Oy the tsuris

So I bought a new desk, it required much putting-together except – it wouldn’t actually allow itself to be put-together. It fought us tooth and nail and won! The thing is – I bought online from Wayfair and nowhere in the description did it say that this piece was by Sauder. Now if I had know that I would never have bought it because Sauder furniture is the worst – been there, did that, was not happy (or successful).

I complained to Wayfair and after a bit of back and forth emails they refunded my money! And I don’t have to return the desk, which is a good thing because, for one thing, it is now in the trash. So good stuff all around, right?

Except that – last night I did a quick check of my email, just before I was to start making dinner, and discovered a notice from my credit card company that new charge was posted to my account – the thing was, I didn’t make that charge! So I immediately called the credit card company (Capital One) and protested. They insisted they would have to close the card down.

Here comes the Oy! – I have lots and lots of services billed directly to my credit card. Capital One says I should have the new card in hand by tomorrow so there is several hours of changing billing information ahead of me.

Here are the take-aways:

1. Always contact customer service if you are not happy with a product or service. I know, I know – it can be a real PITA but it’s worth it – totally. The only negative/unproductive customer service experience I’ve had lately is with a company called Brooklinen. Total crap product and they’re response was that they would replace the crap with more crap. Not happy with them.

2. The only places I have used my credit card in the last week has been Amazon and, wait for it – Wayfair. So if I got hacked Wayfair was the only place it could have happened. I shall not be shopping with Wayfair again.

3. Also – if you have more than one credit card, use the one that gets you the most return ie: cash back etc for trusted purchases and the other for use with places that you are not so sure of. I use my American Express for those purposes since AMEX only gives points, which are useless to me, and Capital One gives me cash back. (I thought Wayfair could be trusted, obviously I was wrong.)

4. The most important – Make sure you have alerts set on your credit cards and banks. Sure you might get a lot more emails – like every time you use your cards or your bank but so much better to almost instantly know if there is unauthorized use of your cards or banking info. So Much Better! Set up those alerts – Now.

I’ve got my credit alerts set at $10.00, I think I will change that to $1.00.

Profit from my mistakes people.

5

This morning during that time between full sleep and full wakefulness the number 5 came into my mind. I had this internal conversation with myself about the number 5 – that it was such a nice number. A cozy number. A happy number, and, of course, a prime number.  I do like prime numbers.

I put no more credence in numerology than I do in astrology  but I’d rather play with numerology than with astrology.  We humans are always looking for significance and meaning, hoping, I guess, to make sense of life.

Oddly enough, about the number 5, is that my birth names each have 5 letters, I’ve always liked the symmetry of that. 3 names, 5 letters each for a total of 15. All prime numbers. Nice.

Aha – but in numerology one always reduces numbers to one digit – so 15 is 1+5 which equals 6, which is not a prime number. So sad.

The numbers 11, 22 and 33 are never reduced to one digit because they are considered master numbers, nay, even magical numbers. I always knew that about 11 and 22, learning 33 was also in that category is new information for me.

When you are playing with numerology the first characteristic you calculate is your Life Path number, and mine is 11. Yes! A life path number of 11 is awesome.

“Individuals with the Life Path number 11 are very intuitive, in fact it is the most intuitive of all numbers. They are sensitive and have a great understanding of others, and can sense a great deal about what is going on behind the scenes. For example, they will pick up on people’s relationships and health without being told anything. They are here to use their gifts of intuition, and sensitivity to help others.

Life path of 11 has the qualities of the number two magnified. If you have this number you are spiritually aware, a visionary, inspiring, charismatic, inventive, a dreamer, idealistic, and a deep thinker, and you rely on faith rather than logic to deal with the life and all it has to offer”

If you want to play the numbers game try this site.

But here’s an interesting thing – let me know if you do this too – I ascribe qualities to numbers.  The number 5 is cozy, happy, nice.  I think of the number 5 and I automatically smile. It’s a feel good number, to me anyway.

So – what’s your number?

Grateful vs. thankful

“Grateful or thankful? from English Grammar Today:
We use grateful to talk about how we feel when someone is kind to us or does us a favour. We usually use thankful when we are relieved that something unpleasant or dangerous didn’t happen.”

thankful-quote-say-thank-you-say-it-often-and-say-it-with-meaning-934“Thank you” is possibly my most favorite phrase. I do say it often, and I do mean it when I say it. And sometimes I say it fervently.

Scrolling through blogs, message boards, FB, the news, I am always thinking how easy my life is now and how much I am thankful for that. Some definitions for thankful say that it is interchangeable with relieved.  There is that element – relief – but for me so much more than that.

Whatever financial difficulties I have experienced in my life, and they have been many, often and disastrous, right now that is not an issue. Whew – huge feeling of relief and downright disbelief. I never thought I would be in this position. Still I pinch pennies while spending money to make my life easier – I deserve that.  I’m certainly not anyone’s idea of rich, I’m just at the level of comfortable. And that could change so quickly it doesn’t bear thinking about except that I have to. And I do. And I try to plan for that. I am more than relieved – I am thankful I can pay the bills every month with relative ease.

People talk about their health issues, and again, I am thankful that mine are not nearly so bad. None of my health issues will kill me, at least not for a long, long time if ever. This too can take a quick turn for the worse but until then – I am thankful that my health stays at a status quo I can live with. But I am more than relieved.

GratitudePerhaps I am grateful? Gratitude is a feeling (but then so is thankful, no?) Whatever positive,  good things there are in my life I don’t think they are ‘favors’ granted to me by anyone. Religious people might say some deity has favored me, but I don’t  follow that path of belief.  I’ve made an effort to get my life where it is now. And yes, bad things happen to good people but I’m not sure that the bad things that have happened were arbitrary. I do believe the bad things can mostly, and easily, be put down to my actions, or lack of them. The exception being my less than stellar, abusive parents – THAT I had no control over.

Have people been kind to me? Oh, hell yes. And I thank them, I am thankful for them. Or perhaps I am grateful for them? To them?

I am stuck with trying to figure out the difference between thankful and grateful. There is a little voice in my head that says ‘grateful’  carries a negative element. I get the feeling of subservience with that word; a feeling of ‘less than’.

Whereas ‘thankful’ just lifts me up! It is joyful, it is buoyant, it brings a sense of peace and even love.  Thankful is just a grand feeling with so many emotions attached to it. All of them positive.

Until I can work this out, I think I shall remain thankful and put grateful on a back burner of my brain. I can imagine a time when I shall have to be grateful, that time is not now.

Now is the time to be thankful with joy.

We walked up to

the little market this morning – I needed to get some eggs. A dozen jumbo eggs is $1.89 here while at the chain supermarkets jumbo eggs run well over $5. Weird. A stroll through this market is an exercise in self-control because it is a Spanish market (owned by a Chinese woman). Today I fingered a huge bag of huge chicharones, another of plantain chips which weren’t chips but thin slices of plantain processed like chips, and as always, on my way to the check-out I fondled the pineapple cake. All of it way too high calorie for me and not the healthiest but oh my, ever so tasty!

The food I miss most from my life in NYC is Puerto Rican food – aww, man it is so good! Pasteles, I always preferred the yuca ones, rellenos de papa, rice and beans with the beans cooked in a ‘sauce’ with little plantain dumplings, anything pork.  I don’t know if there was ever a restaurant that served Puerto Rican food, there should have been, there should be – so delicious and no, not really like Mexican food.

It’s a good thing we went to the market early because we have to pass Popeyes and 11am is too early for lunch but I was so tempted. Popeyes is my guilty pleasure because I sure do love fried chicken and I love Popeyes best. *sigh*

I am now craving all the foods that I do not eat. Because, you know, they are not ‘healthy’, body-wise anyway. Emotionally? Hoo-boo they are the healthiest foods in the Universe because they make me happy. When my paternal grandmother was in her late 70’s a doctor told her she should lose some weight and she laughed at him and the idea, saying “So – they’ll need 8 people to carry my casket”

So what age do I have to be to not care how much I weigh, and get to eat all the foods that make me happy?

Upsides

In preparation for the kitchen reno we have been clearing out closets and the storage cage to 1. get rid of things so we will have room to store (temporarily) everything in the kitchen and 2. have room in the storage cage for furniture and stuff that we have to (temporarily) clear out of the dining/living/office space.

Our house in Philadelphia had 11 foot ceilings on the first floor and 10 foot ceilings on the second floor – that is a boatload of wall space and the place looked like an art gallery. When we moved here I didn’t put up all of our ‘art’ work, in fact I hung absolutely nothing in my office and nothing in the bedroom. The living/dining room is chock-a-block, as is the hallway.

We pulled out a box of ‘art’ from storage, and another small box from a closet and started sorting through. My husband tossed some framed photos that belonged to him and I tossed some framed photos that belonged to me – they were amateur snaps nothing professional like all my other framed photos. I used to collect masks and there were a few that no longer captured my fancy and one that had been a gift and had never been on display because it was unappealing, so we tossed those.

My husband has his work area in a corner of the living room and I made him put up professionally framed photos of his family. Two of his treasured photos didn’t make to his ‘gallery’ – one of his mother and one of his late sister.  The frames they were in were dimestore frames, old and falling apart

The big box held some of my personal treasures, and while I knew they were there, and I occasionally missed them I just never made an effort to take them out and hang them. Yesterday and today that all changed. Let me show you…

This is a huge piece – the t-shirt was a gift from Nick’s daughter, I actually wore it many times because it absolutely delighted me. My husband had it framed for me…this is so me, right?
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This is a pencil/charcoal(?) picture I bought, already framed, from a yard sale for $5. I just like it. It is of a famous bookshop in Paris where all the famous jazz age babies and writers hung out.
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Then there are these two – the one on the right is an oil on canvas that Nick bought for me as an ‘anniversary’ present, from the artist, at an art fair in Washington Square Park. And the one on the left is a watercolor called ‘Moon over New York City’ that I bought from the artist, already matted and framed, for a whopping $20 when I was on vacation in NYC. She was selling her work on the sidewalk, a few blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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And finally, finally – this photograph. Yes, it is a photo. When I showed it to my husband he asked “Is that a painting?” You might have noticed that I’ve mentioned how something was framed. And there is a reason for that. I’ve had this photo for several years now, always intending to have it professionally framed and matted but my frame shop went out of business and I could never figure out how to buy frames online and I usually want my art matted.

The photo is by my friend Lisa Ceaser an incredibly talented outdoor/landscape photographer. I’ve purchased photos from her and always had them professionally framed, this was the lonely one, much loved but unframed. Until now.

Yesterday we hung my husband’s treasured photos in their crummy frames and I felt bad for him. I went searching for frames online and found some that looked okay. I still prefer photos matted but I wasn’t going to get super picky about this. Something nice would have to do. And I wanted them now. Amazon came through for a change with next day delivery and today my husband’s photos look ever so much nicer. While I was frame shopping for my husband I decided to see if I could find a frame for Lisa’s photo – it’s an odd size – 12 inches square. Success! And now this love of a photo is in my living room…
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