Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday This and That

This is the newest little Angel in my collection.  

This is a closeup. She is so beautiful.  How could I possibly resist?

I had a very nice weekend.  On Friday I finished the Christmas decorations.  I do miss my village, but there was just no way getting around it.  It had to go.  When one makes the choice to downsize, choices have to be made, and there was just no room for it in my new home.  On Saturday I boiled the turkey bones, and on Sunday after attending church, I I put my turkey soup together.  Now all I have to do is add the rice, and our meal tonight is ready. 

Remember last week when I said I was having a stressful time, but was going to let it ruin my Thanksgiving? Well, it seem that I've run into even more problems now with my pension, and I have really had it with the union.  I think it's time to get legal representation. Two weeks ago I had been told everything was in order, and I should receive a letter any day telling me the exact amount I will be getting retroactively and when it will be deposited in my account. After that, regular pension checks will begin coming in on the first of every month. Oh, I was so happy to have this mess behind me and looking forward to having a few extra funds for the holidays. 

Nothing should go wrong now...or so I thought.  On Wednesday, a letter arrived telling me that they had the 'wrong' application on file for me, and if I could 'please' fill out the application enclosed and send it back to them they will get to work on getting my pension out to me. This will take at least 30 days after they receive it...bringing me past Christmas and most likely into January. Of course, as usual the form was not enclosed. This seems to be a regular little ploy of theirs to delay things further.

The story I got was totally unbeliveable. According to the person I spoke with, according to her records, my funds are 'in calculation', which should be the last step before my funds are mailed out, but there is a holdup because accounting picked up that I filled out the wrong form. "Wrong form? You sent it to me", I scream. "What the heck is going on?  After all the hoops you put me through to get MY money, now this? This is unacceptable, asnd has been going on too long."  My application was processed June 25th, and my pension was due to begin August 1st. This time I threaten legal action.

Very quickly I am  transferred to a  supervisor. She explains to me that yes, they did make a mistake and send me the wrong form.  It seems that one of the local unions, 144, merged with 1199 about fifteen years ago, and all employees that had been under local 144 had to fill out the application that they sent me...'but you weren't in 144 so you needed the regular 1199 form' she explains. Yes, she apologizes, I do need to fill out a new form. By now I am hysterical, literally, for now I have reached the point of tears, and once that happens, I have reached my boiling point. "Why am I being penalized for your mistakes? I did everything you asked. What do I do now for the holidays?" 

I not too nicely explain to her that due to their incompetence in sending me proof of income I have not been able to apply for food stamps and now have to pay a rent increase because I had no proof of income to show SCRIE, the organization that would have paid my increase for me.  Now I have to wait until next December. Grrrr!!!!

Then, later in the afternoon I receive a call from a man with a heavy Indian accent who tells me he is from Microsoft, and that malicious content has been showing on my computer.  "What?  In 9 years I never heard from Microsoft.  Why now?"  I respond.  He doesn't reply to that.  Instead, "if you go to your computer, I will show you where it is and we can get rid of it."  "My computer is off and it takes 15 minutes to warm up." I say.  "Well, can I call you back in 15 minutes?"  "You can," I reply, "but if you know what's good for you you won't.  I'm not in a very good mood right now, and I do not appreciate your trying to scam me."  He promptly hung up. 

That's one of the latest scams going around, so beware.  Someone calls and says they are from Microsoft to tell you you have a virus or malicious content on your computer.  They then get the unsuspecting victim to allow them remote access to their computer, and that's it, your hacked.  Or they place a program on your computer which they then try to bill for. It takes all kinds. 

I was watching the news the other morning and was sickened by those throngs of Black Friday shoppers.  In one scene they showed the store opening and the throngs pouring in like animals, wide-eyed and frenzied,  in search of prey. The bickering, the physical fighting, the father who left his baby in the car so he could shop.  Disgusting. 'Black' is truly the correct word for  a day that brings out this dark side of humanity.  What I saw was humanity at its worse. Old fashioned human greed and gluttony.  In fact, studies have shown that at least 50 percent of those rabid, wild-eyed shoppers are not shopping for gifts for others, but rather for themselves...and for things they don't even need. And now it has gotten worse.  Now it begins on Thanksgiving, a day which was once reserved as a day to give thanks for our blessings as we spend quality time with our family friends. 

And one may say the retailers are at fault, but it's the shoppers who who are really to blame.  If they chose instead to stay home and enjoy this extra day of family time, the stores would have no reason to open.  It's like I used to tell my clients when they relapsed and told me that their friends were using and it was too tempting.  My response was, 'No one twisted your arm to use, though.  It was your choice.' And that is the same with Black Friday.  No one is 'forcing' the shoppers to go.  It is their choice.

When I was growing up, there was no such thing as 'Black Friday'.  Stores remained closed, and most of us did a whole lot of nothing. Fortunately, there are still many of us who believe that the old ways are the better ways and  that there so much more to life than the materialism that has overtaken our society.  I chose to spend Thanksgiving Day with my family and later that evening, we decorated my tree.  On Friday, I decorated the rest of the room, rest, read, and ate leftovers.  No Black Friday for me.  They can keep it. It's an old-fashioned Thanksgiving for me.

It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly. 

 Any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol: you want it not for itself, but because it will content your spirit for the moment. 
Mark Twain


  1. mary, arrrgggghhh I feel your pain. That post made me so mad. And I agree that they "forget" to put in a form or whatever to stall people. It's crazy. I agree with you re: black friday. Around here, most of the time, the local stores close at 5PM and everyone complains, yet no one shops at night. I think it's great to close at five and close sundays. Even those who are not around during the weekends have Saturdays. I mean, how much time do you need to shop? (we are not talking food stores here either - they are open later.) This obsession with shopping and black friday behavior is as you say disgusting.

  2. I sure hope they get your pension straightened out soon, Mary. What an aggravation!

    Your new angel is gorgeous -- love those wings!

  3. Beautiful new angel! :). And turkey and rice soup is splendid. So warm and comforting.

    I think it's time for you to hire an attorney. It really is...