August 27, 2013

Plague Vector



You might want to disinfect your computer after you read tonight’s blog.  Clearly I am a Gremlin Plague Vector* and you can’t be too careful.

The day began badly as it so often does by not getting to sleep last night/this morning.  Circumstances probably did assist in conspiring because Fiona and I had some time ago rescheduled to have a Yarn Adventure today—we’d had to cancel during the Extreme Streaming stage a couple of months back and I was not going to cancel again.  Meanwhile however the Bank Bust exploded a fortnight or something ago and I’m getting nowhere fast and meanwhile I’m also getting more and more wound up about it** as I am stonewalled by the bank while letters are still coming in from people who didn’t get paid.***   I should have gone into the bank again this morning and demanded a HUMAN BEING TO TALK TO . . . after I hand delivered my letter of complaint to the branch manager the beginning of last week and was told they didn’t have a branch manager and that my letter would be forwarded to the Complaints Department.

On Friday . . . I got a phone call from someone with a heavy non-English accent who clearly didn’t know a thing but what was in front of him on his computer screen and who asked me a lot of ‘security’ questions that I didn’t want to answer over the phone to—who was this person?  He could be some joker with his ear to the virtual wire for people in bank trouble who are likely not to be thinking too clearly and are only too anxious to be helped.  So, since I wasn’t cooperating, he told me he would send me questions by post next Tuesday.  Which would be today.  Whatever he’s sending me only started on its journey today.†  Which means that absolutely nothing has happened so far except that my bank doesn’t give a sh*t.  Oh yes, and the overseas call centre racket?  My bank has made a great fuss a little while ago about how its customer service departments are all in the UK.  Okay, my guy could have been born in Manchester and be working in London—if there’s a large ethnic population around you presumably you may grow up and retain your parents’ and grandparents’ speech patterns—but that’s not the first thing you think of when someone who sounds like he’s calling from an overseas call centre, complete with semi-subdued racket of other people and other computers in the background, calls you.

It was Bank Holiday Monday yesterday.  Today I should have been first in the queue at my local managerless branch office.  But I didn’t sleep last night and I was staggering around trying to get my eyes unstuck and the hellpack hurtled because Fiona and I were going to make what passes in our case for an early start and not only did I not get to the bank but I broke my favourite jar†† instead of putting freshly roasted mixed nuts, heavy on the cashews and Brazil nuts, in it which is what I meant to be doing, and spent twenty minutes sweeping up broken glass, patting around for the bits I missed, bleeding, and worrying about the bits I had still missed that the hellcritters would find.

What with one thing and another Fiona and I got off about an hour late.  Then things seemed to go right for a while:  we didn’t get lost on the way to the yarn shop and we settled in for the duration and I hadn’t even noticed what time it had got to be till Fiona pointed out the shop was closing in ten minutes.  So I took my really very conservative purchases, or would-be purchases, up to the counter.

While I’m waiting for my financial life to calm down I am only using one credit card.  A brand shiny new one, and attached by direct debit to the new account that is causing all the problems—but which should have all my money in it.  I’m still a little twitchy about having learnt the PIN number on the new card.  But the PIN went through fine.

The card was declined.

Robin goes into grey slightly hallucinatory dissociative shock. †††

We drove home in a somewhat subdued mood.  Over Peter’s roast chicken I tried the card again, on line.‡

It was declined again.

The customer service phone number on the card wasted five minutes of my time jumping me through robot menu hoops before they decided THE OFFICE HAD CLOSED FORTY FIVE MINUTES AGO.

And the hellhounds didn’t eat supper.

I don’t think I’m getting much sleep tonight either.

* * *

* Fiona’s coinage [so to speak].  She was trying to blame it on her.  Gallant but mistaken.

** This might just conceivably have some input to the way the ME is behaving lately.

*** Most of these are automatic about stuff I think I have already dealt with and have either been switched or resubmitted, but every one of them still freaks me out big time and requires another phone call . . . which may or may not be (eventually) answered by a human being I can talk to and who may be able to look my details up and reassure me that the changes have gone through.  But . . . I don’t yet know if what I’ve changed is going to work since most of the regular stuff—utilities and so on—is only presented once a month and it hasn’t been another month yet.  Not to mention the fines I will be liable for for missing a payment.  Which I want the sodding bank to reimburse.

† This is of course assuming he is legit.

†† Thirty or forty years old and from Maine.  It’s not like I’m going to go on line and find a replacement straight off.

††† Fiona offered to put it on her card and we could sort it out later but I was way too freaked out.  Although I admit I’m still thinking about those orphan skeins of Manos del Uruguay and Artesano.  They had ‘cowl’ written all over them.  Two cowls.  One per skein.  Sigh.  And cheap leg warmer yarn on sale. . . .

‡ Ordering small folding scissors.  Why doesn’t every yarn store/yarn site in existence have these as standard equipment?  Tape measure, stitch counter, scissors that don’t stab holes in your project bag.  I found these on a cross stitch site.


Please join the discussion at Robin McKinley's Web Forum.