Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cut from the same cloth

It used to bother me when Arielle planned her future to the minute, always needing to know the next fun activity while in the midst of the current. example: We go to Disneyland (or some such place) and she wants to know "what are we going to do next?"
I always said, "Can't you appreciate THIS moment, the one for which you've been planning that last 6 months?" She said, "Mom, I always have to have something fun to look forward to."

Well amen, sister! I quit knocking this trait in her when I finally realized I do the same thing. Best way to cure the post-vacation blues? Plan the next one.

So I pleased to announce that 30 days after our return from the Oregon Coast, I have nailed down our 32nd wedding anniversary agenda.

For those of you who don't know, Kevin & I take turns surprising each other. This requires much secrecy, teasing, and inventiveness to match the yo-yo nature of our budget. We've had our adventures such as:

•sleeping in a barn
•getting deathly ill after a seafood dinner (the tuna wasn't supposed to be raw)
•riding a Grayhound bus full of white-haired seniors, older than us by decades
•celebrating Morgan's birth
•literally tasting the water at Soda Springs
•importing Mom Nelson from S. Cal for a weekend of getting-to-know-her-better
•riding the Thunder Mountain Express

This year: ha ha Like I'm going to tell. It does involve somewhere we've never been before, culinary daring, and volcanic rock.

Back to Arielle and me: Evidently we two live for the breaks in ordinary life. I've worked for CHI almost 8 years now. Previous to that I had never held a job for more than 1 year. I think it was a shock to the system to re-discover the vacation parsimony of employed life. I traded away free time for income, which income pays for my vacation fixes, pitifully parceled out though they may be. Too much irony.

In the meantime, I mapquest and drool about the keyboard in anticipation of October.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Home Federal--your're fired!

Hey Tiffany, If you read this let me know if it brings out your inner pit bull.

So--Mom Ison received her government stimulus check. On Tuesday evening, she endorsed it. I sealed it in an envelope along with a deposit slip. and dropped it in the night deposit box at Home Federal in Nampa.

Wednesday: (about noon) Mom gets a call from Angie @ Home Federal saying the envelope contained nothing but the deposit slip. Angela calls me. I call Angie at the bank. I ask her to detail their nightbox opening procedures. She says she (customer service manager) and Lead (June) are the only 2 people who work the box. Together they unlock box, take contents to a separate room, open all envelopes with a letter opener, log contents on a daily master sheet, and do the deposits. She suggests I should search mom's home and my car. I tell her this is a government check, printed on a heavier, stiffer paper stock which made the envelope heavier and I'm quite sure it still felt heavy and stiff when I dropped it in the night box. Nevertheless I will search home and car.

Naturally nothing turns up, but we have, thank goodness, saved the letter from the Treasury Dept which came with the check.
I call the 800-number and spend one hour on hold listening to continuous loops of the Blue Danube Waltz and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. A very nice Mr. Roberts finally answers and directs me to a government website from where I can download a
"Missing/Stolen" check form. He says fill it out, have mom sign it, mail back, and it will take 6 weeks to replace the check.

By the way, this is a $1200.00 check.

I call mom Wednesday evening and tell her this is the best I can do. I go to bed questioning my memory of handling the check and the bank's integrity. I handle deposits for our business all the time and am very, very precise in my procedures. There is absolutely no way the check went missing between mom's dining room table and the night box. I pray, "Heavenly Father, I know you know where that check is. Help?"

Thursday: I go to work and download the government missing check form. I am disheartened to read, "The law does not allow us to issue a replacement check if you endorsed it and someone other than you cashed the check, since that person didn't forge your signature." Great.

I call Angie at the bank again. Tell me once more your nightbox procedures. She does. Tell me what would likely happen if this endorsed check is floating around somewhere. She says mom's photo ID is required to cash it and if the culprit signed their name under mother's, Home Federal never cashes 2-party checks. Is this standard banking procedure? She says she can't speak for other banks. (and I'm thinking what about grocery stores? instant cash stores? etc etc?) I ask if she still has the envelope and deposit slip. I want to see them. (Though I don't know what good it will do. Perhaps jog my memory?)
She says yes and she will give me a photocopy of them too. I explain I intend to pursue a Stop Payment with the Treasury Dept.

I go to the bank after work and officially meet Angie. She disappears to make the photo copy, taking alot longer than necessary for a such a simple task, and returns with a very puzzled look.

Angie: Evidently I am out of the loop. We found the check and it was deposited to your mother's account 10AM yesterday.
Me: Where did you find it?
Angie: I don't know. June, who opened the nightbox with me, is in a meeting right now. When she gets out I will quiz her and call you. I'm very curious and disturbed about this. Have you requested the Stop Payment yet? If you have, it creates a whole new problem.

Of course I hadn't yet. She gives me a print-out of mom's checking acct activity of the last week so I can see evidence the check was deposited.

June calls me at home an hour later. She is groveling with apologies. "I am so so so sorry. I found the check loose in the nightbox and put it in your mom's acct and failed to tell anybody. (This means the check hit the account before Angie called mom to inform it was missing. Classic case of right hand not knowing what left hand is doing.)

Me: But how do you suppose it got loose?
June: Maybe your envelope wasn't sealed?
Me: But Angie said you open all envelopes with a letter opener. If it was unsealed, you wouldn't need to use the opener.
June: I don't know. It's standard procedure.
Me: Well, the check is back where it belongs, which is the whole point. So I'm happy and goodbye.

More apologies all around and we hung up.

Hurrah, but something still stinks in Denmark.

Had it been truly lost, the government never would have replaced it. I was pretty much resigned to kissing $1200.00 goodbye and grateful mom didn't desparately need the money. Still I would love to have been a fly on the wall in the discussion between Angie & June. And I do wonder--is it possible for a bank employee to quietly slip an endorsed check into a till and remove $1200.00 with nobody the wiser?

I still intend to use the lost check form on behalf of mom. She was supposed to receive a $250.00 social security death benefit about 2 months after dad died. It never came and I was too distracted to pursue it. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Michael Jordan Phelps

Yes--that's his name--our 20-year-old former home teacher. His sports-obsessed father named him after the BB player and 20 years later he's famous again. Our Michael Phelps is cuter than Olympic Michael Phelps and he has a better tan because he lifeguards at Wild Waters.

The Olympics are killing me. I simply cannot go to bed before midnight for 2 weeks every 4 years.

Aaron & Melanie, thanks for a great visit. I think your apartment is cute and "very adequate" (quoting Grandpa Ison--his all purpose highest compliment) The spaghetti dinner and garlic bread were delicious. I slept like a log on the squishy air mattress. I loved playing with Morgan!!! I can see how much his vocabulary and comprehension are expanding. I can imagine all sorts of fun to be had with him. As for his newly developing temper--tee hee--I'm a grandmother and am happy to enjoy you two puzzling out this stage of life. Thanks for showing me your neighborhood. It made me feel better to get you "fixed" in the world and my mind's eye.

My week was full of fun events:
WEDNESDAY: My 55th birthday. I love this age. Life just keeps getting better. We celebrated at Olive Garden.

THURSDAY: The Kiwanis Chuckwagon. Grandpa Ison bought the tickets post-humously. This year construction at the College of Idaho decimated the closest parking lots so the Chuckwagon shuttled people from the back 40 via yellow schoolbuses. Grandma was a good sport about climbing those high bus steps. I wonder if she's ever ridden a schoolbus before.

SATURDAY: Twin Falls Temple open house. Alot more kids from the ward signed up than actually showed up, so we valiant 17 didn't have to share seats. Yellow schoolbus again. If there is a way to actually get comfortable on one of those, I don't know what it is. So we bouncy-bounced to Twin and back with a 99 degree breeze flowing throughout. I did love seeing the temple though. The contrast between the Celestial room and the rooms previous was absolutely stunning. Our tour guide requested silence and even the toddler (who had chirped and jabbered during the entire tour) went perfectly still. The room emanated with a feeling of respect. After lunch, I also enjoyed winding down into the canyon to visit Shoshone Falls.

I love you 3.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

In utah

What you see is stock photo of Morgan, not the real deal.

Got in at 1AM after an 80MPH drive. Angela's twin brother was driving and since I was in the back seat I couldn't see the road and freak. Only one car tried to sideswipe us in SLC. Hey--get in your own lane mister!!! Angela has a GPS system which she named Rowena. Rowena, naughty girl, got us lost at the final 5 minutes. But then she repented and reprogrammed herself from an obscure parking and led us forth. Rowena also counts down your miles for you so you always have the answer to the question, "Are we there yet daddy?"

Aaron is planning to buy his own Rowena before the Missouri trip.

It felt very James Bondish to know a space satellite was tracking us.

I woke this morning hearing Morgan chirping, "meemee? meemee? meemee?" (mommy)
So I walked in his room. Silence. He reminded me of the wide-mouth frog's reply to the alligator. "o"

But now we are friends.

So far we are striking out on Aubrey and Tiffany.

Vampire book update: Melanie is at page 25.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hey kids!!!

All these years I thought the reason for having children was so they could do the dishes. I'll be darned. They're good for setting you up on blogs too. Thanks Arielle.

And thank you Melanie--your're my blogger inspiration. You put a new thought in my brain like hey, Jana, maybe the old dog can learn a new trick.

Hopefully Arielle can teach me how to add pictures too, another trick for the old dog. I can count on both hands the number of snapshots I've ever taken in 55 years. I've got too much of Grandpa Ison's temperment to either pose or shoot patiently.

Well kids, off with the old me. I soon expect to be butting heads with dad for computer usage.

hmmm? Does a person sign off???? wind down? salutate?