Sunday, January 30, 2011

Picture Day at Bye, Bye Pie!

Target Steve and Steve's wife, Beth, at The Target 11:35 a.m. EST. 

Steve didn't have to work today he just ALWAYS dresses in red and khaki.  Steve and I both have a pimple on our noses for picture day. 

We posed under the LOVE sign 'cause we love all y'all.  XXX OOO.  The hugs are for Siren.  The 'cause is for June. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why I hate debit cards

January 25, 2011

Today is my 46th birthday and it is off to a great start.  I do not care about my birthday since I have had quite a few of them now.  They also started to take on less significance once Beth refused to honor my only yearly birthday request:  a coupon allowing me to "pick my position".  (If you know what I mean).  As it turns out, her position on my position was that I should feel darn lucky to be able to get with that at all, so back off on the weird requests.  Point taken.

So as for my birthday's great start today, I have just returned from spending two hours at The Target on my day off fixing an issue with a guest.  Due to this issue, I am going to step on my soap box and speak to you of the evils of debit cards. 

Creeeeeeeeeek.  That was the sound of a 46 year old dude stepping up on a box.

I will not give you all the details of what led to this guest issue other than to tell you that she did nothing wrong and the errors that occurred at Target included one honest mistake and one clerical error performed by someone trying to fix the honest mistake.  However, the end result was a bad charge on the debit card which led to an overdraft fee.

Issue number one involved the use by the guest of one of those Visa GIFT cards.  I know that these are well-meaning gifts, one step above giving someone a lottery ticket as a gift (seriously, do you really want them to win?), but they can cause some problems when you use them.  Please do not ever use these gift cards for a purchase that you may ultimately need to return.  Using them at restaurants or for gas purchases are perfect solutions to using one of these things, especially if you can be trusted to keep track of how much your remaining balance is.  However, if you use the whole balance at a retailer for an item, and then go to return that item, the systems in place at most retailers will probably default to putting the refund amount back on the original form of purchase-the gift card.  Did you hang onto it after you used it?  No, probably not.  Will you be on the ball enough when you make the refund to let the cashier know that the original "Visa" was a gift card that you no longer have and that the refund amount should be in the form of a store credit?  Probably not.  Don't get mad at the cashier, they are seeing a message that says "Visa credit".  They cannot tell that the "Visa" was a gift card.  the same goes with the AMEX gift cards as well.  Actually, if memory serves, AMEX calls theirs gift cheques or something way fancy.

Issue number two, and one that is more common, is the use of debit cards.  I know that they seem like a more responsible alternative to running up a balance on a credit card, and that credit cards are the scourge of existence to all the financial issues the nation is facing today, but it still comes down to the user and the systems that are in place.  If you are the type of debit card user who spends all the pennies that are in the account tied to the debit card, you are asking for problems.

Did you know that any time that card is swiped for a purchase, even if said purchase gets voided, the amount of the purchase goes into an untouchable reserve for up to 5 days?  Did you know that the amount of time it takes for a refund amount to go back into the account takes infinitely longer than the amount if time for the money to come out of the account?


You are in line at a cash register, probably talking on your phone, or messing with your kids, or finding your card in your wallet, or trusting the cashier/store that everything will ring up correctly; when the item you thought was $40 rings up for $50.  The transaction gets totaled, you swipe your debit card, get your receipt, and then notice the price discrepancy.  You call it to someone's attention, they void the transaction, and ring it again.  You swipe again.  Your card has now been charged, not only the $40, but $90 total. 

You get home, pull up your statement on line, call the store, ask for a manager, complain that you were charged twice.  Manager says they will look into it, and actually does so.  Manager calls you back, tells you that all their paperwork says the $50 transaction was voided.  And it was.  3-4 days later, the $50 transaction drops off your account.

Why does it take this long?  You will need to check with a blogger who knows this end of it.  I just know from years of dealing with it, that it does.

So during those 3-4 days, you go to use your debit card thinking you have $50 in your account, you buy something, and then find out you have overdrawn fees because you exceeded your limit.

Do you see where this is going and the hassle you will then have to go through to recover the overdrawn fees (if at all) and straighten out the whole mess? 

Therefore, my suggestion to you, is either to not use a debit card or understand how everything works.  I would like to tell everyone to not spend money in your account when your account is dangerously close to zero, but I do realize that today's economic times are what they are.

Of course, our poor economy today is all because of credit cards.

Can someone lend me a hand getting off my soap box now?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Kathleen!

January 18, 2011

Today is my sister's 42nd birthday.  Okay, enough about that since her turning 42 means I will be turning 46 in one week.  Heavens to Mergatroid!

Speaking of getting older, I had my physical today.  I try to get one yearly now since it is part of getting a discount with my health plan, and it is a pretty good idea.  My doctor was reviewing my history and gave me the line, "don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do?" 

No, not really.  She did not break out the Adam Ant.  It also may have been considered inappropriate taken the actual meaning behind the lyrics.

The doctor I had today was not my regular doctor.  Dr Frias was booked when I was available this month, and I HAD to have my physical this month-see previous statement about health plan discount.  So I went to see Dr Markley.  Both of these fine doctors are female, and both are rather attractive.  Dr Frias is very cute, and Dr Markely is not half bad herself.  However, noticing this is not the same as noticing an attractive women at a bar or the grocery or the one in the shower downstairs right now.  Noticing that the doctor that is about to give you a physical is attractive is more like noticing that a picture at the museum is well-painted.  Nothing about a Monet will give you a woody.  Yes, I went there.  Only because Beth gives me a hard time about having an attractive female doctor on occasion.  I give her a hard time back, since Dr Frias is her doctor too.  I am always asking if I can come along for her physical exams, just in case she needs me.  She never does.

Anyway, as it turns out, my exam did not include any probing or coughing or head turning.  It was a fairly basic exam since my numbers are good right now.  I will not be writing any letters to Penthouse Forum anytime soon.  Do people still do that?  No idea.

So last night, Beth, CJ, and myself were watching TV together.  Finding a show we can all watch together can be tricky, so we went with The World's Dumbest Drivers.  It was pretty straight-forward stupid stuff, until they got to number 1.  The driver of this stolen SUV turned out to be 7 years old.  When stopped by the police, he said he had taken the car cause he was mad at his momma.  He wanted to go out with his friends and do hoodrat stuff and she had said no.  Crashing into cars and breaking up people's stuff is fun.

So next time Beth and I are bored, we were thinking of going to the mall and getting all hoodrat up in there.  What do you say, you in?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Who's in the dawg house? Woof, woof, woof woof!

January 11, 2011  or 1/11/11

Since every one of my readers requested a picture of Beth's yoga pants, here they are:

She has a black pair and a grey pair.  Nice huh?

Speaking of wives and their hotness, I was reading an article in ESPN the magazine that was an interview between Kenny Mayne and Troy Tulowitzki.  Kenny has been on ESPN for a long time but has also appeared on Dancing with the Stars (briefly) and some commercials.  Troy is a baseball player for the Colorado Rockies who just signed a big contract.  Neither of these things is important.  The reason they are included in this blog is that Mayne asked Tulowitzki if he was proud that his wife was named by a magazine as one of the hottest wives in baseball.  His response was classic, even though he will not be getting any sex any time soon.

He responded, "If we were talking about swimsuit models, I might be proud.  But it's just a baseball website.  A lot of the wives out there aren't the greatest looking." 

Table for one at the Tulowitzki house that night.

Her name is Danyll Gammon if you want to have a look.  I used her maiden name as she may soon be going back to it.

In other, even colder news, we are having a blizzard today.  No, not the Dairy Queen kind that Beth prefers with crushed Oreos, but the snow kind.  And blizzards being relative, this one should bring us 2-4 inches of snow.  It has come to town much later than originally forecasted, so Beth and CJ are at school and not having a much-anticipated snow day.  For those of you who live up North, a snow day with 2-4 inches sounds ridiculous, I'm sure.  But here in the Midwest, it really complicates driving.  My sister lives in Atlanta, and they had 2-4 inches followed by some ice, and the city is pretty much shut down.  I lived in Buffalo, New York for a couple (long) years, and we could have 12-14 inches of snow and there would be no cancellations.  All is relative based on how prepared the city is for such things.

So, fortunately, we convinced CJ to do his homework last night since having a snow day today would be no fun if he were doing his homework.  I wonder how many of his classmates had to scramble this morning upon awakening to no snow.

Also good, is that the school where Beth works is only a couple blocks from our house.  She did take our 4-wheel-drive vehicle to work, but she does not much enjoy driving in the snow.  She always says it is not so much her, but the other people.  I agree, but I have seen her drive on dry pavement.  I seem to be taking marital advice from Troy Tulowitzki right now, don't I?  And couldn't the article have been with someone not named Tulowitzki?  Why not Smith or Jones?  Or Day?  Have they not met my mad typing skills?  It has taken me 4 hours to keep typing Tu....oh, you know it by now.  Ironic that spell correct just had to correct the word "typoig" for me.

The other big exciting thing that happened in the our lives, was last night we went to Applebees for dinner.  Of course, for dinner.  Their dance floor is way too small.  Someone gave me a gift card for Christmas.  We LOVE food gift cards.  We love going out to eat and paying very little or nothing.  One of our favorite things.  Plus, if you don't get alcohol or sodas, you get a lot of food and pay very little.  Score!  We had not been to Applebees in a long while since there isn't one real close to our house, but the meal all three of us had last night was quite tasty.  I would recommend going there, especially when my paid endorsement comes in. 

In the mail, I'm sure.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Who has a hot wife? You bet I do! E I E I-Oh

January 10, 2011

I am in the middle of 4 days off from The Target and getting some much needed rest.  The weekend was nice with Beth and CJ and video games and Xavier basketball and NFL playoffs and church and Chipotle.  And sleep.  I have a tendency to wake up every morning around 5am, but one of the nights I did not.  I do not get up at 5am-aka the butt crack of dawn-unless I have to for work, but I do get to lay there and think about work instead of sleeping most of the time. 

The problem started when I used to have to be at work around 3am.  Even though I do not have to work that shift anymore, I did it long enough that waking up early became normal.  Fortunately, the longer I get away from that shift, the later I sleep, but the current cycle is 5am.  Soon, 5am will be part of normalness as the required get up time for old men so they can meet at McDonald's for coffee and play canasta. Or whatever game old men play at McDonald's.  Then I can get a job there so I can talk to people and not see their rolled eyes when I try to be nice to them.  Except for that one old McDonald guy who had a farm.

But I progress, which I guess to be the opposite of digressing because I was speaking of the future.

Anyway, have you seen my Bethie lately?  Hubba hubba!  She has lost, and kept off, some poundage.  I know, she was lovely before, but now she is thinner, happier, and kinda into herself.  Not into herself, like googling herself, but in the way that she does not throw things at the fitting room mirror while trying on clothes.  She has new yoga pants that make me want to try some yoga on for size.  How much weight has she lost?  Not sure, but I would guess 25 pounds or so over the past six months.  I am sure I am wrong, but maybe she will comment and let you know the specifics.  Remember that she is 5'8", so that does not mean she weighs 100 pounds now, but she looks really good.  She will also be so excited that I was talking about her weight with you all. 

So how has she done it?   Ready for the solution to all your problems-if you are overweight...though I am not saying your are...I think you look great...oh crap.

She dieted and exercised!!!  I know!  She is writing a book about it.  Check Amazon soon and you will find it under books about diet and exercise.  Not too many of those.

Okay, I just reread that paragraph and am wondering how much trouble I am going to be in from my now diva better half, but then I remembered that she is the only one that reads my blog, so I am okay.  Bethie, you look awesome.

As for me, I exercised on Saturday with CJ.  We did a 15 minute cardio workout from the Exercise On Demand cable channel.  We both finished and no one needed a defibrillator, but neither one of us was feeling great about our stamina afterwards.  And I was sufficiently sore yesterday.  Not in my legs as expected, but in my neck.  Weird.  I think it was the jumping jacks.  Yes, they still make you do jumping jacks in a workout.  Who was this original jumping Jack and why does he have such staying power?  Have jumping jacks been around longer than Jack Lalanne?  Do they go back to Jack and his nimble candle-jumping self.  That would make the actual form more challenging...ya know, having to keep your nasty bits from touching the flame.

I just got it!  Why the jumping jacks and all.  It just occurred to me that the workout we did was led by the trainer of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.  It was a dude (who has to be roiding to be that big, right?), whose name was Jay Johnson, I think. 

It was, I just googled it.  He should not be confused with Jay Johnson, the ventriloquist.  I do not know what kind of shape he or his dummies are in.  So this beefed up Jay Johnson had to train some cheerleaders.  Jumping jacks makes sense now, doesn't it?  You get it, right?  Grown hotties jumping?  Body parts bouncing?  What?  You got it the first time?  Oh, my bad.  I was picturing Beth doing some jumping jacks in her new yoga pants.  Must go google something else.  Bye for now.