bought those socks but they were the wrong ones so I sent them back and they sent me the right ones.”

I don’t remember, (who can keep track of his socks?) but this is one charge, not two and there’s no refund and recharge so apparently there was no difference in price on the “right” socks. Which means… he spent $72 on… SOCKS?!!!!! I’m grasping for something to say. Several very rude and sarcastic options come to mind. In the interest of my marriage I say nothing.

I can’t stop myself though, from mentioning it to my sisters on facebook. (We have a group there and we chat on a daily, if not hourly, basis.)

“How many socks?” They ask.

Well, that’s a good point maybe it was a lot of socks, I doubt it, but maybe it was.

So that night I ask him, “how many socks did you get for $72 on Nike.com?”

L-O-N-G pause. Sigh. “Eight,” he finally says.

8?? Eight!!!! There’s only one way 8 socks are worth $72.

“Do these socks give you superpowers?”


Ok, so that last part didn’t happen but the rest of it I promise, cross my heart and hope to die, is true. After he told me 8, OK it might have been 8 pair (which is still way too much to spend on socks) I actually didn’t say anything at all.

But I like the story better the other way.

Next Newer Entries