Tag: money

on building new routines…

A lot has happened over the last week. We found a new housemate and got her approved with the landlord. That was the number one task on my to-do list and a big weight off my shoulders. I’m excited for her to move in, she manages a nearby wine shop, and seems like a lot of fun. I think we’re going to have a pretty good house between the three of us there.

Over the long weekend, I had a friend visit from the Seattle area. She’s someone I’ve known since high school and is going through period of change and discovery of her own. It was nice to have late night conversations talking about life, love, and finding direction. She might not know it…but our conversations definitely gave me stuff to think about as I contemplate the next steps in my life. For me, one of the best things about her visit was just having someone over to continue the process of making memories in the house that belong just to me.

I’ve explored places to build new routines over the past week or so as well. I’ve rediscovered a coffee shop that will be a great option for weekend morning coffee outings. It opens early and is close enough that I actually even want to bike there (there are actually a few places in that neighborhood that I hope to spend some time at this summer). I started meal planning again this week. While I’m already off schedule because of a great BBQ with some of my soccer family, I had actually planned for that as well by not specifically planning things later in the week. It’s still going to take some getting used to planning meals for one (and especially improving my veggie intake) but I’m starting to return to normal.

I did buy myself a present over the weekend:

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Living the hard life

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My current housemate has a similar hammock, and it looked so comfortable I just couldn’t pass up the great deal on Amazon when I saw it on Saturday. It arrived on Monday (yes Amazon has the USPS delivering on holidays now too) and I spent a good few hours reading and napping in it Monday afternoon. Its going to be great having it this summer, both for back yard relaxing, and hiking/camping.

So what’s next? Now that finding a housemate is behind me, my next goal is working on improving my job/career/financial situation. My current position is through a temporary agency and I am definitely underemployed in it. The company my assignment is at is also still trying to figure out its structure after being acquired last year. While there is a lot of confidence that the jobs will stay here in Portland, they could just as easily be absorbed by another site elsewhere in the US. Like most everything else in my life, I’m looking for stability (at least as much as possible), and I just don’t feel comfortable yet at my current assignment. I also need to find a position where I can get decent health insurance in my own name (as my current health insurance will go away at an as of yet unknown date). Beyond that, I’m not entirely sure what I’m looking for. It’ll be something to concentrate on in counseling over the next few weeks.

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The $130 piece of cake

Near the end of work last Friday, one of my co-workers sent out an email offering luxury suite tickets to the LA Kings hockey game Saturday night.  Since I haven’t yet been to an event at Staples Center (or an NHL game) and it was an opportunity to see a game from a luxury suite, I grabbed two of the tickets.

So on Saturday, a friend and I went to the game.  One of the perks (as described by one of my roommates) of the luxury suites, is the dessert cart that goes around to all the suites.  When it came around, I asked my friend if she wanted something, which she did.  A decent sized slice of a “S’Mores” Cake.  Prior to the game, I had stopped at an ATM to get some cash…just in case we wanted something from concessions.  Of course, since I was prepared with cash, the cart didn’t take cash…only cards.  So I gave the guy my debit card and he authorized it (and I signed) for $9.98.  A little spendy…but it was a decent sized slice of cake.  Anyway, the game went on…the Kings beat the St. Louis Blues 5-3…and I took my friend home.

Sunday night, I’m out checking out a different friends artwork at a gallery opening and I get a call from my credit union.  They are calling to check about possible fraudulent activity on my card.  There are two charges on my card for Saturday night from Levy Restaurants @ Staples Center.  One is the pre-authorization of $9.98…the other was a settled charge of $130.11.  I explain to the person on the phone that I had authorized $9.98, but not the $130.11.  They told me that since it was a merchant dispute, I’d have to contact the credit union during regular business hours to dispute it.  When I get home and look at the receipt (to see if there is any contact info)…the phone number listed is 310-XXX-XXXX.  Looking online, comes up empty as well (only a corporate office number in Chicago).

Monday morning, I call into the credit union as soon as they open at 8.30am.  I get told by the phone representative that I need to fill out a form and fax it in.  I do this, and call back about 45 minutes later to verify receipt of the fax and to see when a credit will be processed.  This second rep is not able to verify receipt of the fax (just that it wasn’t sitting on the fax machine) and tells me that it could take up to 5 business days to process a provisional credit.  I tell the rep that it is unacceptable and that I’d like to speak to someone higher up.  The rep transfers me to voice mail of the Manager of Central Operations “Tom” and I leave a message requesting a call back today.

Before lunch, I still haven’t heard back, so I call again and this time I’m transferred to the voice mail of Sylvia, apparently the only person that processes these disputes.  Again, I leave a message requesting a call back today.

I call back again after lunch, talk to a different phone rep, ask for a supervisor and again get transferred to Tom’s voice mail.  I leave a second message.

Having not heard anything yet, around 3pm I call again.  This time the phone rep tells me that I’ve filled out the wrong form.  I press the phone rep, “Are you sure this is the right form?” as she seemed a little unsure.  I even asked if I could speak with someone who would know for sure.  After a few “hmms,” she decides that I do have the right form and lets me know to fax it in (to a different fax number that goes straight to Sylvia).  I do this, requesting a phone call for confirmation upon receipt of the fax.

Having still not hearing anything, and business hours coming to an end, I call again around 4pm.  I end up getting the same phone rep that I had talked to around 3pm.  She informs me that actually she told me the wrong thing…and it is a yet a different from I need to fill out.  I ask to speak to a supervisor but am not transferred.  Instead she suggests that I fax this new from to both the Sylvia fax number and her supervisor (who might be able to issue a provisional credit).  Again, on the fax cover sheet I request a phone call confirming receipt and I also express my frustration with the service provided today, which is causing me to seriously consider finding a new credit union.

Of course I do not get a confirmation call.  So when I leave work, I call again.  This time the phone rep does confirm that the supervisor received the fax (though doesn’t confirm Sylvia received it).  By then the business day is almost over and I’m pretty much out of options for the day.

Later in the evening, I file a complaint about Levy Restaurants at Staples Center with the BBB.  I also write down my notes for a letter to the President/CEO of the credit union.  I decide to wait until Tuesday to actually write the letter though (because I was so frustrated Monday night).  Below the cut, I’ll paste the letter I submitted and his response.  As of now, besides his email response, the issue has not been resolved and I have not been contacted by anyone from credit union.

**update 3:59pm**
Just received a voice mail from the credit union.  They apologized for the issues and want me to call back.  So once I get out of work, I’ll call back and talk to them (I’ve got a direct number this time.  In the meantime…a provisional credit has been issued.  That credit will likely be reduced by the original amount authorized once Levy @ Staples responds…but whatever.

**update #2 5:10pm**
Talked to Sandy from the credit union.  Says part of the problem was a training issue and she’ll work on correcting that.  Apologized for the frustration they caused.  They’ll keep me up to date with any news from Levy @ Staples.

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