Where I Wish Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie Cameoed in My Life Instead

Last Monday my phone lit up with a call from an 888 number. I thought it might be a telemarketer or some other type of solicitor, so I didn’t answer the phone.

Whoever called did leave a message.

I listened to the message.

The person who left the message said she was from my bank’s [static] department and to call a number at [static].

I listened to the message again to see if I could understand more of it.

Then I decided to check my bank account online.

Fancy. There were two $100 charges from gas stations somewhere in Texas in the past five days. Thank goodness it wasn’t more, but still: $200 is a lot of money.

The last time I was in Texas was February 2008 for the Austin half marathon. If my information was stolen then, would the perps have waited six years to use it? Besides, I’ve changed my debit card at least once since then.

From the partial voicemail message and looking at my bank account, the puzzle pieces finally fit together to form a very annoying, cussworthy story. But since I still couldn’t discern the static for the number on my voicemail for the bank’s fraud prevention department, I called the general customer service number instead.

I explained my situation to a nice person. He went to get someone from fraud.

The person from fraud was also very nice. I told him about the suspicious debits. He told me that he’d file a claim and send me another debit card overnight.

He also told me that it would take up to 90 days to reverse the charges. At the time that sounded like a horribly long time to wait, but both debits were readjusted just two days after this phone call. And since I couldn’t see my online account until I activated the new card, I had no idea that my account had been reimbursed. (I could have called and found out, but I decided to wait.)

While the nice fraud department guy was processing the claim, he saw that the bank had already sent me a replacement card by regular mail. He said my card was one of the compromised ones from the holiday season. He asked if I shopped at any of the places featured on the news for having customer debit card information stolen.

I said that during Christmastime, I had definitely shopped at the place whose company logo looks like a bull’s eye. A red circle surrounding a large red dot.

Hackers. They got me.

My new debit card arrived in the mail a week later. I activated it and regained online access to my account. While I don’t use my debit card a lot, it’s nice to have the account and my information (somewhat?) secure. It just bothers me that people out there have no qualms about stealing other people’s private information and spending their money. It bothers me hard.

Thankfully everything ended well for me. I hope all the other hacking victims were just as fortunate.

Stupid Parking Job

Macey’s is a Utah grocery store with a pretty good bakery and super cheap soft-serve ice cream, and they have free Smarties and Dum-Dums or Chula Pops at the cashier. Reilly and I got blue raspberry Dum-Dums tonight. We had just seen a father pushing his two kids in a cart. The daughter was around two years old, and the son was about 4. We were in the frozen foods aisle when I heard the son say to his dad, “Why are you talking back to me?” just before the daughter dropped her sucker on the floor and cried because the dad wouldn’t pick up the dirtygross candy for her. We quietly laughed far enough behind this family.

This evening, Reilly and I came out of Macey’s and wheeled our cart of groceries to the parking lot. Reilly walked in front of the cart, and I was pushing it. As we neared our car, we noticed a small grey SUV parked next to us. Reilly saw how the Jeep/Forerunner/similarly objectionable vehicle with a Washington state license plate was parked, and he looked back at me with an expression that made me look at what he noticed. The vehicle’s left rear wheel was on the line, and the left front wheel was in our parking space.

I immediately reacted. “I hope he [the owner of the SUV] comes out soon so I can kick him in the nards.”

Reilly agreed that the parking job was bad.

We loaded the groceries into the trunk of our car, and I wheeled the cart to the nearest cart corral. The perfectly cool air braced my hot, angry face. Yet, I still wondered how I could push my neatly into the corral when I had a normal cart and the other carts in the corral were a mini-cart and a car-cart that kids could sit in and pretend to drive while parents pushed it. Then I just decided to make sure my cart was at least out of the way, because I’m incredibly considerate about these things.

When I returned to the car, Reilly had unlocked my door, but he hadn’t opened it because the space between our car and the dork car next to us was too narrow. But he also looked at me as if something was funny.

I opened the car door and slipped inside, and I happened to glance inside the Jeep/Forerunner/whatever. The driver happened to be in the car, and the driver happened to be a woman. Blonde, ponytail, appearing to avoid looking to her left at her condemners.

It occurred to me that she could have heard what I said, but once I closed the door, I told Reilly, “It’s a girl in that car! I’m still going to kick her in the nards!”

Then Reilly said, “I have a little trick for when I park like that. I park the car again and fix it.”

Seems simple enough.

Lois Lowry Was Here

 

The man on the left is someone disguised as my incredible husband. The woman in black on the right is the real Lois Lowry.

She came to the Provo Library tonight on a book tour. She’s promoting her latest book, Son, the “thrilling conclusion to the Giver” series. She had some interesting things to say about her stories, her writing, her life. She made us laugh, and she also made us wait in line to get her autograph.

She also held a question-and-answer session where she answered about six questions from audience members. Some questions were pretty good; some were just dumb. You be the judge:

1. Do you have any regrets about how late you started your career?

2. How did Gabe get down the hill on the sled? Where did the sled come from?

3. Who’s your favorite character ever?

4. Do you consider the Giver an allegory?

5. How did you decide to leave color out of the Giver?

6. Some question I’ve completely forgotten.

The director of the Provo Library reminded us that Lois Lowry is one of five authors to win the Newbery Award twice. Pretty dang cool.

The man disguised as my husband got a copy of Son autographed for the junior high school where he works. I wonder how many kids there will even read it. A society where no one reads is the worst dystopia of all.

So it seems that my husband was disguised as himself. No one knew who he was. The cleverest ruse.

I enjoyed listening to Lois Lowry and meeting her and thanking her quickly but sincerely for her autograph. Her authorgraph. Thanks so much for coming to Provo!

Complaints You Could Skip

Two strangers are sleeping in this house right now. The one downstairs is friends of one of the girls downstairs. Her name is Emily, and she seems friendly. Or at least nice enough.

The one on my floor is a friend of my roommate. I haven’t formally met her, because when I came out of my room last night, she was sleeping on a cot in the living room.

The one downstairs has been staying since Saturday, I think. On Sunday night she was talking really loudly on her cell phone to someone in her family. I was trying to watch television, and I had to switch on subtitles. Which I completely understand isn’t a crisis, but I was annoyed. She spoke slowly, almost with the slightest deliberate pauses. Between. Each. Word. She was discussing her options for church. She could try going to a family ward, but then her current bishop told her about an older singles ward. And she told whomever she was talking to that she’d probably try the singles ward because she’d have a better chance of getting dates.

It’s not eavesdropping if she’s in community space speaking loudly enough for the neighbors to hear.

Well, good for her for persisting with and hoping for dates.

I’m containing a rant right now.

Another day, folks.

But sometimes, sometimes I really hate this culture.

I hope these guests leave soon so I can invite my much cooler friends to hang out and play.

That is all.

I Am Wearing A Snuggie

I am also about to watch another episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Sometimes I’m weird.

On Wednesday, I had a work bowling party. Nine of us came to the BYU Games Center, and I only knew one other person. We divided ourselves into two lanes, and I ended up going third out of the five people on the right lane.

So, at first, whenever it wasn’t my turn, I talked to the one person I knew, but as the game progressed, I loosened up a little and started at least commenting on other people’s games.

Also, I’m really good at being excited for people. I will cheer for you and cheer for you, and I will feel bad for you if I know that you really wanted that strike, or if the gutter was particularly merciless.

Anyway, all that outwardness didn’t stop me from winning. By 50 points over the 2nd-place person. Of course I wasn’t boasty (of course?), and I especially don’t like attention from people I don’t know, so I made sure to deflect attention and accept compliments and the quickly shoot compliments back. The outwardness didn’t help the awkwardness.

It’s sometimes really hard for me to accept compliments, but I do practice at saying “thank you” and actually feeling grateful.

Then later on in the week I admitted to someone that I can be anal retentive.

I spent most of this morning packing up my room before going on a bike ride with some friends. When we got back, I popped some popcorn and we relaxed a bit before moving my stuff to my new place. We laughed a lot about some things, and I laughed until I cried about a thing that I can’t talk about here just in case somebody’s somebody happens to come upon this blog. It’s just hilarious to me.

So, we packed up my friends’ van and moved a lot of things over to the new place.

Then we returned to the old place and saw that I left my NYC subway map on the wall. I removed the pushpins and took down the map and began folding it while my friends were telling a story or texting their family or something. When they finished, I asked them, “Do you know what makes me so happy?” And, they let me answer: “When I can fold a map, and it isn’t wonky and it can lie perfectly smooth when it’s nicely folded.” And they were like, “Uh, sure.”

Then we went out for sushi, because my friends are the best for helping me move, plus one of my friends received a text coupon for a buy-one-roll-get-one-free deal, so we had to take advantage of it. The food was great, and I might have eaten too much, because the rice in my stomach is staging a coup. Too crowded. Overpopulated. Not equal benefits for everyone.

After dinner, we stopped by the new place again to drop off a few other things. We looked at my bed, which was on cinder blocks so that I could store things beneath it. The bed isn’t pushed up against the wall, but a few inches from it, and I expressed a small fear that the bed might not be stable enough. I shook the bed, and the cinder blocks rocked a little. A friend asked if I was going to rock the bed like that, and I said that I wasn’t going to tell her. Personal stuff, you know?

Anyway, I ended up saying that I didn’t want to push the bed against the wall yet because I needed to make the bed, that I really like making beds, that once I make the bed and get all the hospital corners right then I’ll push the bed against the wall and it will be safer. I said that I make my bed every day, that sometimes I’ll completely strip my bed just so that I can make the whole thing over. I said that it is soothing and that it helps me clear my mind.

The same thing goes for most housework.

I can’t believe I’ve dedicated 700 words to how weird I am. Maybe I should scratch that and include the last eight years of blogging. Which is even harder to believe. Maybe not as hard if you’re not me, but maybe you should be grateful that isn’t the case.

Whatever. It’s time for Buffy.

Hey, Kids

Do I EVER have a blog post for you. But not tonight.

When I get rested and showered and when my homework is back under control, and when the level of inadvertent THC in my body has returned to zero from off-the-charts, then I can think about writing you a lovely post about lovely things.

Because I love you.

But first, attempts to sleep.

Good night, my darlings.

So Some Friends Told Me A Story

It was about a certain stake and ward in Utah County. Not in Provo, but that town just north of Provo. It was one of those Young Single Adult Wards, which I have always thought are wonderful and have never harbored any complaints against. I love them so much.

These friends get ready to attend this ward. They might have been running a smidge late, but when they arrived, the congregation was singing the opening hymn. It wasn’t a crisis, by any means.

But the chapel was practically full, except for maybe the very front row of pews and the choir loft up on the podium. So my friends decided to hang out in the foyer instead of walking in front of everyone and disrupting the meeting.

Then came time for passing the sacrament. Bread and water. Symbols of the body and blood and Christ’s atonement.

Usually, one of the priesthood members comes out into the foyer to pass the sacrament to those who may have arrived late or had to leave the chapel for whatever reason.

No one came out.

My friends weren’t the only ones in the foyers.

After they passed the bread, they did the same with the water.

And the same thing happened with the water: the foyer people didn’t get any.

Which were maybe 20-30? I tend to want to exaggerate this number, but really, it was a sizable crowd.

Then after the sacrament was passed, a member of the bishopric asked if anyone didn’t get to partake of the sacrament.

I guess no one in the chapel raised their hands.

Then the bishop invited everyone sitting in the foyers to find a seat in the chapel.

He supervised the priesthood as they stayed inside the chapel, which means he saw them not passing the sacrament to the foyer people.

He knew that the foyer people didn’t receive the sacrament.

So, when people confronted the bishop after the meeting, he said that he was acting under the stake president’s directions.

It was important for the bishop to literally see the elders passing the sacrament.

But he also must have saw them not passing it to the crowd outside.

People were incredulous and sort of really angry.

Some people stormed off, declaring inactivity.

And the bishop said it was their choice.

So, what I’m trying to understand:

Does he mean to punish latecomers by depriving them of the sacrament?

How does he intend to fellowship and reactivate when he splits hairs with THE reason people come to sacrament meeting? How are people supposed to get married?

How can one be denied the sacrament? If someone in the congregation is sick and can’t physically make it to church, the priesthood can bring the sacrament to that person’s home.

Everyone should have that opportunity.

If someone can help me see benefits to the other side of this discussion, I’d greatly appreciate it.