@$)^&@!&%$ Banks!

Please allow me to have a mini rant here. If you’re not in the mood for ranting, you can… go…. look at…. meditation stock photos.

Image from a Telegraph article appropriately titled “Bank Complaints: Don’t get mad, get even”

A couple of months ago, University Credit Union let me know it was going to start charging $2.99 a month for my formerly free checking account. I had been debating closing my account with them anyways because I don’t like ridiculous fees for what is most of the time just really stupid mistakes. In other words, I don’t think most people overdraft their accounts with a malicious intent. Most of the time it’s truly accidental. I mean ok I understand a $5 fee for being a dummy but $32? That’s absurd.  Anyway, I had made a couple of stupid mistakes already and I didn’t like being slapped with that huge insulting fee which doesn’t exist at ING Direct. Which by the way, if you’re interested in ING Direct, and you should be, email me and I ‘ll send you a referral so we both get extra money. Ok so back to the freaking point.

I decided to close the credit union account BUT not right away because it was linked to the child support payments and I kept receiving promises of payment during this time. So I kept it open, made up my mind to send in paperwork to change the account the child support deposited into, and forgot everything.

Fast forward to September. The account had dwindled down to about $14 since the only thing connected to it was the child support deposits and those weren’t happening. But, oh no, my kids’ school pictures were coming and the only account I have checks for is the credit union. So I got online, checked the balance to see how much I’d have to deposit to cover the three $15 checks, and set out the next day for the bank. On September 18th I deposited $45. I got a receipt that showed I had just under $60 and threw it away.

Today I logged on to see if the checks had cleared so I could follow up with child support and make sure they had transferred the deposit info and then I could close the credit union accounts– including the savings one as they had just emailed a few weeks ago they were going to start charging $5 a month for THOSE accounts.

I was overdrawn by $25.

What. The. Hell?

Photo check one? Clear.

Photo check two? Clear.

Photo check three? Bounced and initiated a $32 NSF fee.

But how? I hadn’t touched the account since I deposited! I took a look and lo and behold there was a credit card transaction that happened September 13th that overdrew my account by a little more than $5.

Ok now the transaction is sort of valid. It’s a bill I pay. I had changed the credit card the last time I paid but for some reason it charged this old card this time. I never deleted it from their file (LESSON!). And it went through even though it was for $19.99 and the account only had $14 in it. But the part that is driving me insane is that it wasn’t there when I went on the 18th to make the deposit to cover the photo checks. I even had more cash on me but only deposited what I needed because I wanted to close the account.

And here’s another thing I don’t understand. If they did allow it to go through when it was overdrawn as the ledger shows then why didn’t it get an overdraft fee attached to it?

I called. They can’t help me because it’s a branch issue.

I went to the branch. I stood in line for over 20 minutes because everyone was out to lunch except one teller. I tried talking to her. She waved me off saying not to worry everyone does that, no big deal. So when I said great you’ll fix it? Oh no I can’t do that. Make your deposit and go talk to Member Services. Another line. This one I didn’t make. I left. I was starving and preferred to sit here and rant while I stuffed my face with a sammich than to sit in line for who knows how long to maybe get $32 back.

It’s situations like these that make me very very very distrustful of banks. How the hell was that transaction not there five days after it supposedly went through? Especially since I got a receipt on the 13th for that payment (didn’t show the credit card number that was charged so I didn’t think twice about it). And why do they allow credit card transactions to overdraw accounts without penalty and with full payment but not checks? And why didn’t I get alerted that my bank had been overdrafted on the 13th?

Ok my sandwich is done which means the rant is over. Your turn to rant about financial institutions and/or our own stupidities relating to money management.

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Walled In, Walled Out

Closing In On Me by Heroethic on Flickr

 

Tired today. Of a lot of things for a lot of different reasons.

Physically? That’s easy. Daughter asked to sleep with me last night. This never happens so I allowed it. This never leads to a good night’s rest on my part and I knew that going in and it was no different last night.

I lay there for a while between Daughter and Boyfriend (seriously, I have the lamest nicknames) listening to their generally synchronized but still completely different breathing. Daughter’s was mixed in with a slight whistly wheeze and Boyfriend’s was rougher with an occasional snore. Daughter’s was shorter than Boyfriend’s but they pretty much started and ended at the same time which is impossible for me to understand right now much less explain.

There’s a lot of yawning going on here.

But I’m also tired in a different way.

Why are so many people angry today? Fearful? Depressed? Anxious? Hopeless? The election insanity is not helping, I know. The economic crisis. It just feels like everyone is on the brink– ready to explode. And instead of coming together, reaching out, embracing each other, linking arms, we’re taking sides. Division, division, division. What happened to all the shades of gray?

White people here, Black People there, everyone else over there somewhere. Men here, women there. You “others” just go and hide somewhere so we don’t have to acknowledge your existence and recreate our nice little division system.

Republicans here, Democrats there and the rest of you grow a damn spine and either take a side or shut your mouth because this has nothing to do with you. Conservatives here, Liberals WAY over there, Moderates please see above Republicans/Democrats memo re: “the rest of you”. And by the way, changing your mind is something that no longer exists. It’s called flip-flopping now and it will not be tolerated, respected, or accepted.

United States vs The World. Poor vs Rich. Corporations vs People. My Pockets vs Your Pockets. Progression vs Regression. Spend vs Save. Capitalism vs Socialism. Free Market vs Regulation. Healthy vs Sick. Big government vs Small government. Rent vs Buy. Illegals vs Citizens. Baby vs Fetus. Hetero vs Homo. Stay at Home Mom vs Work Outside Home Mom. Atheism vs Theism. State vs Church. Single Parent vs Married Parent. Slut vs Prude. 1% vs 99%. Planet vs Global Warming. Custodial Parent vs Non-Custodial Parent. Religion vs Science. English vs Math. Candidates vs PACs. Fact vs Opinion. South vs North. East vs West. Blue vs Red. Manning vs Tebow. Blog vs Trolls. Star Wars vs Star Trek. Facebook vs Google+. WordPress vs Blogger. Knit vs Crochet. My Way vs The Highway.

Why are we so eager for a fight? Why are we so ready to jump? Why are we convinced someone/something is surely out to get us?

It is so exhausting but as much as I want to just let it go, the fighting is all around me and I can’t always stop from being caught up because so many times it just goes too far. We can debate but stick to the facts, not your interpretation of them. Contrary to popular belief, reality does not have a liberal bias. We can debate, but refrain from insults. We can debate but please keep your ears open as much as you keep your mouth open.

Every day it gets louder and louder. Everyone is screaming to make this point and that point, to be seen and to be heard. Look at me! Listen to me! Pay attention to me!

When did we forget we’re not animals? Our gut instincts are about as right as often as they’re wrong folks. Why are we listening to them more and more instead of listening to each other? My gut might tell me punching your face would be the most effective way of getting you to shut up but my  mother taught me better than that. Who do I listen to? My gut tells me to blow my paycheck on whatever I want, when I want it but the people I respect tell me to at least save some of it and I’ll be better off in the long-run. Who do I listen to? My gut tells me I should work hard to get ahead and you should do the same for yourself but Mother Teresa taught me the value of working hard to get many of us ahead together. Who do I listen to?

Isolation everywhere. Bickering. Divisiveness. This whole feeling that if you see things one way, you must be crazy/uneducated/immoral/fanatical/classless/lazy/dirty/pathetic/foolish/not human.

We don’t want to accept each others differences, we just want to know what they are so we can somehow gain the upper hand.

Isn’t it interesting how the most hyped movie right now is this thing called The Hunger Games? And the central plot to this wildly popular movie based on a wildly popular book is a bunch of fights to the death? We are drawn to this concept like moths to the flame.

There can be only one.

It’s stifling. It’s confusing. We’re being forced more and more to take narrower and narrower sides.

Am I the only one feeling claustrophobic?

The Other Reason You Should Be Angry About Trayvon Martin’s Murder

I want to say I am really proud of the discussion raging across the United States right now regarding racism which has been brought on by the tragedy of Trayvon Martin.

However, I am frustrated this discussion is completely overshadowing what I see as the key to this tragedy– the fact that George Zimmerman was licensed to own a gun. Why, why, why is gun ownership still so easy to come by in this country?

We are so advanced. We spend ungodly amounts of money on defense on a national level and services like the police on local levels and yet we insist on being armed. Why? Do you honestly think your little gun is going to protect you against the top military in the world? Do you honestly think your little gun is going to do a better job of defending your family than the highly skilled local police force?

What is it going to take for this country to let it go? At the very least, can we please make it insanely difficult to get one? How is it that one must go through major steps to become a teacher, a police officer, a fire fighter, a doctor, a lawyer, a pilot, or whatever else requires licensing and yet a paranoid man with a history of violence (against police) can obtain license to own something that is specifically designed to end lives?

I am irate, like everyone else, about the police response and handling of the tragedy but the bottom line is it shouldn’t have happened in the first place and not because we’re in 2012 and still grappling with racism. Blacks shoot and kill blacks every day. Whites shoot and kill whites every day. Men shoot and kill women. Women shoot and kill men. Children shoot and kill children.

Why?

Because it is too damn easy to get your hands on a gun in this country.

Yes, talk about racism. Let’s grapple with that monster. But for the love of god, let’s not look past what actually ended Trayvon Martin– a loaded gun.

With all of the technology and all of the services we have in place, there is absolutely no need for gun ownership. Asking for a license to own a gun is simply the equivalent of requesting a license to kill.

Self-defense? There are other methods that do not take a life and they are getting more effective every day.

The number of people who save themselves because they owned a gun is negligible, especially when compared to the number of people who died because of a gun that is fired by rage, fear, shame, anxiety, intoxication, paranoia, or any emotion that pulls a trigger– none are positive.

Yes, I am angry that in 2012 there are still idiots who find other people suspicious because of the color of their skin. Yes, I am angry that in 2012 there are still people in charge who take sides because of the color of a perpetrator’s skin before considering the facts. But, I am angrier that in 2012 there are still people who can get guns– especially people with a history of violence and paranoia (over 40 calls to 911 reporting suspicious activity or people is paranoia).

We need to come to terms with race in this country but we also need to work towards tighter gun control laws so these types of tragedies don’t happen as we work towards a better tomorrow.

What will break us finally? Columbine didn’t do it. Virginia Tech didn’t do it. Trayvon Martin isn’t doing it. The countless stories of shooting murders and fatal shooting accidents that appear in your local newspaper don’t do it. What then? And why should we wait until that sort of tragedy to take place before we move to action? Hasn’t there been enough bloodshed already? Haven’t enough black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Native American boys and girls been buried already?

A Letter to Target

I just wrote this letter to Target regarding my VERY unpleasant experience with their Baby Registry. Thought you should know. Long story short, don't bother making a Registry at Target if you're aiming for convenience. Honestly, I think I'm turned off the idea of Registries completely now. Shame on these stores for boasting convenience and hassling their customers when the need is highest.

I am writing to Target today to express my complete disappointment with the store. I chose Target over other options for a Baby Registry for one reason: I am a regular Target shopper. I have a Target Red Card, I am in the store at least twice a month, and I talk about how great my Target experiences are all of the time.
Yesterday was my baby shower and the first problem was the insane amount of duplicated items I got. Clearly, Target does not ask at checkout whether or not an item is for a registry. Thankfully, most of the items I received have gift receipts with them. Unfortunately, one of the items I received duplicated, does not. It is a $100 car seat and not one of the gift givers included the receipt for me. I figured this would not be an issue because it shows as a purchased item on my Registry and surely, Target would help accomodate me by issuing store credit so that I could purchase other items that I did not receive that I need including a $270 pump. I was shocked to find out that no such acccomodation would me made at all. It does not matter that the car seat box is covered in Target shipping stickers, that it is marked as fulfilled on my Registry list, that I would like to exchange it for an item on my list. I have been simply told, by two representatives in two stores, that too bad I am stuck with it. Needless to say, I will not be making the additional purchases I need from Target but will make them from the various other stores that carry such items. Additionally, I will be warning fellow friends about the horrible experience with Target, and I will be closing my Red Card. If Target cannot accomodate its loyal customers, why bother? I drive out of the way to go to a Target store and now, that will most definitely stop.

 

Oh Brit

I just have to post about this really quickly because I actually saw an article on the debacle on CNN.

I actually watched the Video Music Awards Sunday night while it aired. I did not watch a mashup or highlights or anything. I saw Britney’s “performance” and I saw her costume and I saw her body.

First of all, her performance was atrocious. I think everyone and their mother is in agreement on that factor. It was embarrassing to watch. She stumbled around and mouthed along but there was absolutely NO motivation into what she was doing. It looked like she showed up to dress rehearsal drunk and on Xanax. It was BAD.

Additionally, her costume was atrocious and her stylist should be fired. The bikini she wore was gross and just not flattering. This, however, is not because she was fat because she is NOT fat. And that’s where I’m getting heated.

I can’t stand Britney Spears. I can’t stand Lindsay Lohan. I can’t stand Paris Hilton. They are all complete and total morons in my book. But of the three, Britney has the best body at this moment. Ok yes she is missing her waist which is a little odd (especially when you’re prancing in a bikini) but her body looked fab to me. She is looking curvy as hell and not in a fat sloppy way. Her butt looked good, her stomach looked good, her boobs looked good, her thighs, arms, etc. Like I said, the only thing missing was her waist and had she worn something ELSE (say a hot dress cinched with a corset belt) that just would not be an issue. Instead, her stylist threw her out to be raked on the coals. But fat? lardy? NO WAY. That shit has got to stop already. I am sick and tired of people screaming that so and so is HUGE. I remember when Cristina Aguilera came out with the whole Dirrrty Girl image and people were saying how fat she was and oh my god and all I could think was, “Jesus her body is AMAZING.” The sickly skinny thing is OVER. Enough is enough already. I’d much rather my daughter one day have the body of Britney Spears over the body of Amy Winehouse any damn day of the week. And, by the way, it PAINS me to say that because I adore Amy Winehouse as a singer. But seriously, the skinny thing is gross. It’s just not womanly. It’s not even healthy. It’s more along the lines of poverty and/or disease-stricken. It’s gross! Britney as a person may be a disaster, and as a performer she pretty much blew chunks but her body is fabulous and the media really needs to get that memo NOW.

Off the soapbox. I swear.

In Defense of Civil Unions

Apparently, my husband is right and we have not come along as far as I think we have in this country. It seems we are still incredibly retarded and backwards when it comes to respecting humanity for humanity's sake.

I hopped into J's car tonight to go to Cheesecake Factory to celebrate Fat Tuesday (I'm giving up frivolous complaining) and turned on the radio. He has Sirius on there so I skimmed around and found Hip Hop Nation and left it on the World Famous After Hours Spot. Between tunes, the dj's came on and began talking about how New Jersey legalized civil unions for gay couples. The female dj, Renada, said she was against such a thing because she felt they were forcing their lifestyle upon us and she didn't agree with their lifestyle. I rolled my eyes at another ignorant person in the world. Then they took calls and I got freaking angry. The first two calls they received were absolutely positively hate-filled calls complete with yells of "fucking faggots". Renada was very offended by these callers and said she wasn't promoting this type of hate. I finally called in and left a message on their comments line. I have no idea if it got aired. I just hope she heard it. She later defended herself by saying it is not discrimination because they are not denying rights to "them" because it's not as if "we're" saying "they" can't have insurance. Ok seriously, I got heated.

I am sick to death of the gay marriage debate especially because this, to me, should not be a debate. Gay couples should have the right to have civil unions regardless of what you or I or anyone else thinks of their moral standing or their lifestyle. Why? Where do I begin? How about I take the most common excuses I hear and break them down?

1) "I feel it is wrong and I don't want their lifestyle to be forced upon me and my family." Unfortunately the person who spews this nonsense is apparently quite ignorant of the fact that by making this their point, they are in fact forcing their lifestyle and opinions on others. I am not at all offended by gay couples so by voting against civil unions, I feel you are forcing your lifestyle on me. I feel people should be offered the same rights as anyone else with no restrictions. I don't believe in the God that says gay sex is wrong or unnatural. I don't interpret the Bible the way you do. So all of these arguments you're making? You're definitely trying to push your way on mine and apparently in this country that's ok because I am in the minority. And that should be incredibly disturbing to every single American who vaules their civil liberties.

2) "It's not discrimination because we aren't denying them any rights." Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! This is just pure and simple misinformation or maybe even denial. Under most laws in this country, if a gay man/woman is hospitalized and his/her family does not approve of his/her partnership with another man/woman, the family of this man/woman can deny his/her partner to be present in the hospital room. Some hospitals can even deny the other man/woman entrance because there is no legal tie. So if you've just been in a horrific car accident, the person you love and adore cannot be by your side because there is no legal connection between the two of you. Should one of you die, there is no legal protection regarding inheritances and the deceased's family can put up a very strong fight against the partner. Everything that was a symbol of their life together is gone. You have no legal right to the house you lived in, the car you drove, the money you helped save. Gone. Should one partner be working for a company and the other be working self-employed, the partner cannot get health insurance or other benefits for their partner whereas if he was a she or the other way around, no one would even blink. This is denying rights. This is making someone's life harder and more painful because of something as superficial as sexual orientation.

3) "Such few people in this country or even world are gay, it's senseless to offer so much protection." Ignorance really. Complete and total ignorance. I didn't even want to add this one but these three arguments always seem to come together. There aren't many Native Americans in this country but they have rights and they should have rights because they're freaking human beings! There probably aren't many people in this country from this country or that country but again, that shouldn't matter. These days I would like to think there aren't many White Supremacists left in this country but there are and guess what? They have rights. Even the worse, most vile people in this country have rights until of course they are caught and proven guilty of such vile acts and even THEN they still have a certain amount of rights alloted to them. And if they don't get caught they can continue being horrible vile people with the option to get married. Isn't that nice? There is no excuse for this one. Sorry, move on!

The thing that really turns my stomach is that I am a minority in this country. I'm a Hispanic woman. I am keenly aware, although I did not live through it, that there was a time in this country– NOT that long ago, where people had huge problems with a different kind of minority and that was whatever wasn't of the White race or even whatever wasn't male. Racism, and sexism, have all been defended in the past by the Bible so any Bible thumpers out there talking about how God says being gay is not natural, well according to other people there are LOTS of things God doesn't think is natural and that includes equal human rights regardless of race, sex, and/or religion. Be careful what you start saying people! Be careful what you start wishing for! You are saying that marriage should be defined by sexual preference. That is not a far leap from saying it should be defined by race, religion, even economic class! It really wasn't that long ago, and you can still find it today, where it was not "natural" or "right" for a black woman to marry a white man or a white woman to marry a black man or any other racial mix you can imagine. All of the lingo you are spewing against gays being married has been spewed every time there has been discrimination of any sort- be it sex, race, or religion. If you want equal human rights, you must demand equal human rights. You cannot pick and choose who is human enough for equal rights because who is to say someone else can't choose for you and suddenly, you aren't human enough? And it can happen to anyone so don't go thinking you're safe here or there or whatever. We really have to stop and listen to ourselves, to our words. When we start talking about "us" versus "them" we are, in one way or another discriminating. We need to stop right there and take a close look at where we're going with this.

I guess really then I am most disappointed in the minority communities of this country. For whatever reason, it was not ok to be denied rights because of the color of someone's skin or what type of worship they engage in or because they have a vagina versus a penis, but it's perfectly ok to deny rights because of who they fall in love with. We cannot start making exceptions to the rule because that cracks the door open. So even though you may not like it, even though you might think it's wrong, you have to defend their rights as much as you defend yours because I can guarantee you there are still many people in this country who look at me and my husband and think "That is not right, that is not natural, God does not want that." It's sad but it's true. Remember where you came from and remember the fight that was fought for you, and for me, and for millions of others. Continue to fight that fight through and through because you can never be too sure. Something tells me Dr. King is applauding New Jersey from heaven right now.

Warning: Ranting Ahead

What happened to respecting each other? You know I really hate the world we are living in and I’m going to limit that to life here in the United States because that’s the life I know. But I swear the more I look at things the more I see that most poor things can be blamed on a total lack of respect for one another. I am sick to death of the paparazzi and the pathetic obsession they have with celebrities. I think that comes out of a complete lack of respect for a person’s privacy. Seriously, back off! It’s sickening. They decide what a celebrity is and they just get out of line. My God to rant to a group of paparazzi and call someone a “firecrotch” is out of a lack of respect and to publish it and air it is even MORE lack of respect. Recently two more episodes have just frustrated me to no end. One Rush Limbaugh claiming that Michael J Fox overacted on a political ad to draw sympathy. VOMIT! Ok seriously? RESPECT each other. My god. So you don’t have the same political views as another person ok fine pick them apart on issues but to stoop down to accuse someone of exploiting their illness? How souless are you? It’s just a lack of respect for each other as human beings. And it’s so disgusting these days especially with Election Day around the corner and you just KNOW it’s going to get worse. And then South Park. I loved South Park when it debuted oh so many years ago. But South Park to me has mutated into the most tasteless pathetic desperate show on television. I feel like their “fresh ideas” are nothing but slips of paper that answer the question, “You know what would piss people off?” and seriously there’s nothing creative about that. There’s nothing innovative. And you hear them talk and they talk as if they are doing this giant service to humanity with their show. Get over yourselves! The show is crap. And their latest episode featured Steve Irwin with blood on his chest and a stingray dangling from it. There is nothing funny about that. Nothing. There is tasteless humor and there is garbage and that is just garbage. That man has a wife and children and died in a very unexpected manner. And yet you exploit him for ratings. You’re disgusting and tired. I’m just over it. I just wish people would have some damn manners again and start respecting one another. Mostly respect that we are all entirely different from one another and move on.

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog…