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What’s my password? For what? I don’t know, for my thing.

Email from an actual well-educated professional:

See attached correspondence [in a Word doc, of course]. My email address is [email protected] [because it’s impossible to ascertain my email address from this very email]. I never check my email, so if you email me something, I insist that you call me to tell me that you emailed me something so I know to check my email for your transmittal.

So, even though you can’t be bothered to check your email, which is like saying you can’t be bothered to unlock your doors during advertised business hours, you’re emailing me to tell me that if I must email something to you, because I’m all bleeding-edge technological, you demand that I then call you to personally invite you to check your email. You win: any correspondence henceforth shall be by facsimile transmission.

Presents! I like presents!

 Now that Christmas is over, I’d like to complain.


Enough with the sanctimonious, self-righteous, guilt-tripping scolding about Christmas. Jesus may be your reason for the season, but it’s never been mine, and I don’t feel any compelsion* to disabuse you of your beliefs. Quit demonizing the exchange of gifts. I like to think about what a person might want, to try to come up with something that will be a pleasant surprise, something that indicates that more than the exchange of money for goods was involved. Someone gave me David Sedaris’s newest book for my birthday, but more important than the book was that the person put enough thought into the gift to know that it was perfect for me.

*Thank you, Barney Fife, for introducing that word to my lexicon.


Our banking needs are simple, so I haven’t paid too much attention to the switch from Washington Mutual to Chase. My biggest concern was that C2 not be locked out of using her debit card while she was in Chile last year because that’s what she lived on, and she wasn’t, and we haven’t encountered more than a momentary glitch, so I haven’t spent any time worrying about it. But the other day while pretending to be responsible I tried to find a table comparing our old Washington Mutual accounts to what they’d become as Chase accounts. Not available, on the Chase site (which was quite a surprise to the support guy for or in a branch.

I asked someone at the bank to go over things with me. She told me all the WaMu accounts were grandfathered.

For six to eight months.

Six or eight? And do you know from when?

Oh, I don’t know. March, May, whenever they made the switch. Just plan on the end of the year. [And then she winked at me. Bank employees should not wink.]

My reason for asking is that, if I’m going to be charged new fees, I want to move accounts before then. She told me that if I’m charged, she’d reverse them. Then she called, on the phone, the guy twenty feet across the room, who told her the old accounts are grandfathered forever. That’s something, but so far two people have given two different answers to the same question, so I’m not too comforted by that. So I asked for a comparison of the accounts and she found a booklet targeted to people opening new accounts. I don’t know all the features of our old accounts or even what they’re called because they seemed to change names all the time, and they aren’t listed in the booklet, so I looked at the page with a sort-of comparison. I wanted to be reassured that I wouldn’t have to pay for things that used to be free so that I wouldn’t have to look for a new bank.

No, they’re grandfathered. And forever!

So, nothing will change?

No, nothing. Grandfathered.

No fees? No minimums? No transaction limits? Free bill pay? Chase won’t charge me to use non-Chase ATMs? Free checks?

No. Everything is exactly the same. Nothing has changed. Grandfathered.

I then notice a line item on the page that mentions Chase charges $2.00 to use a non-Chase ATM. WaMu did not. Now I’m looking at the bottom of the page, where there’s a note saying that debit rewards has been discontinued.

So, nothing at all will change, except this will change?

She’s getting a little annoyed with me, and it’s not her fault that the damn bank hasn’t created a document that would answer what are surely common questions. I can only imagine the frustrated customers they’ve had to deal with, made all the more frustrating because they haven’t been given enough information to pass on to their customers. She starts to tell me, again, that everything is exactly the same, grandfathered and all that, when I show her the parts of the page that suggest changes. She puts on her reading glasses.

Yes, nothing will change. Except that.

Just dumb

I didn’t actually smash the old clock radio, but put it on a shelf in another room because one never knows when one might need another $19 clock radio that one hates. The new clock radio sets itself, so Friday afternoon I took just a perfunctory trip through the owner’s manual to be sure I set the alarm time correctly. This one is much simpler, with the buttons placed in areas less likely to be mistakenly pressed, thus it is less likely to induce a series of temper tantrums at 4:00 AM. I pressed the button that indicates which days the alarm is set to go off, a handy feature, and it appeared that it was set for weekdays, a sensible option.

Saturday morning, a few minutes before 4:30, we were awakened to a loud beeping noise. Any number of devices in the house are capable of beeping (and anything capable of making any sort of electronic sound is necessarily within my purview), so it took a minute to figure out that it was the old alarm clock, with its cord wound around it, stuffed on a shelf in a different room, and that some idiot had obviously failed to remove the batteries, again. I never would have guessed sound could have traveled so effectively from a different room with a closed door. We both got up because Captain OCD didn’t know where I had put it and I’m not overly articulate at that hour of the morning after being woken suddenly and unexpectedly. Or after being woken in any manner at all, at any time. He finally found it and attempted, without his glasses, to figure out how to get the batteries out while I got back in bed. Finally, the beeping stopped and I hoped that I’d be able to get back to sleep.

A few minutes later Captain OCD came back in the bedroom and found me laughing, crawling over his side of the bed. The same idiot who had forgotten to take the batteries out of the old clock had misinterpreted the instructions she hadn’t read and the new alarm was set to go off all seven days of the week. At 4:30 AM.

You’d think I would have learned

It’s somewhere between 4:00 and 4:30 AM and Captain OCD gets up for the morning and turns off his alarm, which has not yet sounded. I have only just gotten to sleep, so that he remembers to turn off his alarm is much appreciated. Except that at 4:30 I hear a beeping sound. He’s not turned it off, just turned it from radio to alarm. After figuring out what is going on, I reach over to turn it off. But I have no idea how to operate that clock radio in the dark, and neither does he if the operation extends to anything other than pushing Off, and for that dark or light makes no difference because that’s all he knows how to do regardless. I think about grabbing the flashlight and my glasses to figure it out, but I’m distracted by my whimpering “Stop it!” and “Come on, you bastard!” and  “Shut the fuck up!

Should it ever come up, know that blindly pushing buttons and sliding switches and spinning dials is no way to silence a clock radio. The radio turns on. It won’t turn off. It turns off, but a red light is now visible on the face. That can only mean that the bastard has something planned for later. No matter what I push or slide, the light won’t go off. Then I see NAP on the other side of the face. While I’ve never in my life used the nap setting on a clock radio, I’m pretty sure it means it has plans for some point in the near future. I blindly do some more pushing and sliding and whimpering. The radio comes back on, with an obvious count-down on the face. Fifty-four minutes before it turns back off? The clock radio has two separate alarms. While whatever I’m pushing and sliding and spinning is alternating between Alarm 1 and Alarm 2, I’m unable to push or slide or spin to achieve no alarm.

I’ll just unplug it, even though that means reprogramming the stupid thing with owner’s manual in hand because it’s not my clock radio so I don’t know it well. I know you’re not supposed to unplug anything by yanking violently on the cord several feet away from the plug, but I do anyway. The radio is still on. Apparently I did, after all, snake the cord under and behind the bed to the outlet back there, an operation that took, as I’m beginning to recall, lying on my stomach with a flashlight between my teeth while trying to snake the cord around and behind the big, flat boxes of my stash of book-making and binding paper. I wonder if chewing through the cord will take long. I’m not about to repeat the snaking process in reverse, at 4:32 AM, so I yank until the clock radio goes dark and silent. I think about throwing it across the room, but worry about breaking the mirror (is that a sign that I’m growing up?), so I forcefully toss it aside. I’ll deal with resetting it later. I can’t complain about how complicated and unintuitive the controls are because I am constantly telling Captain OCD to quit whining about how everything is needlessly complicated and why can’t things have simple on and off buttons and if people were supposed to text all cell phones would have keyboards like typewriters (so he can text with two fingers). Meanwhile, he can program an irrigation clock in his sleep, the interface of which is a kludged-together mess of the cutting-edge technology of the early ’80s that involves turning dials while simultaneously flipping switches and moving pins in time with the cryptic instructions on the red LCD display.

Apparently I was doing more than whimpering because Captain OCD comes in and asks what is wrong. I mumble something, all of which is unintelligible but “fucking alarm clock.” I do remember managing to keep “your” out of it.

“Oh, I think I hit a button yesterday.”

I keep my remark that it would have been nice to have been told that yesterday, before this morning, after I’d finally gotten to sleep, to myself (again, am I growing up?). He goes back out to watch the Weather Channel so he’ll know what the weather is doing on Mt. Wilson, wherever the fuck that is, and to finish making his lunch. I try to go back to sleep. If I were the praying sort, I’d have prayed that he wouldn’t come in later to wake me up to tell me how much rain Mt. Wilson got yesterday.

I didn’t need a rain report for Mt. Wilson because the dark and silent clock started beeping. Of course I forgot about the bastard batteries.

Let’s hope Fred Meyer’s return policy covers small appliances that have been smashed by crybaby, sleep-deprived spouses.