Isn’t it funny how nature reflects God, life reflects art, and animals reflect people? I tend to pay a lot of attention to animals. My mother does too, especially now that she’s retired. She tells me regularly about the ducks, iguanas, waterfowl, birds and squirrels that come to her back patio to be fed on a daily basis.
It seems in all the communities of this earth, there are hierarchies, and oddly enough, if you pay attention, you can see that even in the animal kingdom, some of these hierarchies and the relative behaviors that accompany them is very much like how people act, usually when they aren’t being thoughtful and considerate of others.
Lately, I’ve been noticing birds. I was near a traffic light, and I noticed these birds to my left flying from tree to tree in a certain area. It looked at first, like one bird was the lead bird…a large black bird; and that a group of 8 to a dozen smaller brown birds were following his lead from tree to tree. But as I watched, it became increasingly obvious that this black bird was being bum-rushed by the brown birds.
It was very similar to what it might look like if a bunch of puny nerds at any given middle school, finally recognized their strength in numbers and brain power, and got together and attacked the larger school bully.
This black bird was trying to fly quickly to a different tree – away from these brown birds; and the brown birds would swoop down after him in something resembling a Blue Angels, diamond like formation on either side of this bird and swoop where he swooped. They weren’t attacking the bird, but it looked a lot like harassment. This poor black bird couldn’t seem to break free of them. He was just caught up in what seemed a stressful situation.
The light changed and I had to move on…but this reminded me of another bird-related situation I saw at work. I had put some old muffins, in the grassy area in front of my office window across the drive in our parking lot. Right at the base of the curbs on both sides of this grassy area, the curb drops down in the center and ends in front of a small drain. I usually put nuts for the squirrels there, but the blue jays have gotten wind of the nuts, as well as a few black birds, and they have started to pick them off before my little squirrel friend can get there.
I also put some dry cat food and some of those chips you get at the Chinese restaurants, there for the birds…and the squirrel if he showed up. It seems that these birds recognize me…particularly the blue jays, as I often put food out for them. I no sooner got back into my office, when the 2 black birds and 2 blue jays were down in the grassy area picking at the muffins. Soon a fleet of brown birds showed up, and everyone was picking at the muffins, snatching the chips or the dry cat food, and flying off for a minute to enjoy their personal snack. This had been going on for several hours…taking up most of the morning.
However, a short time later, I noticed another black bird who had just arrived. By this time, most of the muffins were gone, and everyone was concentrating on the chips and cat food. This particular black bird got down in that little “V” where the food was; and had the nerve, after just arriving for the first time; to act all possessive as if he had made the great discovery of the food, and it was all his. He proceeded to chase off any of the brown birds who continued to return to get more of the cat food, so they began to hustle him. As he jumped after one, another jumped into the “V” and grabbed some food. He couldn’t turn and get after the food thief fast enough, then another would jump in and snatch some food.
I found this rather amusing, because this black bird so reminded me of people…how selfish they are…greedy, and stupid. The more he attempted to hoard the food, the more food he lost as the brown birds tag-teamed him. And I didn’t actually see him have time to eat any of it, because he was too busy being selfish and trying to keep the other birds away from it. So this crow had to eat crow, because he was unwilling to share as all the other birds had previously been doing.
Now, I tend to think that crows are among the smartest of the birds. I’ve seen these black birds find creative ways to get food; like the crow I saw at my college, that alighted onto a partly open trash container to grab a sealed ketchup packet. He then got down on the sidewalk, put his foot on the packet to hold it in place; and proceeded to peck at the packaging until he popped a hole into it. He then stuck his beak repeatedly into the hole to suck out the ketchup.
So they are smart, but it seems to me that they’re smartness and innovation has caused them to become blinded by pride and self-importance; and I could easily compare their interactions with other birds to this country’s interactions with other countries.
It seems like the black birds have a somewhat arrogant air about them (“We’re Amuricans!” GW); and perhaps lack effective communication skills in the world of the birds. I mean, if you do any research on crows, you will see that most of the information states that crows basically have a bad rep. I mean, they are like the lower level bad boys in the world of feathers; with vultures being above them in rank.
And then, just look at the stress dynamic of the situations. In two of the scenarios, the black birds were being pressured. In the first situation, I have no idea what that black bird did to get all those brown birds chasing him down like that; but apparently, the brown birds were completely in control and enjoying the game they played with the black bird. The second situation was more about the black bird frustrating himself out by being unrealistic, greedy, and selfish. I mean, there was no way he could have guarded that food from the rest of them, especially those who were regulars there in the first place. I see people act this foolishly on the regular; and they have no idea what they are doing to their spirits, minds and body through thoughtless, self-flagellating actions like that.
I don’t think my imagination is on overdrive when I say this, but just like Revenge of the Nerds, it seems that the smaller brown birds have gotten more confident, and are rising from obscurity and asserting themselves to claim what’s theirs. The funniest thing was that one of the blue jays came back, and hopped about the grassy area looking for more. After checking the “V,” he actually hopped across the drive, and came right up to my window and looked at me, as if he was asking me, “Is that it? You got any more?” When I didn’t get up to bring out more, he flew away.
Animals are so much more intelligent than people give them credit for, and it always amazes me how much of God’s nature is found in nature, as well as how much animals seem to mimic people. There’s so much to learn observing animals and plants.
Considering the last tongue lashing I had given the lender via my letter, one would be inclined to think that they would have scrambled to ensure that they corrected all the mistakes and subsequent overcharges due to their “error.” Granted, I only had to wait 4 days for a response this time. No doubt, the threat of outside contacts had stirred their response, but was it enough? Would they correct the entire account situation or just kick out another series of incorrect billing statements?
After explaining all the additional actions they had taken, they stated, “In reviewing your account, it is apparent that our representatives mishandled your initial concerns.” You think? And I knew they had too many hands in the pot! They went on to elaborate on their training of their “team members” and how critical it is to their bottom line of providing “the level” of service they strive to achieve. Blah, blah, blah.
The kicker was the explanation about their two operating systems, which they claim are to originate loans, and handle loan servicing respectively. They claimed that their normal process is that a systematic transfer of the address from their origination system is made to the loan servicing system any time they made a new disbursement. They utilize the hard copy Promissory Note originally filed, and apparently, do not update their systems per additional subsequent electronic filings for loans. As they went on to state, they discovered that their loan servicing system was more current in its address information than the originating system, which held the original Promissory Note information.
This more current information in the loan servicing system makes sense, because this was indicated as the system that services new additional loans. One would naturally presume that if this system receives more current information as students apply for more disbursements, then this system should be the first one examined for updated contact information. They stated that they do not receive a new hard copy of the Promissory Note on any new disbursement agreements that are done electronically, and that many times, the information that they are receiving from the schools contain outdateddemographic information. Of course, they recognized that this was not the case in my situation.
But, how much sense does that make? They told me that they are utilizing both electronic notes and the original hard copy paper Promissory Note; and that subsequent to the original hard copy, any additional loans are done electronically. Yet somehow, they neglected to update their files with the new incoming contact information on the newer loan requests simply because they are done electronically? This, in the “electronic” age? Are they serious?
Then they stated that as a result of this opposite situation in my case; this “systematic file transfer process” was canceled. How much sense does this make? Then they say that because of this, when the loans “transferred” the new address did not transfer with them. Did it sound like it would transfer in the regular procedure? My situation was allegedly the opposite of what “normally” happens, but I can’t see the “normal” setup working either. The bottom line is that the current contact information is not transferred under either of these scenarios.
After this asinine explanation of how their systems misfire and basically don’t work properly in conjunction with one another; they proceeded to tell me that this resulted in mail that was being generated from the servicing system being returned to their office. The next two statements put it all into perspective for me.
“Once your loan became “past due,” we were required to perform due diligence in order to try to obtain an updated address for you. We recognize now that we overlooked our origination system in trying to locate you.”
This was a joke. I thought I was being “punked.” They stated that despite all the returned mail that was sent out from the “servicing system,” they “waited” until the loan went into “past due status” before they did the “required due diligence” in an attempt to obtain an updated address on the borrower. Ain’t that somethin’! Additionally, they stated that they recognized that they “overlooked” their origination system in trying to locate me. They still hadn’t got it. The problem was not in their bypassing the
rong>origination system to find me.
They already stated that they actually do refer to that system primarily because they claimed that newer information delivered electronically in subsequent loan requests from the schools, contained outdated demographic information. Clearly they had already stated that the address information in the origination systems are outdated, because that system only holds the information from the original Promissory Note, and does not contain any information in the newer electronically filed Promissory Notes. Those electronic Promissory Notes are recorded in the servicing system, which they made clear is disregarded for updated demographic information, despite the information in that system being more current. So basically, everything is outdated, yet just as clearly, they said that they refer to that outdated information.
Then they said, “We understand the confusion this information may have caused you.”
Really? How could they understand my confusion, when apparently, they couldn’t understand their own?
“We hope this additional information and the additional steps we have taken have helped to alleviate your concerns.”
Not really. If anything, I was having more “concerns.” They went on to state:
“Please be assured that your situation is “unique.” Generally, what would have occurred was a demographic update from you that would have updated our servicing system. Because the update came from your school, in the form of the electronic file to our origination system, it required a manual review. Because this is an uncommon scenario, “we are confident our existing process sufficiently covers the majority of our customers.”
Seriously? They are “confident” of this? Wow. So it was only because the update came from my school; the institution that the loan requests are made through, that this whole mess occurred? I would think that any update from any school would require a manual review to ensure that the correct, updated information was recorded into the correct system to avoid calamities such as this one.
Was it over? Not by a long shot. Within the next month, I received 3 more statements, all with different amounts due. The first was lower, but subsequent statements were higher, and in one they attempted to charge a late fee because it takes them 10 days to process my payment upon receipt. You know I was not going to let that stand. Again I let my fingers fly free as I let loose on them in yet another letter detailing my frustration. I told them that the appearance of correcting the problem while conducting back-door manipulations to charge me more were unacceptable.
I requested that one person be assigned to my account, and that they supply me with that person’s name, and a direct contact line so that I don’t have to continually see these issues cropping up. This accommodation was never addressed. They insisted that I needed to understand their problems in properly training their personnel. However, I informed them that this was not my problem because, were the situation reversed, and I didn’t get a payment to them on time; they would not be willing to accept any excuses or reasons why from me. They’d simply penalize me in fees and interest, saying in essence, “It’s not my problem.” The last few comments, I think, was what motivated the final complete correction of the overcharges on my account. After telling them they were incompetent and inept, I went for the jugular.
“From this point on, I will be contacting various entities within the federal government, and filing my complaints with them. I will be giving them the entire history of your mishandling of my account, which I still believe is with intent; as well as letting them know that I don’t feel that your organization should be entitled to get government contracts for financing student loans, because it is more than obvious that you cannot handle the responsibility within the scope of lawful business practices nor any integrity.
I can only imagine the millions of people you have ripped off…overcharging them due to this level of incompetence. This is just not acceptable on any level, and I will make sure that this is made public, much in the same way you would publicly report any negative info on my credit record.”
The last thing I stated in that letter, was a request for an amortization schedule on my account from the date of the first payment, until the loan was due to be paid in full. I wanted to make sure they were charging me the correct interest. Bear in mind that from the time of my first correspondence with them, three months had passed of this foolishness. Their next letter was to inform me that they had reapplied a payment and waived the late fees to make all loans due the following month.
Additionally, they included in this letter, an “Automatic Payment Plan Authorization Form.” Were they for real? After they bungled up my account like this, they actually thought that I’d allow them to put their hands into my bank account and automatically withdraw whatever they chose? Clearly, the lights were on but no one is home in that institution. What gall. They did send the amortization schedule, but the very next month, another two statements arrived and one came with a higher payment requirement. The letter that went out was three sentences.
“I am not sending any additional funds other than the current payment amount. Correct your own error, but it better not get charged to me in any way. Don’t say you weren’t forewarned.”
That, and the printout of my account history that they subsequently sent me, ended the entire drama. So, if you are a student, or know of one, have them read this article. You do have options. My situation could not possibly be an isolated one, but appears to be one that happens frequently due to the system processes that they so inadequately explained to justify their mess. The difference is that most people probably don’t catch it, or if they do, they don’t attack it with the voracity that I did. However, I’m of the belief that if more people were informed that financial institutions were operating like this; perhaps it would be stopped, or at the least, better regulated to ensure that millions are not being financially raped in this manner for years by these lenders. Be mindful.
When dealing with the realm of pain problems, a major player is the mind, and the enemies, real or perceived that the mind has to deal with. Such experiences create a lot of stress which then plays out in one’s body in the form of pain due to anger or frustration. Having to deal with duplicitous systems, worlds within worlds, can become quite a turbulent battle ground; like the battle I had as a result of willful errors and overcharges made by a student loan lender for repayment.
Several years ago, educational initiatives were created that would not only increase educational opportunities, but also to enable more people to get student loans to get that education. These initiatives were intended to help us to compete in the worldwide arena in a technologically changing world. However, the government failed while creating these initiatives, to create better regulation and oversight, and to put in place protection for consumers from the deceptive practices of lenders.
During that time, I took out three individual student loans so that I could complete my education. These were done by means of Stafford loans, which had a limit of $3500.00 per loan at that time. Students put in their applications and upon approval, the funds are then sent to the school of their choice to pay for classes, and optionally, books. I chose to seek out alternate sources online and buy used books, so that saved much of the funds remaining. These were then paid out to me, which I used for living expenses.
This process was not difficult nor complex. The schools assisted greatly with the entire process, and made it relatively easy for the student to obtain the loans. However, no one really prepared students for what happens later, after the student has completed their education.
For me, the problems started with no notification from the lender, Wells Fargo; who was supposed to start the billing process within 6 months of my completion. At the time, I suspected that payments should have started and wondered why I had not been contacted. Since they failed to contact me, I began trying to find them, but I kept having difficulty in locating the correct company and subdivision.
I had all my loan papers, but could not find the one that named the lender. By the time I finally found them, I had another problem in gaining access to my account. I had to attempt this access based on total recall. I had been so focused on school and my classes that I did not make sure I kept track of the access information. So the first point I want to make to potential or current students is, keep all this information and documentation in one, easy to locate place, so that later when needed it is immediately accessible.
When I finally gained access to my account and checked the messages, I found none. No notices of the start of repayment. So then I decided to check my listed account information, because it just didn’t make sense to me that my repayments were not to start. It was already 3 months beyond the time I suspected the payments should have started, but because of changes in my completion date based on additional classes, I just wasn’t 100% sure when it was to start.
I had already checked the site several times in the previous 3 months and there was no change; no messages or contact online telling me anything in this regard. Either way, a check of the personal account info was in order, just to ensure that everything was correct and they were able to contact me.
Sure enough, upon checking I discovered that changes had been made to my contact information that I had not made nor authorized. They had me listed in some city in the northern part of my state that I had never even heard of, and the phone information was a bunch of x’s, 1’s and 0’s. I immediately corrected all of the information, wondering how it had been changed; because I had not moved from the original address I had when I applied for all 3 loans.
Shortly after this change was made, I was bombarded with bills from Wells Fargo on all 3 loans individually as well as collectively, claiming that I owed them late fees and penalties exceeding $600.00. This amount did not include the monthly payments. This was above and beyond it, and these additional charges would steadily increase until all had been paid; which at that rate, was looking like never. I immediately contacted them online to inform them of the error in their system, which had nothing to do with me, and was beyond my control.
Meanwhile, I had also been bombarded with emails and snail mail from consolidation companies who wanted me to get a loan consolidation with them for my student loans. I chose not to take this option, because then it would mean that it would take a longer period of time for my credit to reflect that I had paid off any of the loans. Since I was trying to reestablish my credit, I felt that I could pay off one of the loans faster with additional payments.
Therefore, I wanted all three loans to stay separate, because my plan was to pay the monthly amount while making additional payments on the principle of one account, and therefore, have a reflection of a paid off loan on my credit. This would increase my credit rating, even if the other loans weren’t paid off yet, and then enable me to apply the principle payments from the first paid off loan to the second, and so forth until it was all paid off.
So that was my plan, but all of a sudden, I was facing months of late fees and penalties. Wells Fargo was kicking out notices several times a month with different balance amounts and different interest, penalties and minimum payment amounts. It got to the point where I could not assess what was the actual amount owed and how much were the fees and penalties.
In addition to this, I didn’t believe that I owed these fees and penalties, because I had not made any changes to my contact information preventing them from contacting me. It was my opinion and belief that this was an error in their systems, but how could I prove it? Well, they say you can’t fight city hall, but my name alone challenges that notion. My name means helper and defender, and this is part of my calling in life. I have no problem with challenging authorities. And so…the fight began.
The resistance movement on this financial assault started with messages I sent online to the lender, Wells Fargo. In these messages, I attempted to explain the error that they had made, but these messages were intercepted by the regular reps, who simply kick out mindless responses much like a computer does, without any specific personal references or consideration.
They messaged me back claiming that my message was incomplete and suggesting that I fax it or call. I knew that calling was pointless for the same automated reasons stated above. I may be speaking with a person, but only a rep, who would not take the time, nor have the interest to really investigate my charges of lender error.
Certainly, they aren’t paid enough to investigate at the level required. So calling was out. Plus, I wanted to ensure that I had a paper trail of my charges against the lender, in the event that the lender decided to play hard ball, and insist that no error had been made; penalizing me relentlessly.
In faxing my charges, I made sure that I faxed it from a machine that could print a receipt which indicated their receipt of the information. In the charge, I informed the lender that there had apparently been a change or adjustment made to my account contact information, which I neither initiated nor authorized; and that this change replaced correct information with incorrect information.
I explained my efforts to contact them, and that upon discovering this incorrect information on their site; I immediately corrected it, giving them the exact same address and phone number that they previously had from the inception of the loans because I had never moved.
I further explained the fact that this correction after the fact then caused an onslaught of payment reminders which apparently were three months past due. As a result of this past due status that was due to their system error, I was sent another onslaught of payment demands, which included increasing late fees and penalties with each new demand per past due month.
I advised them that since the error was due to an unauthorized change in their system, that the responsibility for this was on them, and therefore, I would not be sending any payment with late fees or penalties included. It was up to them to correct their error.
What was their response to my counter attack at level 1?
“According to the Promissory Note that you had signed, it is your responsibility for notifying our office of any address or phone number changes as well as any changes to your account status.”
Then they included a copy “for my review.” How thoughtful.
To say I was mad does not begin to describe the frustration. Clearly, I had explained the problem to the lender, yet clearly they had chosen to ignore my complaint, and hadn’t even investigated to see if there was any merit to my claim.
So I went right to the contract copy they had sent me to launch my counter attack, utilizing it to emphasis the fact that I was indeed responsible to notify them of changes in my contact information. This, I stated, was the exact point of the matter.
Until the date of the correction, I had made no changes because there were no changes to make. The last information they had received from me concerning my contact information, was on the third and final loan. No changes had been made since that time.
I was so happy that I had had the fore thought to copy and paste a copy of the error they had initiated in my contact information that I saw online. So I had a full copy of that information on the error; exactly what the unauthorized changes they made were, and I made sure to include it in the letter. I also copied the exact changes I had made when I corrected their error.
This leads me to my second point of advice. When dealing with a financial institution of any sort, do your utmost to have and maintain copies of any changes made to your account, whether authorized by you or not. Proper documentation is the key to winning, because it enables you to present proof of your charges.
At this point in my assault against their error, I put forth a challenge.
“You sent me the copy of the 1st loan paperwork I signed. The address on that form was the only other address I ever submitted to you aside from my current address, so again…if you wish to claim I am responsible for the error in your system, show me evidence that I gave you the erroneous address information you had in your system, and I will accept responsibility.
As I said before, I intend to pay this loan in full, but I don’t appreciate being accused or held accountable for something that I had no involvement in. If your system is faulty, you need to correct the system instead of holding your customers hostage with it.”
Within two weeks I had two responses one day apart.
“Upon further review of your account and due to a system error, your address was inadvertently changed after your loans were disbursed on________. After your loans were disbursed, our office started to receive return mail and your account was flagged as having an incorrect address. In efforts to locate your address, our office updated your account several times; thus, explaining the erroneous or incorrect address information you never authorized.”
Naturally, it was followed by apologies, and a claim that they would waive one late fee they charged me for about $30.00. The second letter claimed that they had reviewed the information they had supplied to the credit reporting agencies which stated my account had been late for the previous three months, and that they had contacted them to remove this information and update my credit history to reflect the correct status as current and paid as agreed.
They claimed that this was situation was “unique” and “not reflective of the high standards that we strive to achieve.” Yet my billing statements were still reflecting an increase in the monthly amount I was supposed to pay, and included interest charges and penalties for the previous five months, which were all related to their “error.”
It seemed more than apparent that none of this was going to be addressed or changed. So once again, I wrote another letter, this time with a bit more fire. I stated that I didn’t think this was the first time a situation like this had occurred, and that from their handling of it, I didn’t see it as being the last. I wondered how many students had been ripped off by these so-called “errors” in their system, and how much they had been forced to pay in undue late fees and overcharged interest.
I insisted that they reset the date that the payments were to occur to correct this situation, as they had failed, in their alleged attempts to update my account, to even verify my address information with the school the payments had been disbursed through.
Since organizations like this have a slew of reps that randomly handle these accounts, I indicated that it was apparent that too many hands were in the pot, and that they needed to assign one person to handle this account to full correction and crediting of all fees, penalties and interest that were already charged to me out of my payments to date.
Lastly, I informed them that I was losing patience with their organization. I indicated that my senator and congressman were just a click away online, and that the Better Business Bureau and Dept. of Education might have a real interest in this “unique” situation. I stated that I would not hesitate to inform them of it if this was not quickly resolved to my satisfaction. Then, I waited.
I’m currently aspiring to expand my mind. It’s a new phase that has me doing a lot of reading lately. And actually, I’m happy about that. I missed reading. This change has caused me to make time for that again, because I want to feed my mind to change my mindset.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
I am understanding this scripture more and more these days. Being caught up in the culture and the distractions is a state of conformity that I’m not interested in. So I’m trying to wean myself away from certain things, particularly certain media things that are not part of what I need to put my message out there.
Renewing your mind is a great process, and there’s so much to learn. There are so many areas to grow oneself. My only issue with all of this, is that I think I used to be tougher. What I mean is…I used to be able to contain myself, and hide my emotions to some degree. They were on lockdown. I had a lot of self-control, wherein very little phased me.
Considering my testimonies, my family and friends were always surprised by my lack of worry or failure to freak out during some of the situations that they thought were very difficult to handle; the ones they were certain they could never have handled.
Now, it irks me to no end that despite the character building that I’m experiencing, which I like; I’m becoming an emotional mess! Now, all sorts of things make me cry. I am not opposed to crying when needed, but I’m bugged and frustrated that now. I feel like one of those weepy, over-emotional people who cry on the drop of a dime. I never liked that, so the fact that I can’t seem to contain my emotions really annoys me to no end.
I know that it is the layers that the books I’m reading and the info I’m getting are peeling back. I’m not as closed off as I used to be. I’m becoming a little more vulnerable again, and compassionate, and although my spirit is growing, my flesh most certainly is not liking it.
My ability to be consistent has always been a battle, but now, it seems that I have become consistently weepy. I have been progressing slowly, and that has been a frustration as well, because I look at the progress of others around me, and stupidly, compare myself to them. My problem has been (past tense) my patterns. I’m one of those people, who can get focused for a period of time, and then…life just interferes, and I completely get off track. I guess many people are like that. When there is too much to focus on, it can be that way.
What I’m learning now, is that I don’t have to be perfect. I used to think as if my imperfections were reasons not to do something; that it wouldn’t be accepted and acceptable because I wasn’t. I just wasn’t perfect enough. I never realized that I had this perfectionism bug, but I now think there are levels to this.
It’s not that I needed to be perfect in everything. I’m not that sort of perfectionist. My fear had more to do with public things, like what I do online. Like my writing. Like the fact that I have wanted to go viral for 2 years now, but felt intimidated because I was conforming to the media’s projected standard of what’s cool or perfect. Like the fact that so many people seemed to understand the flow of how to do this blogging thing, and I still feel like I’m in the slow lane on it.
I confessed this fear of mine to my mentors, and they flipped the script on me by saying, “There are people out there that are waiting for you…for the unique information you have to share. They’ve been searching for it, and you need to get it out there, because there are people who need it.”
I remember reading a book a while back called, “I became a Christian and all I got was this lousy Tee-shirt.” It was an amusing book, and the pastor that wrote it has a sort of wacked sense of humor, but he does make his points.
As much as I can remember he was talking about walking with speed, versus walking with love. I guess it’s our goal-making mentality that causes us to place time restraints on everything. His example was when his sister’s baby had died, and he took the opportunity to minister to his mother and brother-in-law. He had an entire speech ready when he went into the hospital to be there for his sister, who had asked him to try to speak to them. None of it mattered. They were unmoved.
His wife went and was just there, and even after he left and flew back home, she stayed an extra week, just being there for them. His point was that his method was walking with speed, and hers was walking with love, because she demonstrated her faith by her actions, not by words. He figured that long term, she would have a greater effect than he did.
What was my point? I said this to point out the fact that those of us who aspire to something, like the fantastic organizational skills we see in others; are, in our backwardness, seeking to become goal-setting, everything-in-its-proper-place, perfect people, when in reality, God calls us to live life moment by moment, and not to sweat the small stuff. He calls us to walk in love, not speed.
I’ve seen a lot of nice pics showing a beautiful apartments and homes even from people I know. I, in my muddle of misery at my lack of organization, have looked at these pics and thought, “Why can’t I have a beautiful, spotless place like that?” Actually, some of those images are so spotless, they don’t look lived in, which is sort of the point. They are models for magazines. I’d rather have my home look lived in, than like a museum.
But I’ve seen the people, or moms that seem like they are just amazing with organizing. For instance, there are these moms out there that have 7 or more children, and they have their homes completely organized, clean…they have a system for those kids and the family. These are the women who have quintuplets all natural, no C-section, and no pain killers. Those are the ones that I look at and say, “Wow. Your more woman than me, cause I could never do this.”
Now admittedly, part of the problem, aside from too many things on the platter, is some degree of laziness, but that’s not the total issue. The real thing is, my focus is different, and because super moms are promoted in the media. Women that love being the housewife, or the super hostess always seem to be the ideal. I just don’t fit that ideal.
This is why I’ve determined that I actually need to be wealthy; because I have always known that there were so many more interesting things to be doing than to be bothered with something like housework, and I’d rather pay for catering. I do like things neat and organized, but I see no need for me to have to be the one to do all of that all of the time. I’m not the queen of domesticity.
So I’ve decided to not only stop focusing on what is not my forte, but to stop beating myself up in my self-talk about it. I’d rather focus on my strengths, instead of my weaknesses.
It’s like I always tell my son. We are all plants. When I try to get him to understand about his food choices, I tell him this. But I’ve also used this analogy in another context. Yes, we are all plants. We are beings of energy; the same energy that exists on this earth in everything around us. The same energy that plants reach skyward to absorb from the light of the sun.
And like plants, there are millions of species, each having a specific function and purpose. And all of them are able to grow and live and thrive on this same earth. Some have to be planted in certain areas, in certain types of soil, and in certain atmospheres, because they grow best in those areas.
This is like all of us. There are some plants that have a specific purpose for creating or demonstrating beauty. Then, there are some that function to control the bug population, by being natural predators for them. There are some that function to give covering, shade for us. Some function to give certain natural chemicals that can heal us. Some function to give food for us. There are many varieties, functions, and purposes, yet all are useful when they stay within their purpose, and function as designed.
So basically, I just need to renew my mind on this, and develop some self-talk that is uplifting me in my purpose and for my function, because I don’t have to be like anyone else. In fact, I like being unique and different. And it is time for me to move past this struggle, so forward I go…
Phl 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
A couple of years ago, when I was taking my son for a play date at his friend’s house, my car’s front end started shaking and rattling real hard. I pulled over, thinking I had a flat, but the tires looked fine. So I slowly drove the rest of the way to my son’s friend’s, because once I hit 35mph, the shaking started again.
At the time, I was thinking, “Aw, c’mon Lord! I just spent $256.00 barely a week ago on this car, and it hit my budget hard. I was already pressed for that month, and definitely did not need another repair bill. I got to the mechanic a bit later, and ran into three (note the number-which I didn’t even realize until writing this) gentlemen sitting in the mechanic’s office.
They asked me if I’m a sister in the Lord, which I affirmed. The one said, “See, I told you she was. You can tell looking at her.” Well, I must admit that I liked the fact that it was finally that obvious. Now, of course, I was thinking that if it is that obvious, what do I look like when I’m mad or impatient? How’s the reflection then? Good question. I still don’t know the answer on that one.
Anyways, so I started talking with these guys and telling them about my books. In the course of the conversation, I let them know about the one that I was trying to publish, and the delays that kept occurring, “But,” I said, “I know that God has a reason and a purpose for all of these delays, so it’s cool.”
Then I told them about the current book that I’m halfway through writing, “In His Image.” I told them that in the last section I was working on, I was talking about Lucifer, and how he came to be. I described the difference in his origins versus mankind’s origins, and they asked me, what about the angels?
I told them that I hadn’t gotten to them yet, and they said that this information interested them because why did 1/3 of them fall away with Satan? After the mechanic returned, they got up to leave, and shook my hands saying they were glad to have met me. One fellow intended to contact a pastor that we both knew (I knew this pastor only as a homeschool evaluator), and let him know about my books; so that he could forward the name of a publisher to me that worked a good deal for him.
When they were gone, I was sitting in the mechanic’s office, and he had this big large print bible on the desk. Despite having brought my own reading material…some business info I needed to study, I kept thinking about what those guys asked me about the angels.
So I decided to peruse this bible, particularly the back to see if there was any concordance or subject information on angels. Sure enough, this bible had a whole section that listed quite a bit of information on angels. I immediately photocopied those pages to take home and review.
While sitting there, I say to God, “Lord, seriously, you need to address this bill for me, because things are too tight right now for me to be hit with another car repair bill like the last one.” Meanwhile, I say this, hoping that God will convince my mechanic to give me a freebie this time. The mechanic has done this sort of thing in the past, whenever God chose to grant me His unmerited favor.
The mechanic comes in and tells me that the problem was the ball bearings and the holder for them, which was damaged when the ball bearings locked. He handed me the bill. “Ouch!” I say, “Can I stop by tomorrow with a check?” So he ok’d that, and I left.
Later that night, I was at home looking at my banking in my computer program and trying to figure out how I might rob Peter to pay Paul. I finagled the numbers between several accounts and figured how I was going to move money into the main account to cover this…by hitting 4 other accounts for the funds. Heartbreaking.
Then I moved on to look at those sheets I copied on angels. I began to look up certain aspects of the information, and started finding some interesting facts that are extremely relevant to my book. This started the flow in me, and I ended up writing 3 more chapters to add in this new information.
When I was finally done with this exercise, it was late and I was exhausted, but I was still clear headed enough to realize something and I said to God, “That information cost me $213.00!” I’ve noticed that there are times when something that appears to be a problem, may inadvertently assist you to getting either a blessing or a victory in another area. We sometimes stress ourselves out over it, because we are looking at it through the eyes of the wrong perspective.
This was a pretty expensive lesson, but well worth it because it provided information I needed for the book. Apparently, I had a predestined appointment at the mechanic’s just to meet those 3 men, receive their questions, and get the information that pointed me to the answers for that section of the book. All part of the process. Peace and blessings.
What is the point of telling someone, “I know I’m a mess,” if you have absolutely no intention to change? Is it simply an excuse to justify the pain or problems in your life currently, or is it to rationalize the fact that you refuse to change?
I meet very few people that are totally beyond all help. I meet plenty who think they are, but it’s just another of many excuses for laziness and a spirit of defeat. They’ve chosen to give up; chosen to do nothing about their situation or pain. Most often what I find to be prevalent is that they have chosen to remain uneducated and stupid. Why do I say this? I see it every day.
At this point in time, I utilize public transportation; not because it was a choice originally, but I choose to continue using it as an economic choice currently. Every day while riding, I see a combination of the semi useful people, and the totally useless people. Note that I didn’t say productive. That’s because most of them aren’t. Now, this may sound judgmental…and that would be because it is.
For example, there’s a particular fat woman I used to see every day when I was going to work. She is immense. I want you to know that I myself am not a skinny girl, but I am not immense like this woman either.
She wears tent dresses (I don’t even think she can find pants to fit her); and the mindless, bland, indifferent look of someone who has completely given up, and has managed to find comfort in the idea of eating herself into oblivion.
She looks like she’s about 5’5 or 5’6 at the most, and I’m not even sure if she’s 30 years old. She gets on the bus, and sits literally taking up 2 seats; then snacks on chips and candy bars, and falls asleep for the remainder of the bus ride.
Every time I look at her, I can’t believe this woman is so young and so seemingly oblivious and indifferent to the condition she is putting herself into. If you were to see her face, it is clear that this is not a person interested in personal growth or education.
She just looks like she’s vegetating, idly planted in her indifference and spreading out (in her personal bulk), as if waiting for someone to come along and prune her, like a weed from the garden of life.
I was seeing a woman at my office, that is in a similar condition. I was asked to work on her to release pain from her neck that she said was very bothersome. This woman was also immense, but a taller version of it. She could not get on the table, nor could she sit on the massage chair. I had to sit her in a regular chair and try to work the problem out of her neck that way. When she sat down, her stomach was so immense, I was reminded of Jabba the Hut in Star Wars.
As I was working on her and asking her about her injuries and lifestyle habits, she said, “I know I’m a mess.” You know why I don’t have as much of a problem with her making this statement? She’s at least 70 years old. A grandmother.
Granted, she has not maintained a healthy lifestyle or habits, but unlike the younger woman, her condition is due, in large part, to a lifetime of neglect. Is she without hope, or helpless? No, not if she chooses not to be, and makes the decision to change. Most people in her age range don’t choose to, but they aren’t beyond all hope. Anything worth fighting for takes effort.
I am recognizing the irony as I tell you about the fortune cookie from my order of Chinese food today, which said, “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” In other words, pain is a message telling you to stop being stupid; to wake up and think!
I know what some of you think. You think your pain is unexplainable, just because no one has explained it. This doesn’t mean there isn’t an explainable cause…just that no one up to this point in time, has told you anything that really makes sense. Or, you think it was caused by your accident, which wasn’t your fault. Or, you think it just suddenly occurred for no apparent reason.
First of all, there is never just one variable, so even in the case of an accident, there is always more than the one variable or situation that causes it. In the case of a vehicular accident, the level of impact is definitely a factor, but it is not the only factor.
Regardless, just because there seems to be no rhyme or reason for whatever has happened to you, that, in and of itself does not negate the fact that change is needed. Everything in life has a cause and effect factor. Just because your doctor either doesn’t know, or thinks it is unresolvable, does not mean that you are at a dead end without options.
Recently, a picture of Sara Jessica Parker was shown on The Wendy Show as the Hot shot of the day. In it, Sara Jessica Parker was wearing a light blue dress that was very pretty. But, you know what made that picture look horrible? Did anyone look at her feet? I found a different image to help you see it better. The top of her feet looked worse than the worst case of old age turkey neck that I’ve ever seen. Her legs look fabulous, but her feet looked 20 years older than her. Why is that?
Well when you consider that she was one of the women of the 80’s and 90’s that wore and promoted the constant style of wearing high heels, then it makes sense. Remember, she was the Sex and the City star, and portrayed a wanna-be glamour girl, desperately seeking social acceptance and love.
This is the same basic attitude I have found in some of the sillier women I’ve worked on, who refuse to give up those horrible heels and the pain they cause to the back and other body parts. The problem is that the position that high heels puts the foot in, is one of over-extension of the extensor muscles on the front of the foot and leg, and over-contraction of the flexor muscles on the bottom of the foot and calf.
So if someone were to try to Dorsiflex Sara Jessica Parker’s feet (bend the toes up towards the sky), it probably would be very painful for her, because the length of her calf muscles are too short as well as the plantar muscles on the underside or sole of her feet.
I was going to say, unless she stretches, and from the picture, it looks like she does, because her legs look great; but clearly, if she does stretch regularly, she overlooked her feet.
The point is, many people cause their own pain from stupidity, such as following popular fashion trends; and demonstrating more loyalty and care to a fashion fad than to their own bodies.
Then people wonder why they have pain. Look at all the celebrities that have fallen by the wayside based on addiction. Many of them became addicted from too much partying, but many also became addicted due to prescription pain medications.
Even as I write this, people are still trying to determine if Prince actually died from an addiction, or if it was something else. If it was indeed an addiction, Prince does seem to me to be the type of person that would not want people to know. The latest word on the matter was a possible accidental overdose of pain medication.
So there are people making choices that are causing them pain. They aren’t examining their lives, habits and thought patterns to see what might be the source. To make matters worse, because of this lack of thoughtful inquiry and self examination, they run to seek medical care, which is only symptom management at best; and never usually hones in on the actual causes.
They completely place their faith in a man with a label, and never bother to do any personal research for answers, or methods of possible treatment. Then, based on a pain condition that is first and foremost, a condition of the mind or spirit; they make decisions or rather, accept what the man with the label tells them.
They begin to attack the problem in their body via a synthesized chemical they take in either pill form or as a shot, or even worse, they do surgery. Meanwhile, the actual problem, which, outside of a direct impact injury, is usually within themselves; is never addressed.
Change is needed, and the first place to start is to spend some time utilizing more than the 10 or 20% minimum of brain power that is said to be used by mankind. Striving to be ordinary is a state of mind that will definitely result in pain. It’s time not to just think outside the box; although more outer box thinking is definitely a necessity. Its time to rise up, and step out of the box that the culture has led you into; because it is a culture of pain that not only is detrimental to your mindset; it’s detrimental to your health.
Life likes to keep us busy; distracted with nonsense and overwhelmed. This is, in part, why I have been missing in action around these parts for a while. However, I’m fighting back, and emerging from the muck in tact, and ready to tell it as it is.
In view of that, let me give you the run down on the fast one that Comcast-Xfinity attempted to pull on me. It may just resonate with the experiences of many of my readers with this company. To my future naysayers from the company, and I know they will attempt discrediting comments; my purpose as always, is awareness.
I feel that circumstances like this affect not only the mind in frustrating people, but ultimately can be disheartening to the spirit; and furthermore, can affect the body, because muscles have memory and store emotional angst and trauma in the form of tension.
Since my site concerns those three facets of spirit, mind, and body, I think the public has the right to know if a company deals deceptively with customers so they can make an informed decision on whether they chose to purchase services from them; or save themselves from a situation that can potentially have an adverse effect on their health and well-being.
That being said, I have long fought the idea of purchasing services of any kind from Comcast-Xfinity. Just because Comcast changed their public name to Xfinity, does not mean there was any revolutionary change in the company, or their manner of doing business. For years I heard horrible reports from numerous people about Comcast. I’ve read multiple consumer complaints about them, so I never had any intention of ever dealing with them.
So when I was discussing the Xfinity deal my son had informed me about, with a sales rep at Target; who subsequently referred to them as Comcast; I was immediately put off.
“This is Comcast?!?” I said, in shocked disgust. “I’ve never wanted to deal with them! I’m not interested.” But at that moment, a Comcast field tech happened to be close by, and he claimed that the company had changed since becoming Xfinity. Between his comments, and the sales rep’s, and the area manager I spoke to on the phone, I was talked into trying the deal.
The deal was $19.99/mth and $10/mth for the box rental. All I wanted was internet. The set and installation was easy enough, and soon, we were enjoying having internet services at home. The first month was fine. I personally think that it’s the setup for a manipulation that is too easy for the company to do.
The next month, we “suddenly,” for no apparent reason, began having connection issues. It never occurred to me at that time, that they remotely control these lines, and could easily initiate a ” problem” on the lines from their location. When I called the company, the tech “checked” the line, and told me that the problem was coming from outside my home. She stated that they would send a tech over to fix it, but I immediately questioned whether my account was going to be charged any additional fees for this tech visit; as I clearly stated that I would immediately cancel the account if that was the case.
She assured me several times that there would be no charge to my account, and that I didn’t even need to be home for the tech to fix the issue. There was, according to her, no reason for the tech to come in my house. However, that was not the tech’s story. He claimed that he needed to check to ensure that my box was properly installed as well, so as to prevent the need for an additional visit, and subsequent $50 charge on my account.
So naturally, I let him check it, still reiterating the fact the the rep on the phone assured me of no additional charges. He confirmed this, stating that the problem was indeed the outside line; and he said the box on the building needed to be replaced, as the cover was missing; but again, that was their equipment, and their cost.
When he left, everything was working and he reiterated to me that there was no charge because he was not required to do any installation.
A week ago, I went online to my account, with the intention of paying the bill; only to find that my $30 bill has magically jumped up to $93. I immediately called the company demanding to know why (the hell) my bill was listed at $93, and assuring them that I would NOT be paying that amount.
“Let me look at the information, ” the tech says, after getting into my account.
“Well, the information I have here, says that $93 is due on your account.”
Again I very firmly (and loudly) reiterated that this is incorrect and that I will not pay it.
“Let me look at the information, ” he says again; then says, “Didn’t a tech visit your home?”
I was getting hotter by the minute, and I stated that I had been assured by both the phone tech and the field tech that there was no charge.
“Let me look at the information,” he says again, irritatingly. “According to the information, an installation was done, which is the reason for the additional charge.”
“There was no installation done!” I yell, reiterating again about the original promises I was told.
“Let me look at the information,” he says again. “Well, ma’am, due to the installation that was done, your bill is $93. That is the bill.”
“You know what?” I say, fuming. “Get a manager on the phone! I’m not wasting any more time with you! I want to speak to a supervisor NOW!”
“Ok. Let me look at the information to determine if a supervisor is needed.”
“Look! I am not paying this bill! You either get a manager on the phone right now, or you can just cancel this account!”
Again he says, “Let me look at the information,” as if it’s not right in front of him on his computer screen.
Now meanwhile, every time he has said, ” Let me look at the information,” and left me holding the line; I was having little conversations with my son about the reputation of this company and all the crap I had been hearing about them over the years. I stated how I had told him that this company was deceptive and a bunch of underhanded dogs, and that I never wanted to do business with them.
I had these conversations without muting the phone in any way, so the rep heard every word. So the second to last time he made that same statement, while he had me holding, I hollered out to my son, “Hey! Look on that table over there and get me that card from Hughesnet! They sent me some information on their services, and I need to check them out, because I see no future with these idiots!” If they have a good deal, I’ll just cancel this account and deal with them!”
Then, the rep comes back on the line (allegedly, as if he had ever really left), and I said, “Where’s the work order receipt from your tech, that I signed, agreeing that your tech did an installation in my home? When you can produce a work order I signed, then we can talk about this $93 bill you people are trying to con me with!”
Suddenly, the rep says, “Let me look at the information so that my supervisor can credit your account.”
Then he goes on to say that he, himself, has fully credited my account, and my charge is $30 like before. Meanwhile, the “supervisor” never gets on the line with me.
One of my son’s friends does call center work just like this for AT&T. When I told him and his girlfriend, (who works with him) about this rep constantly saying, “Let me look at the information,” and how annoying that was; they laughed and said it sounded similar to what they say to customers.
However, they also informed me that they can give the customer whatever they want, and basically must do everything they can to keep the account. The last thing they want is a customer cancelling.
I personally think it was the combination of my threat to close the account; the fact that I had another provider’s info already handy, and my demand for the work order receipt that made the rep credit my account. No supervisor was involved in this situation.
There was no work order receipt. The field tech never provided one, because the work order was never for an installation in the first place. But, if you don’t stand your ground, an unscrupulous company like this will manipulate you as much as they want.
When another rep called yesterday to inform me that at the end of the deal, the rate would go up to $66/mth; I very curtly cut him off by stating that I have no intention of utilizing their services once this deal is done. I’ll find another provider, even if it costs as much or more than they charge. I refuse to do business with a company that would manipulate people like this, and which does not value their customers by provided great customer service in good faith.
No one needs such aggravation, because it causes stress and tension, which will not help anyone maintain a good state of health.
This world is so backwards. Last weekend the people that live a few buildings north of me had another of their big parties. Now normally, they aren’t too troublesome with their parties. Generally speaking, they tend to be respectful of the neighbors. They don’t play their music so loud that we hear it thundering through every room in our house. We hear it, but its not so bad as to be a disruption unless we are trying to sleep; and even then, its usually just the bass beat that we hear. I told them quite some time ago that their guests could not park in my yard, and for the most part, they have respected that. But every once in a while, there’s always one or two individual guests of theirs that want to give us a hard time about that. They act like they have the right to park anywhere they choose. Last week was an example of this.
So you are probably wondering why I don’t allow people to park in my yard. Its not because my grass is in such stellar condition. We’ve had a few issues with people both from our neighborhood, and outside it, with that same idea and disposition; the sentiment that they are entitled to park anywhere they choose. Unfortunately, I presently live in the neighborhood of necessity, instead of choice. That translates to mean that I live in an area where a lot of lawless types live or frequent. It is amplified by the fact that there is a good deal of cultural diversity, but predominantly, it is dominated by one outside culture.
Because of this, the level of civility and consideration for neighbors is almost non-existent. People from this particular dominant culture don’t tend to be in the habit of demonstrating respect for their neighbors; at least, I have yet to see evidence of this. Two years ago we had a blatant example of this. This little church down the street apparently was one of the havens of the independence celebration these people were having. My street became so filled with traffic that it was like I95. People who did not live in the neighborhood were just trolling – driving through with their flags flying from their cars; hanging out of windows, yelling and carrying on. There were so many people rolling through that police attendants were stationed throughout the neighborhood, including on the corner where I live.
Unbeknownst to me, people were parking in my yard, as apparently, they had been parking all down the street to where this little church was. I stepped outside to see cars lining my yard, and someone coming out of his car after parking in my yard. I immediately informed him that he needed to move his car; he could not park there. I then proceeded to ask the officers on the corner what was going on. I asked them what was to be done about all these vehicles parked in my yard, as I did not want them there. The officer said they would call the police, as these were simply from the city to help with the traffic problems.
The thing that gets me the most about them parking in my yard, is that there is a big empty lot directly across the street from my house, on the south east corner. It is not fenced in, and no one would be bothered if they parked there, but instead, they insist on parking in everyone’s yard. My neighbors directly south of me, belong to this cultural group, and the irate wife was standing outside when I spoke to the officers about the cars. She looked very angry but I didn’t care, because for one thing, she exemplifies the problems within this cultural group.
Her behavior is always very loud, rude, and disrespectful. She fails to control her children, (5) who are constantly a disturbance at all hours of the day and night; and her family members, including the kids, are very nosy, and have a habit of intruding into my yard and causing damage to my plants, trees, and the water sprinkler system. This is one of those people that you know on sight to leave alone; don’t just get involved with.
Needless to say, the police arrived with a tow truck, and they began telling people to move their vehicles out of my yard or risk being towed. The reason most of the people knew to come move their cars, is because aside from the woman looking at me with anger, there was a man from their same culture who was standing in the middle of the street between her house and mine, giving me the same angry look. He was calling on his cellphone to people to tell them to come move their cars.
Personally, I didn’t like the way this particular officer was addressing it. He came and spoke to me, telling me about how they’ve had problems with “these people” every year. This was the first time we had noticed this particular situation, so maybe the problems they had was on another street. However, I still thought his mannerisms with this one old guy was a bit harsh, because he failed to get there to move his truck before the tow truck loaded it. I was willing to let him go, but the officer told him he was trespassing when he tried to talk to me; and they told him he had to pay $100 to get the car now, or more at the lot if they towed it.
My reasons for having the cars moved, is that in every scenario that involves people parking on the swale, it is always first – a right they think they have, yet it is my yard. Second and most predominant, they cause damage and then drive away without regard for the damage. Either their tires have dug deep grooves into my grass; or worse, they have left my yard strewn with their discards and garbage.
It is not my job to clean up after someone else’s party; and I don’t say this because I wasn’t invited. These are not the type of people I choose to associate with, so its not like I care about their party nor want to go. I don’t want the mess in my yard, and currently, because my house is a corner lot, on the corner of a well travelled street for people trying to get to the main avenues, my yard is already being used as a garbage dump by pedestrians.
I saw the condition of the angry neighbor’s yard after this celebration was done. She had allowed a bunch of people, mostly teenagers, park on the side of her yard. They sat out there drinking, yelling and screaming for several hours, with their loud music blasting through my house; and when they had finally left, her yard was a disaster. Empty bottles and cans were everywhere.
Now, its not like her kids don’t throw all kinds of junk and trash around in her yard already. They throw junk into my yard as well, which is why I don’t want them in my yard. Her back yard, which is fenced in, is like a junk yard, literally. Her fence has big gaps and you can see all the junk back there, broken glass, huge metal drums…I mean, it is really like a junk yard. I don’t even understand how she lets her kids play back there, but like I said, she doesn’t seem to be too mindful of what they are doing.
This same disregard for people’s property is the reason why I don’t let anyone park in my yard for any of the neighbor’s parties. Like I said, there is a large empty lot right across the street that they could use without causing inconvenience to any of the neighbors, but that is the last thing these people want to do. Consideration is not at the top of their list in any circumstance.
So last week, a few of this neighbor’s party-goers began parking in my yard. I came outside and began telling them that they needed to move their vehicles. Two guys immediately moved without giving us any problems, as they were just pulling up when I came out.
Two females sitting on a car parked across the street in my neighbor’s front yard began to give my son and I some abusive verbal lip service, and two guys decided that they needed to challenge us, so they decided to show out.
They approached us individually first, with the first guy posturing with aggressive body gestures like the dude from the smoking commercial. He wanted to get loud and boisterous, stating with his arms flailing, that this was “HIS NEIGHBORHOOD AND HE CAN DO WHAT HE WANTS!” This guy doesn’t even live on our street.
I wasn’t impressed. I told my son to come in the house, but he was still trying to reason with them amidst all the verbal abuse. Then this other guy came up with even more aggressive behavior, that was meant to be threatening. He got in my son’s face, jabbing his hand at him, and according to my son, he actually stuck his hand in his mouth. I saw him jabbing at him, but until he came in the house, hot as he could be, I did not know the man actually touched him.
He was ready to get a weapon and confront the guy. He’s 19. I had to catch him and correct him. I told him that those guys were not worth him going to jail for and messing his life up over. That’s not how you handle this. You don’t stoop to their level. For all their noise and posturing, I simply told them that I’m not going to argue with them. If the cars weren’t removed, I would call the police. And that was all I needed to say. I have nothing to prove. I have no need to be concerned with impressing anyone. It’s just a fact.
They were infringing on my property, and I was within my rights to tell them to move their vehicles. Whether they like it or not, is not a concern. And, without having to showboat, I calmly got my point across, because 3 officers arrived, and an older woman from the apartments that were having the party, came running down the street to tell those people not to park in my yard. I told one officer that normally, the party hosts were respectful with their parties and generally not a problem, but they had some guests that got too disrespectful with my son and myself when we told them they could not park in our yard, and that necessitated the call to them.
They asked me for my name and if I was willing to call them back if anything else developed and press charges, because the dude who came at me talking smack about he could do what he wants, had already gotten in one officer’s face with a threatening gesture. I told them I’d call if there were any more problems. Simple. Done. And there were no more problems. The officers made everyone parked in a neighbor’s yard move their vehicles and directed them to the empty lot. The party was very quiet after that.
My mom got upset when I had told her a week or two ago about a similar situation with some people in the apartments just west of us. She was upset over the fact that I went out there, or my son, to speak to these people, but in my mind, I was trying to be considerate of their party and give them the opportunity to adjust or modify the problem without calling the police first, which is normally my immediate action. It was the same thing with this other group.
They were having a party, and this started around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. By 11pm, we were tired of it, because they played their particular style of Caribbean music very loudly, and were generally very noisy. They were parking on the side of my yard in the back as the apartments were on the side of the well travelled street that runs next to my house. When I walked outside and past them, I was assessing first. As I came back, I asked whose vehicles were parked in my yard?
One tall guy came up to me and began to tell me that I must understand that they are having a birthday party. I told him I understood that, and had no problem with that, but I wanted to know how much longer this was going to go on, because the noise had been going on most of the day. I also told him that they had to move the cars. He started to get boisterous with me, because when he first responded about not moving the cars, I told him that it was very simple, and either the cars are moved, or I call the police.
He began getting louder and more physically aggressive and threatening, lying and claiming that he lives in the apartments. I interrupted him, “Dude! Bring it down a few levels. I’m not going to argue with you. I know you don’t live around here because I’ve never seen you before. Listen, you are asking me to have consideration of the fact that you are having a party. I’m fine with your party. But at the same time you are asking me to consider your party, you are failing to consider that the neighbors here have been putting up with your party for hours now. All I want to know is how much longer are we going to have to put up with the noise. We’d like to get some sleep.”
At that, he calmed down and told me to give them one more hour. They moved their cars and as he said, they left after an hour. I do try to be reasonable, but I expect some consideration in return. When I go to parties my friends host, if I park in someone’s swale, I always check with the party host, to be sure its ok to park there. The parties I go to are never loud and noisy enough to disturb any of the host’s neighbors. We are always mindful of that. I don’t think its too unreasonable to expect the same in return.
As I’m sure most of my readers have noticed, I have been incognito of late. There’s a reason for that. First of all, I was working two jobs for a little while. In addition, my laptop was apparently in pc hell, because of viruses. I found out the hard way that when a Microsoft system is in your computer, either McAfee or Norton security is included, even if you don’t want either of those products.
I already had Kaspersky, a security system I liked, but when I removed the system Windows included to install Kaspersky, it uninstalled everything, but left the files where the viruses were that it had quarantined. So those viruses were free to roam through my computer and infect it. A nice little parting gift from McAfee.
The worse part, according to the outsourced Kaspersky reps who were really undercover peddlers of Microsoft support packages; is that the Kaspersky security could not stop those viruses, because they were contained in a hidden McAfee file that Kaspersky could not access. So those viruses did a job on my computer because I was unwilling to buy into the con-job from the undercover Microsoft reps that were outsourced Kaspersky techs. Sound complicated? Yeah, I was a bit bamboozled at first too.
So my laptop was out of commission for about 6 months. First because I couldn’t afford to get it fixed. However, God blessed me with a (former) client at my job who was so appreciative of my massage technique, and how I was able to release her pain problem, that she offered to enlist her father, who is some sort of technical wizard with computers. She said she would have her daddy fix it for me, so I drove into the next county where she lived…miles away, mind you, to drop it off to her for the repairs. That was about 2 months into the 6 months.
After her father contacted me to let me know that I needed a new drive, I sent a previous one that I had saved from my other laptop when the machine got damaged. So when I finally mailed one, it was still another few months without the laptop until I would get it back; mostly due to transportation issues I had, and scheduling conflicts trying to meet for me to retrieve it.
Nevertheless, in that time frame, I was back at the library to do my online interactions. But, when God wants to bring you into a new arena, certain of the old things in your life must change or else there is no room for the new. I was very dissatisfied with the first job I had at the doctor’s office. I liked the work, but not the conditions in which I worked. So I took another part-time job in lieu of leaving the first job.
That second job was at a very nice, new spa franchise that had a young, very nice manager. I really liked her, and the spa, even though it doesn’t fit with what I do. This issue was something I had brought to the manager’s attention when I was being interviewed, as I was surprised that, based on my resume, she had hired me for her spa. She explained that her customers were always requesting deep tissue massage; so knowing that I was more of a deep tissue specialist, she had emailed me twice after seeing my resume; before I responded.
After a month, she realized that I was right, as she determined that it was not a good fit; and that despite how much she liked me, she had to let me go. It was simply unfortunate that this happened to occur on the very evening after I had submitted a letter of resignation at the first job. She emailed it that same night, and I didn’t receive it until the following morning.
Right after I had gotten hired at that spa, my car, which I had felt was dying for some time, finally coughed up its last breath. It was simply not worth the investment to repair because there were too many major problems and repairs needed, so I let it go. I had been utilizing the public transportation, which I didn’t mind because I get more exercise from walking to catch the buses, and I have a tendency to bike ride more often. So aside from a few creepy, stinky people at the main terminal, it has not been bad.
Additionally, I had taken that second job at the spa, because it was on the same main road as the first job, and I took the same bus route to get there. When I submitted the letter of resignation, I had prayed about the situation for more than a week prior to submitting the letter. I was looking for the situation to play out a certain way, to make it conducive for me to leave the letter. The situation was exactly what I prayed for, which is why the email from the manager of the spa caught me so off guard the following day. I was so elated to have finally left the first job, as I had been aching to leave there for months prior.
Imagine my surprise, when I was at the library, about to leave for the second job, when I got the email. It was a big let down, especially because I had already submitted the resignation letter the evening before. Would I go back and beg for my job back? Heck no. I was done there. I had reached the point where I couldn’t stomach going into that office. There was no going back. But, what was I to do, having lost 2 jobs in the space of 24 hours?
Believe me when I tell you that the enemy attempted to attack me in that vulnerable moment. The thought he attacked me with was, “Wow! Two jobs in 1 day…what a loser you are!” So for about 5 minutes, I felt a little down. However, I recovered quickly when I realized, “Wait a minute! This is just too coincidental! God knew that the manager at the second job was intending to let me go Tuesday. He knew this long before I submitted that letter of resignation on Monday! Yet, He set everything up perfectly in order for me to do so! That was no coincidence. He’s got something better for me!”
Naturally, when I had this revelation at the end of April, I set out to find out what that new, better thing was…and I think I’ve found it. It is something I’ve been praying for a while now…something to do with my calling and purpose here. I know this because it is not only what I have been asking for, but also, it is a part of the meaning of my name, and I can’t wait to reveal it to you all.
As a single mom, I’ve had quite a few run-ins with Landlords over the years, and the struggle is always in understanding and figuring out what your rights are when the Landlord is trying to strong-arm you or extort more money from you.To be frank, I’m sick of these guys I’m currently dealing with. The first offense was about two years ago, when my heel got caught in the doorway of my son’s room as the door was being shut. It caused a minor dent at the bottom of the door; one that could easily have been fixed by wood putty and some paint.
However, my Landlord chose instead, to replace the entire door; an unrequested service, for which, he charged me $170; what he called the “industry standard.” What bugged me more was that the son-of-a-biscuit kept the old door, which like I said, could easily be fixed and, I’m sure, he reused it elsewhere, charging someone else for a new door too. If I paid for a new door, the old door belongs to me, not him!
So last December, in the busyness of the season, I made an error on the check I wrote for that month’s rent. It was late, I was away from home, and did not have my rental portion on my person, to verify if the amount was correct. It had just recently been changed by HUD, so I still had the previous amount in my head. In my efforts to ensure the rent was submitted on time, I wrote out the check with the wrong amount, and put it the drop box for the Landlord the night of 11/30, and then caught the error two days later on 12/2. I immediately called the Landlord and left a message stating that I was unsure whether or not I had written the correct amount on the check, and wanted to verify it.
I requested that the Landlord contact me and let me know either way, if the check amount was correct; and if not, what was the difference outstanding, so that I could immediately give them another check to cover this error. No one responded. Mind you, I wasn’t sure if the check was wrong. I know what my checkbook stated, but I didn’t know if I had written the same on the check, or if I had written the check correctly, and simply erred in my checkbook. Since no one had contacted me, I sent an email with the same message on 12/5, and then I waited. Again, no one responded.
Those first two dates, were the only dates I definitely documented. I did call several more times leaving the same message, but I didn’t document those dates, and regardless, no response was ever given during the entire month of December. So I began to think that maybe I had just made an error in my checkbook. I kept looking for a rent payment of the normal amount being processed in my bank, but didn’t see any.
The Landlord, who had also tried to run a game on me with regard to an additional stipulation he had placed in the lease; failed to provide the lease for my review and signing until 5 days before it was due. He claimed in the lease that I was agreeing to it, because it involved an expense he was supposed to incur for days vacated for extermination that he was trying to push off onto me. He then emailed my case worker and falsely claiming difficulties with my email, which is an Outlook account with a Hotmail extension, so that he could justify not contacting me sooner, and have her email me to tell me about signing the lease.
He also tried to tell me at one point per his convenience, that he’s an IT tech, and that his server doesn’t receive emails from “free” email services. He stated that I’m “getting what I pay for.” His attempts to fabricate these issues started back in 2013. When I checked all my email communications with him, there were apparently no issues until about November of that year. He claimed to have changed his server close to that timeframe.
However, when I took his email extension (the part after @ and including the .net) and put it into the address bar, it pulled up his site. Funny thing is, the very front page of his site lists all the free email services which are good to use, my Hotmail account included.
But I didn’t stop there. I went to WHOIS.com and looked up that same name.net, and it pulled up info on who the server host was…GODADDY.com. So I went to GODADDY, and what did their first page show me? It lists their services, and what email service was listed there? Microsoft Office 365. When I clicked on that, it showed Q & A about Outlook…the exact same email service I have my Hotmail extension through.
But, I went a step further. I contacted a GODADDY tech who ran his email extension, the .net through their Outlook system, and confirmed that there was no problem with their system receiving any emails from GODADDY’S Outlook program or any extension listed within Outlook.
Lastly, I did a GOOGLE search to find out the timeframe of the Outlook takeover of the Hotmail accounts. It was about 6 months prior to the beginning of this fabrication by the Landlords about problems with my emails. Microsoft Outlook took over Hotmail in May of 2013, and the Landlords began complaining about issues with my email in November of that same year. You’d think an IT tech would have known this. It was all just a ploy to enable them to pick and choose what maintenance requests and messages they wanted to answer or acknowledge.
I thought that we would end up in court, so I gathered all this information, just in case. The Landlord finally contacted me on 1/12, but his message was only about the lease agreement. At that time, I was not taking calls due to illness. I did respond and leave him at least 2 messages, again requesting the information about the December rent. Each time he called and left me a message, he was intentionally vague, only stating that there was a discrepancy, but not giving me the amount as requested.
When I recovered, I spoke to him on 1/17, and finally on that date, he indicated the shortage; a month and a half later. He acted like he did me a favor, claiming that he waived the late fee for December on the 5th of that month, which meant that he did receive my messages; he just refused to answer them. This was so that he could snowball the situation into a perpetual late fee collection. He stated that he took my January rent, which was the full amount paid on time, and applied it to the December discrepancy; thereby causing January’s rent to be late, and charging me late fees for it.
At that point, he attempted to negotiate payment. I agreed to two payments to try to get the rent current, yet pointed out that it was his fault the situation happened in the first place. This effort failed because the first payment I made never cleared as a result of bank errors due to another dispute I was having since November with an insurance company. As a result, I stopped all payments to him; first because I was sure he had made some sort of legal violation with his actions, and second because I didn’t want to write a check I couldn’t guarantee, while the other dispute was still looming in the background.
He and his nasty partner began sending me threats via email and priority airmail; citing my responsibilities per the lease. I was pretty angry by this time, so I fired off a letter myself, exposing his lies and manipulation attempts, and the outright extortion he was blatantly attempting. I thought for sure we’d have to move, and I was ok with that. However, the logistics had me concerned, so I prayed about it. Not only did I pray about it, but I had my bible study group also praying about the situation for several weeks, as it was ongoing.
As soon as I gave it to God, I calmed down. I experienced such peace about the whole situation, even with the possibility of eviction looming; and answers started coming. Answers that showed me where we would go immediately should we have to move. A place was being made available and even storage provided by a friend that I had been helping for several months. So if we needed to vacate, we were covered.
Finally, I went to Legal Aid seeking some assistance. In truth, I only wanted to know what my options and rights were. I really wasn’t looking for them to take on my case. I also sought the same assistance via HUD, but neither of these agencies offered me a bit of help. One would think that at least HUD, who is also involved via a Section 8 voucher; would have at least explained my options and rights; especially to ensure that I was not violating their regulations with this situation. But they only fussed at me for giving them so much documentation, which I gave them to cover my “assets”. They only stated that they don’t get involved in disputes between Landlords and tenants.
Finally, when all those doors were closed, I went first to the Better Business Bureau, because after all, the Landlord has an incorporated business that he rents property through. I figured, if he’s a business, I can file a complaint against his business for public record, just like he would place information on my credit file for public record.
The Better Business Bureau’s site indicated that they only accept complaints regarding product and service issues in the marketplace. They referred other complaints to the consumer protection agency of the state; namely, the Attorney General’s office. So I filed a complaint there.
Additionally, I went to justanswer.com to see if I could get some legal advice. For $34, I could state my entire situation, and ask any questions I needed answered, to better understand my rights and options in the situation. Here is the answer I received from them:
It is not illegal for a landlord to wait to communicate, but it is a breach of contract if the tenant asks the landlord for a statement on the account balance, for the landlord to refuse to do so and then seek to charge any late fees for doing so. If there is a discrepancy in a Section 8 tenancy rent and the landlord will not communicate so that the discrepancy can be cleared up and late charges in the future can be avoided, first the tenant needs to contact the Section 8 office and notify them in writing about the landlord refusing to provide a correct accounting for the amount due by the tenant.
Second, if the landlord is trying to charge any late fees, you said they waived the late fee on this one time, based on the landlord’s refusal to communicate the accurate amount due so it could be corrected by the tenant, then the legal theory of “estoppel” applies. The legal theory of “estoppel” states that if the landlord’s own conduct, their refusal to tell you what the discrepancy is so you can correct it, causes the late payment then the landlord cannot seek to hold the tenant at fault for the late payments.
Then I asked if this breach gives me the right to move out. This was his answer:
He has breached the lease by refusing to provide you the proper information regarding balance due and correct monthly payment amount. The breach is not one that impairs the habitability of the premises, so no, it is not grounds to move, it is grounds to sue to force him to correct any issues with his billing process.
The great thing about this service is, the lawyer that answers your question usually specializes in the field that pertains to your issue. The other benefit is that you can email the attorney and respond with further questions if his answer did not clear up all matters pertaining to your inquiry. They ask you to rate your satisfaction with the attorney and give you the option to tip him, but I thought that $34 for 10-15 minutes of his time was enough. You also have the option of checking their system for previous answers on similar topics. If you do that, you pay nothing to get your answer, and believe me, there are tons of Q & A on their site that you can peruse to find the answers to your legal questions.
As soon as I got this answer, I immediately composed a letter to the Landlord, which I sent priority post; telling him that I spoke with an attorney who told me that he breached the lease, and quoted the attorney’s statements above. I stated that I was not willing to negotiate any payment agreements, until it was understood and agreed upon by him, that he could not penalize me for ANY late payments while I was making payments on the arrears; until all arrears were caught up. Despite his efforts to find a way around it, he had no choice but to agree, and after 3.5 months, the matter is now resolved. I kept my peace, trusted God and waited and He took care of it. God is amazing!
Man, was I hot a few weeks ago! These people from Esurance, an Allstatecompany; had me hoppin’ mad! Most of my day was spent addressing this nonsense they tried to pull on me. I’m sure this trap was the brain child of Allstate. It was clear that this is their standard process; part of their normal policy, and used on every person ignorant enough to purchase products or services from either company. It all started in November, when I naively purchased an insurance policy from Esurance for my car.
My previous insurer, Direct had proven to be totally unreliable due to extremely poor service. At the time I was still dealing with them, I couldn’t even get them to send me documentation they needed me to sign; neither via email or snail mail. Their website is a malfunctioning monster that I was extreme tired of fighting with on every renewal. The rapidly, ever changing quote amounts, even within the span of 1 hour, had infuriated me and I could not download or sign documents in their site; so I had requested several times with their reps that they send the documents. I even stated that I refused to make any further payments until they addressed this, so they had issued a cancellation notice.
Since I had no faith that they were going to get the documents to me on time, which I had been requesting for almost two months; I started looking for another company. I had just had enough. At the time I got the quote from Esurance, there was only about one week left on my previous policy. So I had an active car insurance policy at the time I processed the quote per their questionnaire. All I needed to do was pay the down-payment. My check was coming in two days after the cancellation date, and since I wanted to be sure funds were available, I had set the initiation date of the policy to 4 days after the cancellation date.
I wasn’t worried about the small gap because other insurance companies had told me previously that a canceled policy is not reported for about 30 days. Many previous insurers had told me that as long as the gap did not exceed 30 days, there was no rate increase. So I wasn’t worried about 4 days. On the 4th day, I purchased the insurance with Esurance. Their rate was just a few dollars above my previous insurance payment, so I accepted it because it was very close to the last low rate I had. I don’t need anything, but the most basic required insurance, because my car is old…a ’94. I still thought the cost was high for just PIP and liability, but this was the lowest price range I could find outside of Direct’s price.
Having previously had problems with Progressive a few years ago, I don’t even look in their direction for service. After I paid the down payment, Esurance contacted me stating that they needed to talk to me. Upon calling I found out that they wanted info from the previous insurer, and brought up a gap between insurance from the policy prior to the previous one. We called Direct and they gave them the info. No gap.
I thought that was it, but then the Esurance rep tells me that just the 4 day gap between the last policy and the initiation of theirs was going to cause my rate to increase over $100! I explained the reason for those 4 days, but she rudely informed me that that’s what the company was going to do, regardless. I was pretty ticked off, especially at her rude attitude with me about it. I told her to inform her managers that I wouldn’t be with the company long, since this was their position. So this brings us to what happened what really set me off.
You see, I had specifically given this company my Paypal credit card because I had been told by Paypal’s reps that since they have direct access to my account, they can verify if funds are available or not, and their system doesn’t process a payment if the funds are not available in my bank account. Since I had decided not to continue with Esurance, I never put funds in my online account. It is not linked to my main account, so I felt pretty assured that Esurance could not process and collect any more payments from my account. Paypal was supposed to be my safety net.
Imagine my surprise when I checked my account and found that Paypal had indeed processed the charge. So first, I fired off an email to Paypal, because if they don’t verify fund availability prior to processing a charge, their reps should not be misrepresenting information like that. Of course you know, that left a negative in my bank account, and, I realized, subsequent fees would be pending.
So now you know why I was hot.
I called Esurance to cancel the policy, because I had already sent an email, but their site says you have to call them to cancel. That’s so they can attempt to manipulate you out of doing it. So I started off hot, but I went into ether….like sub-atomic levels of hotness after the runaround I got from the Esurance reps on the phone.
In the aggravation of going through their automated system, you get to a section where they say, if you have an account issue press 1. After that, you get three options. For cancellation, you press 2. Now, you’d think this would be where you get directed to a rep, but it isn’t. The automated system asks if you are cancelling and have already obtained another policy, press 1, but if you haven’t already gotten a policy, you press 2. This is where the manipulation begins, and thus the reason for this separation.
First you are left on hold for 15-20 minutes before an operator even picks up the line. This is every time, and even if you pressed 1 on that last question. If you are cancelling, they don’t care how long they leave you waiting. The rep finally came on the line. I stated very matter-of-factly that I was cancelling the policy. He asked for the policy info with all the coddling apologies for my wanting to cancel, then attempted to pry the reason out of me, but I was resolute. I told him I was not going into it with him, just cancel the policy. Then he asks me if I had another policy in place already. I stated that I had gotten my quote, and just had to pay and the policy would be activated.
So he said that what he could do is not to make the cancellation effective until midnight, that way, since I stated that I would be paying for the other policy that day, I would be covered until then. I agreed. Then he asked for my policy number, verified it, and upon seeing that I had not had the policy for more than 5 weeks, he began again to try to pry into the reason I was cancelling.
At that point I stated that I did not like the rate increase they did, and that I didn’t want to debate the issue; just cancel my policy. Here’s where his tune changed. He began to whine, like how someone might talk to a pet, pleading with it; stating that he had nothing to do with my issue with the billing dept. He was just trying his best to help me, so that I could keep my policy. I stated very firmly that I didn’t care what he said, I didn’t want the policy – to just cancel it! At that point, he stated that he couldn’t cancel my policy anyways, because of FL law that states that I cannot be uninsured!
He stated that I would have to supply him with a policy number from the new policy before he could cancel my insurance with Esurance. Five minutes ago, he was able to cancel it, but was allegedly doing me a favor, making the cancellation effective at midnight, but now suddenly, he can’t do it at all?!? And since when does an insurance company get to hold a customer hostage due to FL law? They refuse to cancel my policy??? I’ve never heard of such nonsense!
And let me tell you, if you want to cancel by allowing the policy to lapse, you can’t. They have their system set up so that you cannot change the charge card info in the website unless you put another card in there. You can’t erase the info, nor change it without replacing the info with another card’s info. So they are literally trying to hold people hostage. If I choose to cancel my policy, they don’t have the right to refuse to cancel it because FL law says I have to have insurance. If I don’t carry it, is the state of FL going to arrest the management of Esurance because they cancelled it when I had no other policy in place? No. I make my own decisions, and I would be held responsible. How dare they refuse to cancel it! So you know I was burning up by this time, right?
“Don’t worry!” I told the rep, “I’ll have that policy number for you in a few minutes!” Then I hung up on him while he was still yakking, attempting to manipulate me more. After I processed the payment on my new insurance, I called back. This time, I pressed 1 for cancelling with a policy in place already. I got a different rep with a different line of b.s. By this time, I had figured that I was going to cover my tush. I not only received a letter from my current car insurer to give to the former about cancelling, but I called Esurance to get a fax number so I could fax it to them. You would think that such a simple request like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro!
The first rep that I asked for the fax number, immediately puts me on hold for 10 minutes, then tells me she needs my policy number! Just to get the fax number?!? But, you see, it was because I stated that I was sending them my notice of cancellation. Then of course, she wants the reason for the cancellation. I told her that she doesn’t need to know that; just give me the fax number. Now, suddenly, she has to transfer the call because she’s not in that dept. She disconnected the line. I was see’n red.
I immediately called back. The next rep again asks me for the policy number, but I’m not falling for it this time. “You don’t need my policy number to give me the fax number,” I said. “Oh, but I need to know what dept. to send you to,” was her excuse. “I’m faxing a cancellation. You will NOT change my mind! I need the fax number, not a bunch of runaround!” She puts me on hold for 10 minutes again, then finally comes back with the fax number. I faxed the cancellation notice, got the receipt, then called to verify it had been received.
At first, the rep stated they had received a notice that I emailed the previous day that they deemed as unacceptable as a reason to cancel. That notice contained my complaint about the fact that they had raised my rate. So in other words, what they were saying is that they can randomly raise the rate on their customers, and if their customers decide that they don’t like it and don’t want to pay that higher rate, they can just refuse to cancel the contract per the customer’s request, if they deem it is not a good enough reason.
So they use all this manipulation to try to keep your money, and when that fails and the customer is adamant about cancelling, they hold them hostage by refusing to accept the reason for the cancellation, and by locking you in via the credit card trap on their website. If you aren’t strong-willed and insistent, you would never escape their clutches! You’d have to cancel your credit card to avoid any further charges and initiate a cancellation! It’s ridiculous! How can the law even allow this sort of thing?
I told the rep that I had faxed another cancellation notice that was provided to me from my new insurer with December the 30th as the effective date. I mentioned this, because the next thing she would have told me is that the request would have to have their policy number, plus the new policy number from the new insurer on it before they would agree; as if they are looking out for my best interests, when they are really trying to hold me hostage. She tells me that the fax has not shown up in the system yet, and to call back and check later, but that even when it does show up, they can’t cancel my policy until 1/23/2015. This was their excuse so they could justify keeping the payment that they had just processed. I was thinking, “Uh-uh! That’s not happening!”
Meanwhile, I get a notice that they received the first cancellation request I sent on 12/28/2014. I go back to the website to see, per the notice, the cancellation fee, which the first rep had already told me was 10% of the remaining payments. I had paid a down-payment that was the equivalent of 2 months payment. Then they had increased the policy, and processed another payment; a process they started on the 9th, despite the due date being the 23. So they had 3 months of payments, with 3 months remaining, and I had only used 5 weeks.
So by my calculations, they owed me the payment they had just processed, plus whatever remained after the 10% of the final 3 payments had been subtracted from the 3 weeks of service I had not used for the second month. We’re talking about $250, but when I saw the notice of cancellation, they claimed that they only owed me $53 and some change! So if you believed I was hot before….
I immediately filed a charge against them with the financial officer of FL who oversees insurance. They weren’t keeping my money! There was no way I was going to sit quietly while they attempted this maneuver, which was like a bank robbery in broad daylight! So when I said that my day was taken up with addressing this, you see what I mean, right? I was at work at the time, fitting this in during open times on my schedule. By the time I got home that night, I was exhausted from the stress of it all.
However, my remaining thought, which I told my son from another mother (what I call my son’s best friend); was that this was another of those situations that God had allowed so that I could inform all of you about how scandalous these companies are. Despite the lack of understanding that some Christians have about the fact that I out companies like this online; I believe that God wants people to know. He’s all about people, and he doesn’t like extortion on any level. Somehow or another, He was going to work it all out for me, but I had to experience this, because people needed to be aware, and I needed to write about these traps of the enemy.
So today, I already see His hand moving. First of all, I sent my bank an email to let them know that I was disputing that charge Esurance had made through my Paypal account. I asked them to consider removing any fees that might result from the situation. They sent a response, which was to update and inform them of the outcome, and they would try to dismiss the fees. I then updated them, informing them that I had indeed cancelled the policy, and would send the cancellation letter if they requested it. I also received a notice from the financial officer of FL and updated them. You see, that last charge that Esurance had processed, never went through.
Because I didn’t have the funds available in the account, the bank had not paid it, and Paypal notified me that they would attempt to process it again in three days. I had already contacted them about my dispute, and, knowing I could not stop this auto process, this info was in the update to my bank. Since the charge was not successful, I had to update the financial officer about the difference in the balance owed to me. A day or two ago I received an email from Esurance, which I’m sure was in response to the complaint I filed; stating that they had refunded my $150 payment, but the reality is, they never actually had that payment in the first place. But the great thing was that it only took God less 24 hours to initiate the change.
In fact, He was already on it before I even ran into this snag with these deceptive companies. You see, the insurer I switched to gave me exactly what I had been seeking for quite some time. Straight insurance…no stacking. USAA is insurance available to military personnel and their families. I didn’t find out about this company until two days ago, but I’m so grateful I did. I’m talking about a difference in price like from $150 mthly to $50 mthly. As the adult child of a military father, I am eligible for this. And, there’s no stacking with this company.
They automatically gave me the minimal amount of insurance required, and the maximum discounts available according to my driving record, car type and the age of it. There was nothing about my credit, rental history, and all this other crap that these other insurers use as an excuse to jack your rate up. I was reminded yesterday about how a friend of mine’s mother always used to pray to God to make a way out of no way.
I did pray that, because when I thought about losing so much money, plus the likelihood of getting hit with bank fees, I was just dying inside. I don’t like to speak in the negative, so I don’t say times are hard; but they aren’t easy and who could afford such a loss? That’s why I’m so glad I’ve got God. He’s always got my back long before something hits me from the front. I don’t see how people live without Him.
If you get an email with a title like ‘Don’t Ever Trust Me Again!’ and continues along the lines of ‘… then you don’t have to take my advice ever again!’ My advice is – Don’t * Perhaps it’s because I’m skeptical of the number of “miracle” products, “great…
My son says I have an addiction. Now, I’m sure you are wondering what this could have to do with time management, because most business-minded people ascribe to the notion that playing games, either online, or on tablet or phone, is time-wasting; and has nothing at all to do with time management, especially if that person has entrepreneurial interests. I beg to disagree.
Outside of the fact that game playing has value for entertainment, social and familial interactions, certain types of games can affect your self-esteem and mindset in a very positive way. Some games are great for hand/eye coordination. Some aid in keeping your memory active. Some are challenging, and some improve speed and accuracy in details. So in my mind, there are benefits to spending some time with games with benefits like these, and I don’t see it as time wasted at all. Now, I’m not for the idea of spending all your time on distractions such as this.
However, certain types of games can empower you, and educate you. The perfect example of this is a group my son and I recently joined. We were coming from the library Sunday evening, when I glanced at the calendar reminder that had popped up on my phone. It reminded me that I had joined a meetup.com group to play the Cash Flow game originated by Robert Kiyosaki. I had searched for a group for about 3 years, but each one I found was disbanded or closed.
This group was more recent, and in my county, so since we were already in the general area where this group was meeting, I suggested to my son that we go. The group was small, but very welcoming. We were late, but the leader was more than happy to include us in the game that was already in play, and educate us as we went along. I already had an idea of what this game was about, but my son did not. Nevertheless, when we were done, he expressed some measure of surprise to me, that I was into this game. He was very interested in it, and liked the fact that the game was designed to teach us how to apply the principles to life. This game he gets.
I also play another game that he doesn’t yet see the value in. He thinks it’s an addiction. The game is Mahjong. I play this game regularly on my phone, and every time he sees me playing it, he shakes his head in disgust and tells me that he swears that I’m addicted. My rebuttal is that I don’t complain when he spends almost all his available waking hours on YouTube on his phone.
However, the time I spend on that game is in my in-between times. When I’m sitting outside some building waiting to pick my son up; when I’m sitting in a doctor’s office, or government office waiting to be seen; at very long traffic lights; while waiting to pick up a take-out order, or home watching a movie, and even bathroom time, which must be shared with my cats. I try to play a few puzzles in those times because I don’t want the main parts of my day affected.
Btw, to clarify the shared bathroom time with my cats, its “Batty-scratch” time, and I am forced into putting down my game and giving them their desired attention, love and “mayssage” (Not a typo, but how we pronounce massage for the cats). I’m sure the Cat lovers out there can relate. Sometimes, I make them wait however, because I’m trying to push through on a challenging puzzle. The app I play on my phone has multiple themes with multiple levels, and each level is timed.
For me, if I complete the level, it is not enough. I have to at least merit one star out of three, or I don’t feel I completed the level, and I have to replay it. Not only does the game have multiple themes and levels, but a variety of backgrounds, tiles and puzzle shapes that make the play on each level more challenging to beat the timer. There are patterns, and you have to try to figure out the best pattern of play to connect the tiles as quickly as possible and finish fast. I like the different shapes the puzzles can come in, and in some games you can pick different artwork for the tiles you will see in your puzzles.
Some are occasion based, topic based, and even entertainment based, like Sponge Bob or the Simpsons. I have never played the board game version of this, but I imagine it might be harder, because on the computerized apps, you can shuffle the tiles if you run out of moves. I don’t imagine that can be done on the board game. I think running out of moves would just end the game.
On the board game, I don’t think there is a timer, so one would have more time to analyze and plan their move. Also, in some levels, you will see the puzzle with tiles that are visible, but not available. You can only use tiles that are both visible, and available, meaning – no tile is on top partially or fully covering the you want to use.
If the tile is uncovered, it can be used. In some of the puzzles, it forces you to go from the outside in; and in some it forces you to select tiles from the inside out, or diagonally, including random patterns. It’s easy enough to find the matching tile when you are simply looking, even if other tiles are not available; but when you are trying to beat the timer, it’s a different thing altogether, and you have to decide what is the best move quickly.
Why do I like this? I have always liked puzzles, but the reason is because first, this challenges me. I like trying to both solving the puzzle and beating the timer. Secondly, I like the different shapes each puzzle has especially the more challenging ones. They require you to think and analyze differently, and I think it makes my focus sharper. I also like the fact that if I didn’t beat the clock and get a star; I can replay the game again. I could go ahead to the next level if I choose, but I prefer to replay it, because I want to understand how to work out that puzzle or problem and beat the timer while doing so.
Finally, I really love it because challenging myself in this way has removed a lot of fears I had within the scope of things I needed to address. The fact is that if I don’t finish well (with a star) I want to do it over and over again until I get it right and beat that timer. It makes me overcome a defeatist’s attitude in anything I am approaching, because I realize that I’m still solving the puzzle, even if it takes me longer than others or the timer. I can replay it as many times as I want to until I am satisfied that I have done it correctly and well, which means that I can learn the correct steps in completing the puzzle, and thereby getting to the end goal while improving my time.
Business-wise, I think it is opening up my thinking, because I was struggling with certain aspects of my plan and now, they don’t look so overwhelming anymore. I’ve just learned to review it, and restructure my ideas until I see a workable situation. Not only that, but I’m not afraid to try things and I’m no longer banking on just one method or approach. Its causing me to think a bit more outside the box, and I love that. I’d recommend this game to anyone who has mountains to move or challenges to overcome.
Recently, I’ve had problems with two companies whose policies look eerily familiar. First, let’s talk about AAA. For those living outside the US, AAA is a company that supplies roadside assistance when automobiles breakdown. They have also expanded into the insurance and possibly the travel markets, and offer these additional services to their customers at discounts. What is my beef with them? It amounts to what I call stupid logic.
About two months ago, they informed me that my service call was the last one I had for my yearly service. I asked if I could go ahead and pay for another year, because my year was up in October. They said it wouldn’t make any difference, because I’d still have to wait until my renewal time to utilize my service.
This means that they don’t want my money. How’s that you ask? Well, if, in the interim, I find another company that offers roadside service that is suitable, I’m going to go with them, because I can pay for the service and get it immediately. AAA seems to be forgetting that we are in a “Have-it-your-way” society. Technology has made most things easily accessible, and if they don’t want to supply me with another year of service, which I was willing to pay for at that time, then I will be inclined to move on and find someone who will. I mean, in all honesty, how logical is this?
If I use my services up in 9 months versus 12, and I’m willing to pay for another year of service from that time, why would any smart business refuse to accept money? Isn’t that the bottom line? It’s not like they are giving the service away and therefore can pick and choose who to bless indiscriminately. I’m paying for this. So if this means that I’m willing to pay more money, which I would be, repurchasing a year of service for 9 months of use; then isn’t that my prerogative? If I used the service in 6 months and wanted to buy another year, does it make sense to tell me no, and refuse to accept 2 payments for a year of service, and furthermore, potentially lose me as a customer, especially if I have been a longstanding customer? In the Business to Customer scenario, this just doesn’t make sense.
Costco does the same stupid nonsense. Costco is so rigid to time frames that if I renew my Executive membership a month late, I only get 11 months of service for the same $110, but I’m supposed to get a year. My year of membership should start whenever I pay for the renewal, but that is not what these companies are doing. At the time I was supposed to renew I had some financial challenges, so I waited. Then I lost the job I had then, and had to wait longer. I went into the store and asked them when would my next renewal date be if I renewed the Gold membership at that point? Mind you, this was 3 or more months after my original renewal date of March. They told me I’d still have to renew again next March, and pleaded with me to renew the Executive membership. They even sent me a coupon for $34 to purchase if I renewed my Executive membership. By the time I got myself another job and a little financial stabilization, more than 6 months had past and I had not renewed yet.
However, I refuse to renew with them now. It makes no difference which membership, whether the Executive, which I certainly won’t buy now, or the Gold. I refuse to buy a membership with them because if I bought it now, four to five months from now, I’d have to purchase another one! They have me locked in for renewal in March, so I see no point in repurchasing any membership with them until next March, because I won’t get the full year membership.
I’m not going to pay the same amount of money for a shorter term, and then immediately have to pay again, without getting a year of use out of my membership. There’s no value in that and isn’t value what its all about? It is stupid for them to be such sticklers about the date the membership renews, because look at the entire year of purchases I could have been making in their store, but instead, I’m taking my business elsewhere. I had an Executive membership because I regularly spent $500-$1000 in their store when I shopped there. So does their policy make sense?
And when did anyone sign a contract with them saying they had to renew on the exact renewal date they assign, or loose part of their year membership? That’s sorts feels scammish, doesn’t it? That is poor Business to Customer service, and opens up the door for the competition to make a better offer. Not great business sense if you ask me. But what about for Business to Business?
I used to work for a small graphic design company that focused on children’s menus and books. We had a problem with our printers, which were under something like a 5 year or 20 million piece contract. The owner had hired me to handle the kids menu department and put the other girl in a new department doing regular restaurant menus. I was the first person they had hired; outside of this other girl who had started with them; that could handle the kids department.
Not only did I handle it well, but I increased his company’s revenue over 54% in the first year I was there. So he was very comfortable making me the designer/supervisor of that department. I was designing and processing so many orders that our printers exceeded the volume in the contract 2 years before the timeframe of the contract was up. They started breaking down daily, and this cost us in reliability with our customers because we guaranteed 1-2 day delivery.
The owner was very frustrated because the company we contracted with to rent and service those printers refused to give us new ones; as their machines could not handle our volume. So because they were trying to hold us to the time frame of the contract, and were too small minded in their thinking, my boss started looking around at other printer servicing companies. After all, we had almost lost a major account, which I had saved by simply being honest with the president and explaining our printing problem to him as a fellow businessman with experience with poor service from a service company.
I left the company before all the new printers were brought in, but the first printer supplier lost my boss’ business, because of they could not see a growing company’s options had changed, and refused to adjust accordingly to keep their customer satisfied and maintain their business. Do these businesses think that they are so big that they don’t have to provide great customer service? This is why people are returning to local small businesses. They are looking for more of that customer friendly service. The big businesses may get away with it for a while, but just like Comcast…word spreads fast, and some of these companies need to wake up before they do themselves in.
As some of my readers may be aware, I had started “Sandy’s Slim Down Shake Up” Journey Journal at the beginning of this year; in an effort to make myself more accountable in my attempts to better regulate my health and dietary as well as physical exercise habits. After all, I’m a massage therapist, having knowledge and information on natural and healthier practices, and it has been my desire to help people, particularly those with pain and tension problems in their bodies; to be aware of how they are self-sabotaging and ultimately, causing their own pain conditions at best, and/or exacerbating an already injured area at worse.
One of the premises of my starting that Journey Journal, aside from just a desire to be healthier, is that I felt I needed to represent – ie: practice what I was preaching. So I started this journal with those intentions. However, I now see the need to revamp this whole journal thing. Not that I’m giving up on my intentions at all. I’m still trying to get my life to reflect that which I know in my heart to be true.
The problem at this point is my old arch enemy…time. I cannot currently keep up with the time it takes to edit the podcast; which is why those who have been following it, are still waiting for a number of updates that I did since the last one was published.
Doing a podcast takes far more time and commitment than I realized, and honestly, I’m more committed to my readers in my three sites, then to that. It’s a great idea, but it puts far more on my plate than I can handle, and pulls me in one too many directions, and for this reason, I have to let it go. As to my personal journey towards health and wellness, that information will be on my pain management site, because I find that it is more related to the purpose of that site.
So for those following the podcast, it’s down; but I’m giving some measure of consideration as to how I might bring some of the tips that some of you may have found valuable, back to you. As I may have already stated, there were several recordings not published that were chocked full of good info; so I have to decide which medium to present that information back to you in, whether in articles or by video later on. I jumped into the podcast, not realizing how much work it takes. In reality, this could be very easily compared to having a radio show, and honestly, that is something that requires pretty much all of your attention if you want it to really succeed.
My ignorance of this was not blissful, but stressful. So this brings me back to the whole concept of self-inflicted pain or problems we often create for ourselves, which I wrote about here. Most of our self-inflicted problems are from a state of ignorance. We think we know something, or how to do something, and we’ve done that for years; or, we have done something for years that we had no idea was negatively impacting us because despite the signs, we either didn’t know what to look for that might cause problems later; didn’t know how to read the signs, or dismissed the signs due to our own self-centeredness. It could be a combination of any of those things.
For instance, who taught us how to breathe? What about how to walk? Did anyone teach you how to do this? No. This was one of those things that-according to all sources, comes naturally, right? However, did you know that the majority of the population are only getting about 20% of the oxygen intake they are supposed to be getting? That means that most people are losing 80% of the oxygen that they need to live.
Here’s another newsflash. Cancer hates oxygen. It can’t survive in a well oxygenated body. Does that fact get you more interested in breathing better? Would it be blissful to have continued not to know this in our cancer dominated society? And who said that the way you walk is correct? Do you know that most of the pain problems I release on a regular basis as a massage therapist, comes from problems in the feet, and are caused by how the person walks?
So is it any surprise then, to find that we are completely off track with how to eat? Now mind you, most of my health and pain oriented information will be found at my marroga.com site, just like the body/massage info is at my issuesinyourtissuesmassagetherapy.com site. I’m not going to go into a lot on that topic now. However, my point is that I recently discovered some information about health that blew my mind. I know God lead me to it, and I think it was the last link in the puzzle I’ve been trying to solve about my health and wellness for the last 20+ years.
I can tell you that ignorance has not been bliss at all, because ill-health is not spectacular. I have been concerned about my health, but not motivated enough to make a really radical change until now.
I have made changes a little at a time, but I’ve backslid too, every time my son says something like, “Mom, can we get a pizza?” My resolve in resisting his requests has not been very strong, and is coupled with my desire not to have to cook very often. It certainly is a barrier for my ability to be consistent.
But having recently gone to a fantastic 4 day seminar, that completely blew my mind; and then coming into this newest information, I know God is showing me. Honestly, God could not blare a louder bullhorn than the info I just found. Now I’m frightened enough to make a radical change. The tough job is to keep me moving and steadily consistent on this path. With God on my side, and armed with this new knowledge, I know I will get there.