I Believe Sheldon Was Right, The ATMs Are Starting To Rise Up

“I don’t trust banks. I believe that when the robots rise up, ATMs will lead the charge.”
~ Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory

• • •

HEY! DID YOU KNOW… that an ATM can take your card away from you? A legitimate card that you’ve had for a while? A card that attaches to an account that has your money in it?

Well, it can. And one did.

Here’s what happened: I drove to our local bank branch, got into the stay-in-your-car ATM lane, got to the machine, put my bright red ATM card into the machine– and WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM the machine ate my card.

Just. Like. That.

The message on the ATM screen said that my card had been confiscated for security reasons and that I needed to contact my financial institution for further assistance.

Considering that I was at my financial institution I found this message ludicrous.

Annoying.

Off-putting, even.

• • •

• • •

SO I SWORE AT… the ATM, as one does, then I drove around to the front of the bank, found a parking spot, got out of my car, wandered into the bank branch, waited in line– and finally got to a teller.

This teller, a pleasant woman, told me that the bank doesn’t want its customers to use our old bright red ATM cards, so the bank is confiscating them when you try to use one. Thereafter, I was quickly issued a new light blue ATM card that the bank wants me to use.

Uh huh.

And it worked when I used it so… *yay* I guess.

• • •

• • •

BUT HERE’S THE THING… what if I’d been on vacation when this happened?  Or at the airport stuck waiting for a flight? Or I needed the cash immediately for some reason*?

What would have happened then?

The reality is that I would have been in dire straits through no doing of my own– all because the bank, who has my money, doesn’t like the ATM card it issued to me.

So instead of just sending me a new card, the bank decided that it’d be better to risk my safety and experience my ire, than waste the money on an envelope and postage to send me a new light blue ATM card.

That gets me to my money.

All of which has me thinking that Sheldon might be onto something, ‘ya know?

• • •

* Actual real-life examples of when I needed cash now:

  1. in the hospital emergency waiting room late at night by myself, hungry, in need of cash to use in the vending machine
  2. in a foreign country too tired to use public transit back to hotel, in need of cash to use to take a taxi
  3. at a local art show, having found a beautiful piece of art, in need of cash to buy it from the person who made it

Images courtesy of Library of Congress: |1| |2|

Carelessness, Coupons, And Cake– OH MY!

It would seem that at some point in the recent past we stole our neighbor’s mail.  Well, we didn’t intentionally steal it as much as we accidentally acquired their mail.

My defense for this lapse is that we aren’t mail thieves, per se, as much as distracted, pre-elderly homeowners who assume any and all mail in our mailbox is, indeed, our mail.

But that assumption would be wrong. Oh yes, so wrong.

In fact, I wouldn’t have noticed this theft accidental acquirement if not for the good old coupons.  You know, the paper kind that come in the mail IF you’re a Kroger Plus Customer.

I’m talking about the ones that are specifically sent to you because you buy the same stuff over and over.

# # #

Look at those shopping carts all lined up. So tidy.  {Photo via Pixabay by Michael Gaida}

# # #

IT’S LIKE THIS, my gentle readers: the other day I went to get our mail from our mailbox and I see that our monthly Kroger Plus Customer coupon envelope is among the letters/junk mail in my hand.  I go inside the house, open the envelope, whereupon I feast my eyes on our very special and specific coupons.

[Some of which are for FREE money off your order if you spend a certain amount of money at the checkout.  This is normal.]

But it dawns on me that just a few days before Zen-Den had retrieved the mail from the mailbox, opened what he assumed was our Kroger Plus Customer envelope and left the coupons on the kitchen counter for me to file.

Which I hadn’t done yet.

Suddenly I start looking at these coupons on the counter, thinking how peculiar it is that we have coupons for Hubba Bubba bubble gum, and Annie’s Organic Cinnamon Rolls with Icing, and Simply Potatoes frozen potatoes. Items we don’t buy. Ever.

[I also notice that the FREE coupons are for things like Betty Crocker cake mix, not for FREE money.  That’s not our normal.]

# # #

Look at Barney Kroger, founder of the Kroger supermarket chain. So dapper.  {photo source here via Library of Congress}

# # #

SLOWLY IT DAWNS on me that the coupons we have sitting on our kitchen counter are someone else’s coupons.  And because the envelope that these coupons came in is long gone, there’s no way to return the coupons to them.

Meaning, of course, that we, the Beans, jointly and severally, are miscreants of the lowest order, stealing [acquiring?] grocery coupons from our neighbors, like we’re two addled-brained overwrought suburbanites without the sense to read the front of an envelope.

Which clearly we are… but does not necessarily mean that we’re above using an accidentally acquired coupon to get a free box of cake mix.

Because, you know, CAKE!

Out For A Walk, Learning That Sometimes It’s Difficult To Go Home Again

THE OTHER AFTERNOON having taken a walk around the neighborhood, I stopped at our mailbox that is down by the street to collect our mail before walking up our driveway to the house.

With the sun directly in my eyes, looking down at the mail in my hands, I heard them before I saw them.

The first one, who was standing in the middle of our driveway, was older, a little plump, with a collar– and snarling at me.

Teeth exposed. Tail down.

The second one, who was running up from the ravine behind our house and heading toward our driveway, was barking loudly and appeared to have me in his sights.

That one was collar-less.

🏘️ 📪 👀 🐶 🛑

NOW I’VE HAD stray &/or lost dogs block my driveway before, but those dogs were friendly with tails wagging. Cheery fellows looking for a little pat on the head.

Not these two.  They were menacing. On my property. Between me and the front door.

So, with my heart pumping about 2,000 beats per minute, I moseyed myself slowly back down the driveway, then stood in the middle of our completely, utterly empty street, looking at our front door while contemplating what to do… what. to. do.

⭐️📱💭 🏡 🔑

TRYING NOT TO give into despair, and wondering if there’s an app I should have on my smart phone for this sort of circumstance, an idea dawned on me.  A solution so obvious.

And effective, I hoped.

Thus it came to be that I shouted at these two wolf wannabes to: GO HOME.

They both stopped in place, looked at each other, looked back at me– then ran off in different directions, presumably to their respective homes.

And what did I do?

I ran through the grass directly to the front door, still clutching the mail, key ready to unlock the door quickly.  Then once inside the house I slammed the door shut and thanked my lucky stars that the doggies in my path were all show, no go.

When One Doth Use The Snot Out Of Something

I love when the absurd intersects with the ridiculous, and everything suddenly makes sense. 

 { Classic TV: Catch the toast. Kiss the grapefruit. }

~ ~ ~ ~

I.  Years ago Zen-Den and I were walking around a discount mall complex.  It was crowded, we were walking slowly, and we chanced to overhear part of a serious conversation between two people who we didn’t know.

What we heard was: “We used the snot out of those oven mitts.”

We started laughing because neither one of us could imagine a scenario where you’d say this sentence with such earnestness.  Of course Z-D and I, being who we are, immediately adopted this sentence as our favorite inside joke that means absolutely nothing, but it’s darned funny to say.

Don’t judge.

~ ~ ~ ~

II.  I’ve been cooking and baking more this winter than usual. We didn’t decorate the house for the holidays, but instead I decided to be festive and make some foods that we especially like: stews, soups, casseroles, breads, biscuits.

Even though the holidays are over now, I’ve just kept on cooking.

All was going well in my happy little cooking world until our last oven mitt ripped in two.  This left me with one square potholder and a dish towel to use when getting food out of the oven, and off the top of the stove.

I adapt. No big deal, right?

~ ~ ~ ~

III.  It didn’t concern me to not have any oven mitts because I was making do with what I had.  It was only when Zen-Den walked into the kitchen and asked me what I was doing that I began to realize that this conversation was going to go somewhere funny.

I got the giggles but was able to explain the situation to him, and for the first time ever I was able to say in all truthfulness: “We used the snot out of those oven mitts, didn’t we?”

Thereby using our favorite absurd overheard sentence in a non-ironic way to describe the present ridiculous situation– and to finally understand why anyone would say that sentence to begin with.

Life is good.

Saturday Morning At The Grocery: Of Red Blazers And Rousing Enthusiasm

You know, my gentle readers, that you can always count me in for some harmless unexpected looniness…

•  Walking into our small town Kroger on Saturday morning around 11:30 a.m. I chanced upon a group of people, clapping loudly, who were, depending on your point of view, blocking my path OR gathering together in the floral department to watch an important event.

[I’ll go with the latter explanation.]

Looking in the direction that everyone was looking, I saw 8, maybe 10, little old white-haired ladies, all dressed in bright red blazers. Some of the ladies were in wheel chairs. Some, seated on folding chairs, had their walkers beside them. A couple were standing on their own.

Despite their matching crimson attire, these little old ladies didn’t look they were emissaries from the Devil sent to steal my soul, so I decided to join in and clap too.

# # #

# # #

 Naturally I wanted to know what was going on, so I continued to watch.  First, an older gentleman, our MC, dressed to the nines in his Sunday best, mumbled something into a microphone… and we all clapped and nodded in agreement with him.

Then with a dramatic flourish of his arms, which left him wobbly, he pulled a shiny white polyester tablecloth off an easel that was tucked in among the roses. Being a latecomer to this event I hadn’t noticed the easel before, but I could tell that underneath that tablecloth was a piece of art.

The crowd, upon seeing the art, oohed and aahed… and we all clapped enthusiastically.

The MC, still tottering, then presented a large award plaque, presumably for first place in whatever this event was about, to one of the little old ladies… and we all clapped and smiled in her direction.

Continuing on, he slowly handed smaller awards to the other little old ladies in the bright red blazers… and we all clapped as each individual received her award.

# # #

# # #

 Now I know it’s often said that kids today get too many participation trophies that devalue the winner’s accomplishment, while falsely inflating the value of everyone else’s contribution.  And that may be true.

But after seeing the joy on these little old ladies’ faces, I’m going to suggest that when it comes to a Senior Citizen Art Event In The Floral Department Of Your Local Grocery, it hurts no one to give participation plaques to everyone involved.

Especially when each recipient, upon receiving a plaque, grins like the cute kid she used to be.

Pillow Talk: Of Snowy Nights and Annoying Logic

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT I woke up with itchy eyes.  I have lots of boring medical problems with my eyes so this happens.

Downstairs on the kitchen counter was a bottle of prescription eye drops that I knew would relieve my itchy eyes, but it was all. the. way. downstairs. and I was toasty warm in our bed upstairs.

Botheration.

However, I couldn’t get back to sleep so I begrudgingly got up and went downstairs at 3:00 a.m. to instill [that’s medical lingo!] a drop in each eye.

Of course while I was downstairs waiting for the drops to do their thing, I glanced out the window to see what was happening outside.

Curiosity.  Or habit.  Maybe both.

I dunno for sure, but I took a look-see.  Just ‘cuz.

~ • ~

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-21-45-am
Is this me OR is this a showgirl featured in a promotional photo for the New York World’s Fair (1939-1940)? { source }

~ • ~

ABOUT FIVE MINUTES LATER I WENT back upstairs to bed where I thought I quietly slipped into bed again.  But apparently my blanket shuffling was more disruptive than I realized and I awakened Z-D.

After politely inquiring if I was “ok” Z-D, who knows my habits, asked what the weather was like outside.  I told him that it had snowed, but that it had only snowed on the grass, not on the sidewalk, driveway, and street.

He mumbled: “that can’t be.”

I assured him that was what had happened outside.  It had snowed on the lawn, not on the hard surfaces.  I’d seen it.

Again he said: “can’t happen.”

Then he rolled over away from me taking the covers with him and began to snore.  I would have ignored him entirely but he had swiped too much of the blanket and I wanted my part back.

~ • ~

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-29-56-am
Is this our bedroom OR is this a photo from the New York World’s Fair (1939-1940) Town of Tomorrow Exhibit? { source }

~ • ~

SO I TUGGED ON THE BLANKET which roused him again.

At which point, in his sleepy daze as if the conversation about the weather was still ongoing, he said to me: “you’d have to be some kind of stupid to not know that snow falls on everything outside.  It just doesn’t land on the grass, it falls on hard surfaces, too, where you don’t see it because it’s melted.”

And with that he fell fast asleep, leaving me, the stupid person, to realize that: 1) he was absolutely right;  & 2) I had no more interest in talking to him if he was going to use annoying old logic.

I mean, really– this is a man who can’t find his car keys at noon when they’re on the kitchen counter right in front of him, but he can tap into meteorological reasoning when awakened from a sound sleep in the middle of the night?

Who does that?  Honestly…

Meh.

A Sweet Story Of Canine Rebellion On A Sunny Afternoon

And this is how you meet your new neighbors…

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-34-04-am
Not our new dog friend, but a cousin, perhaps? { source }

YESTERDAY AFTERNOON ZEN-DEN AND I ARE PUTTING AWAY the outdoor furniture in the basement for the winter.

We have a walkout basement so I have the sliding door open, making it easier for me to carry the tables + chairs inside to Z-D who is placing said items just so in the storage area of the basement.

I’m walking into the basement carrying a glass-topped wicker table when a dog, with a stylish collar on, runs right by me into our basement and up the stairs into the kitchen.

Z-D with his back turned toward the door doesn’t see this happen, and I can’t move fast enough to grab the dog because I’m holding the table with a glass top that will shatter if I drop it and run after the dog.

• • •

I SHOUT LOUDLY FOR Z-D TO DO SOMETHING, and once he realizes what’s up [pun intended] he starts calling for the dog to come to him down in the basement.

In the meantime, I put down the table, run toward the stairs to go up to the kitchen, but our new dog friend, a labrador retriever-ish fellow with a positive attitude, is coming back downstairs into the basement to say “hello.”

Naturally we both tell the dog, who is an older chap, that he is a “GOOD BOY, oh. yes. you. are” because we need him to chill out and sit still so we can read what’s etched on the tag attached to his beautiful collar.

Being a cooperative fellow, the minute he hears “sit” he does so and we learn that his name is Riley, which he seems to enjoy hearing us say to him.  *tail thump, tail thump, tail thump*

• • •

SO WHILE I CONTINUE TO WHISPER SWEET NOTHINGS to Riley, Z-D calls the phone number on the collar.  He speaks with a new neighbor, a couple of streets over, who is surprised to discover that: 1) Riley is gone from her yard, & 2) he had enough spunk to go off on an adventure.

Z-D assures her that Riley, who is laying patiently on our basement floor waiting to be driven home, is fine.  And definitely here with us.

Soon thereafter our new neighbor with her son drive over to our house to pick-up Riley, who I’ve grown to love in the ten minutes we’ve spent together, and take him home.

Therein allowing us to continue to put the furniture into the basement and me to have another friendly dog to look for when I go out for my healthy walks.

~ The End ~