Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Happy Hanukkah

Amster and I hosted the Recurring Hanukkah Party last night.  We can't remember when we did the first one.  We know we skipped last year (COVID) and one other year (didn't feel like it), so calling it Annual is unseemly.  Still, it seems to happen (almost) every year, and people seem to like to attend, and we really enjoy the prep and the party (the cleaning up, not so much), and we are still doing it now that the oldest kids are in college - it deserves a special title.

The program is always the same.  My stash of dreidels and pennies are displayed in every Hanukkah dish and plate I owned..... owned because one of the perks of the party is that Amster stores all the stuff I've accumulated over the years.  All I have to do is show up with latkes and jelly doughnuts (thank you Dunkin' for 75 donut holes on 2 hours notice) and the story - she and her boys have done all the set up by the time I arrive.
After a brief explanation, the youngest guests gambled with pennies and fancy dreidels.  (Note the mask on the only unvaccinated attendee.)  Mr. 16 made yet another menorah at the Hanukkah Party, this time with his girlfriend by his side.  
Time passes and they all grow up, but some things never change..... like good food and good friends.

Wishing you love and light and laughter.
Happy Hanukkah!


Monday, November 29, 2021


The scotch broom is shedding its white fluff, covering the pool and the patio and ourselves with allergens.  The yellow season detritus is prettier and less sneeze-inducing.  Both turn the pool to bracken.

The weather is cooling down to the 70's from the 90's, although the 80's still make an appearance, for old times sake, I guess.  The roses are blooming, the bougainvillea refuse to wilt, and the ants are deflowering the nandina (Heavenly Bamboo) with industry and dedication.

Fall and Thanksgiving decor is now back in boxes.  Chanukah is on display.  Two menorahs, a few pretty dreidels, a pot holder and a towel is all the effort I can make this year.  My tiny pillows annoy TBG, so the sparkly menorah and Happy Hanukkah pillows are resting comfortably in their storage container.  

If we had company, I'd do more.  But this holiday is fast on the heels of Thanksgiving, with hardly any breathing space between them.  I haven't mustered my holiday spirit to encompass massive decorating.

Amster and I are hosting our (Just About) Annual Hanukkah Party this afternoon at her house.  She's doing the dinner stuff, I'm bringing the holiday.  Potato latkes, jelly donuts, apple sauce .... it will smell delicious and taste even better.  There will be modeling clay for creating home made menorahs, and dreidels to spin for pennies.  

It's a school night so the festivities will end early.  The memories, I hope, will last a bit longer.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Little Cuter made too many rolls.  I made none.  

Both JannyLou and Little Cuter had too many pies.  I had none.

My lemon tart had a strange deep yellow pool of color.  I know not why.

Queen T made a heart outlined in diced celery out of the mashed potatoes.  This was artistry, not Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters.

FlapJilly ate for 40 minutes, thus justifying the hours her mother spent in the kitchen preparing the meal.  Her brother ate nothing, preferring to do repairs on his plastic scooter with the plastic tools in his plastic tool belt.  Apparently, there were a lot of gears that needed work.

Our after dinner walk took us next door for a visit with our soon to be moving favorite neighbors and the Phoenix branch of their extended family.  Kids have a way of growing up while their parents don't change at all.

Now TBG is emptying the first load through the dishwasher while Big Cuter sets up the television so we can watch Hamilton.  

My heart and my belly are full.

Thursday, November 25, 2021


 Of all the many wonders in my life, perhaps the ones most full of wonder are you, denizens, people who take time out of their days to peek into mine.

Some of you are here every day at breakfast.  Some of you come by in the later afternoon.  

Many of you binge, a week or two at a time, and some of you read only when I'm out of town.

It doesn't matter if you are here every day or once in a while.  I am so grateful that there are those who think my thoughts are worth sharing, who laugh and cry and holler along with me.

Thank you, each and every one of you, for being here.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Small Bugs and Big Thoughts

There are fewer little black bugs when the sun isn't shining.  I have proven this, empirically, by placing my yoga mat in the same general area for three consecutive weeks.  I was enjoying the overcast sky, noticing the paucity of crawling creatures, when our Yogi called us to attention.

Welcome!  A cloudy day in Tucson..... (cue snowbirds grumbling)... and don't we love it (cue Tucsonans nodding).

Yes, we do love a change from the sunshine, but just a change.  If this goes on for another day or two we'll all begin to grumble.  But every once in a while, it's nice to be able to look up without squinting into the sun.

It wasn't cold, but it looked like sweater weather and everyone in the class had more than one layer covering their torso.  

I stood next to a pole for the balance poses, and spent some time investigating my inner self.... the one that knows I can't stand on one leg anymore.  That's not true - I've done it quite often, for minutes at a time. But since I've been perforated my mental image has shifted.  Unsure whether I can count on my body to hold me up, I default to staying safe and keep both feet planted.

I'm not thrilled with that mind set.  It gets in the way.  Yet there it is, firmly implanted, my go-to response.  I certainly don't want to fall down; the fear is valid.  But a positive attitude will bring positive results - at least in yoga - and my negativity was tilting me over on my side.

I started tree pose with my palm planted firmly on my post.  I ended with my arms above my head.  My left leg is fully capable of holding me up, of letting me bend forward - a bit - into dancer pose, and it's about time my psyche remembered that.

I give my right leg a pass on tasks like this.  It has a mind of its own, and when it's ready to hold me up it will let me know.  Today, I concentrated on all three foot centers pressing evenly into the ground as my left toes rested on the earth, my heel touching the standing ankle.

I was lost in the moment.

That's what I loved about yoga - being lost in the movement and the mental space.  For the first time in a long time I had it back.

There weren't even any little black bugs to disturb me.  It was blissful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

It's Love

I sat on the bed, next to TBG, watching our son.  He was talking to his sister.  She was sad and angry and irritated and frustrated and mostly just not wanting things to be the way they are.

He, as usual, had his opinions - the right opinions.  He was, as always, certain of that.  He portrays himself as more black and white than his parents see, but today, clarity was exactly what his sister needed.  He was certainly there to give it.

He heard her.  He affirmed the correctness of her opinions; after all, they were his, too.  It was obviously to any sentient being that they were right and those on the other side were wrong.  Anyone who didn't see that was obviously too stupid to live.

The more he talked, the more animated he became.  He took the phone while standing and ended up on the little couch, bent over the phone as if he could pour his body through the ether and end up right next to her, looking deep into her eyes, maybe holding her hand, but showing her with every fiber of his being that he would go to the mat for her.  

He'd defend her heart and her actions and do everything possible to reassure her that she was right and they were wrong and that we were all quite proud of her for sticking to her guns.  It's one thing when your parents compliment you.  It's another thing entirely when it comes from your sibling, the one you admire for his inability to tell anything but the unvarnished truth.

She hung up feeling better, I think.  

Strong children and strong feelings and strong ties of love - I'm warm in the cockles of my heart.

Monday, November 22, 2021

It's Cold

Not snow cold or mid-February cold, but it's cold.

Not frozen feet and fingers cold.  Not runny nose cold.  Just cold.

I'm wearing a long sleeved sweater, the first time since the last time I felt cold - months ago.

I started the day in shorts.  Now, at dinner time, my knees are trying to creep up my legs so they can be warmed by the fabric resting tantalizingly just above them.  They are cold too.

My ankles are peeved as well.  I have lots of socks which could be cosseting them.  Unfortunately, none of them are on my body at the moment.

I'm cold.

It's sixty-nine degrees and I am cold.

Just put my picture on Wikipedia under Weather Wimp.

Friday, November 19, 2021

The Up-Side of The Brownie List

There are times when the 70+ names on The Brownie List seem overwhelming.  I was impressed with myself for mailing fifteen packages at once on Monday.  By Thursday, that feeling has been replaced by one of ennui.

I have three pans of brownies already baked.  I haven't had the energy to pack them and label them and mail them.  It's not that I haven't the time.  I just don't have the required smiling oomph to get it done.

And then I get a text from Sister, announcing that the brownies were gone in minutes.  I got a picture and verbiage from Brother, thanking me for providing his dinner.  The Seamstress and her fiance called for a lengthy video chat. 

I have tracking notifications set up and my phone is filled with texts from USPS.  I'm having fun thinking of the envelopes sitting on the front porch/mailbox/desk of those I love.  

This really is the gift that keeps on giving.  It reconnects me with my past and maintains friendships over decades.  After all, if I send you brownies, you have to say thank you.

I've got 55+ cards/texts/emails/calls to go.

That's a pretty good way to go into the weekend.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

I'm rushing the season, and I apologize.  After all, I'm the one who rants on a yearly basis about stores putting up their Christmas decorations before Halloween, who avoided Macy's and patronized Nordstroms for that very reason.  

Yet, here I am, mailing some of  my Hanukkah brownies two weeks before the first day dawns.  I was worried about the post office as the holiday approaches - I took DeJoy's warnings about delays to heart.  So I baked on Sunday and mailed on Monday, sparing the fresh food from sitting in the bowels of the post office all weekend long.  I used Priority Mail, expecting a 3 day delivery time, well before the next weekend begins.

Imagine my surprise (I've always wanted to type that) when USPS texted me -15 times for each of 15 mailing envelopes - announcing that many of the packages would be delivered early, on Tuesday.  That's really early for the holiday - I hope no one feels pressured to match my promptness (is there a word for extreme promptness?).

It's not only my Hanukkah treats that are speeding through the mails.  Mail orders are arriving early, too.  Amazon and Fabletics have been speedy, with items delivered almost before the pixels are dry on the screen announcing their departure from the warehouse. 

I'm not complaining, merely describing an unusual fact pattern.  

It's creepy when something you expect to be terrible turns out to be better than ever..... what do I do with my Rage Against the USPS vibe when they are doing a good job?

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Working in the 21st Century

These are my son's fancy work pants.

His wife amends that to fancy work from home pants, but still.....

Queen T's team building exercise was a Zoom taught class that created this masterpiece

from supplies mailed all over North America.

And TBG and I just smiled - Work sure looks different these days.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Back In The Garden

Masked and distanced - no hugs except the virtual kind - I took myself back to Grandma's Garden at Prince Elementary School.

My heart was warmed before I got there - the Principal told me that one of the after school groups had taken care of the space while I was gone.  They didn't want you to come back to a disaster.  
I love them.  It's nice to know that they love me back.

Opening the garden without having seen what awaited me led to the collection of foam brushes and sidewalk chalk before I showed up.  One of the scholars who'd worked on the garden showed me where the lettuce and the beans and the other seeds were planted in that bed; we don't know what's in the other one.  Since the situation requires careful consideration, we weren't digging in the dirt.

Instead, the artists got to work.
Under the watchful eye of the school's social worker (a human for whom there are no adequate words of praise), they colored the bricks and grinned at the photographer.
For some reason, the foam brushes and water delight the bigger kids.
The rough bricks destroy the brushes, no matter how careful a stroke you use.  
Water, foam brush, smooth metal -- it's very Zen,
and strangely satisfying.
As always, there were kibbitzers.

Monday, November 15, 2021

It's Starting

I have plans for real posts this week, honest, I do.  But I've spent today cleaning house for Big Cuter and Queen T's arrival tonight - dusting and sweeping and linens changed, bathrooms spruced up and groceries purchased. 

Mostly, though, I've been organizing for the first shipment of The Brownie List.

I know where the list is located on the computer (in Google Docs.... it only took me an hour of screaming last year to remember that).  I have ink for the printer so that labels can be created.  Amazon delivered lovely Hanukkah cellophane bags.

The pots and bowls and spatulas from the first three pans are in the dishwasher.  This is what the wrapping station will look like this year:

This is what gets wrapped:

Time to get back to work!

Friday, November 12, 2021


Will we ever go back to in-person meetings?  

I have a Zoom call scheduled for 12:30-1pm today.  The attendees, Board members of the Cornell Club of Southern Arizona, have committed to 30 minutes of planning.  That's all the time I'm taking out of their day.  No one has to drive (add minutes to the meeting), no one has to clean her house (making space for the meeting), and showering and dressing up is limited to that which can be seen on a screen.

Gathering all of us in person would enable us to elbow bump, wear masks, and wonder what else we could be doing with the time we've spent traveling and sitting and waiting until the meeting starts.  This is a planning session.  It's not a social event.  We can get the work done, assign duties, and then go on with our lives.  

It's hard to give everyone a chance to speak on Zoom, but we've done it before and it worked well.  Service on this Board is not the primary task for any of us; we do it for love of our alma mater.  Planning has been difficult during Pandemica, with a membership that skews older and sicker, but our Sabino Canyon trip was a successful adventure and we are hoping to plan more outdoor excuses to get together.

The weather is more cooperative now than it was all summer long.  There are gardens and outdoor movies and historical sites which don't require driving long distances.  We usually plan an afternoon of lunch and a show - no doubt we'll discuss how comfortable attendees will be eating together, or sitting close to one another in an auditorium.  

All this can be discussed efficiently.  Assignments can be given.  No one has to leave home or the office.  We can get the work done and move on to other priorities.

Mostly, I don't have to change out of my pajama bottoms.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Thank You To Those Who Serve(d)

On 11/11/1911 at 11am, the shooting stopped forever.

That's what they hoped, anyway.  60,000 died at the Battle of the Somme.  Britain lost a generation of men.  Shell shock and mustard gas poisoning and the terror of barbed wire and trenches and No Man's Land between opposing armies - in 1911 they thought they'd put it away for good.

I've been thinking about the 100 Years War, which it seems we are fighting all over again.  Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan.... my children's adulthood has been filled with war.  None of us served.

Amster used the Army to get out of town. She traveled, she learned, and because her boots were too small and gave her bunions, she had a disability that added to the educational benefits she'd receive.  College and Law School, paid for with her blood, sweat, and tears. She got married so they could be transferred together - an unintended consequence of falling in love while the government owned your body.

G'ma's brother served with Patton.  He never spoke of it.  Auntie M and Uncle T got married just before he left for Viet Nam.  He never speaks of it, either.  Our college friends, Moose and Stroker, were in Viet Nam, too - they never said a word.

But everyone was changed by the experience.  Some for the good (cf Amster) and some altered in ways that haunted them for all their lives.  Dr. Don never wore a necktie after coming home from Viet Nam; black tie events had him in an elegant sweater.  He never explained it beyond saying THIS is what I wear.

Necessity or patriotism, the draft or the potential benefits down the road - whatever their reasons men and women have put themselves in harms way so that I can sit here and type to you.

Remember to say Thank You today.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Ease and Grace and Strength

It was another morning of outdoor yoga.  The same little black bugs were annoying, but Tiger Balm kept most of them away from my exposed flesh.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and as our Yogi noted, the trees had magnificent shapes.

Taos Bubbe joined me; I haven't exercised next to a friend in 20 months.  It made my heart sing.

We started standing, which led to balancing, which led to a lot of quivering.  Rooting down and reaching up, floating my arms..... mostly trying not to fall down.

Through my efforts came the Yogi's words - from grace and ease comes strength.

Strength is what I miss the most.  I carried my own heavy grocery bags.  I did the heavy lifting in the garden.  I liked surprising people.   

Now, I usually accept help with a grateful nod.  If I can, I should is my new mantra.  But not many everyday activities remind me of what I am missing.  I ambulate well and sometimes it even looks like walking.  

But all the standing yoga poses were challenging.  Every single one of them - even mountain pose which I held for longer than was comfortable.... doable....possible... and then I had to move.  In that moment, I remembered why I hadn't gone back to yoga, even in the Before Times.  I could no longer lose myself in the movements. The ease was gone, and ease was the gift that yoga gave me.  

And then I looked around me, standing outside in November, surrounded by a host of grey haired humans, each of us locked in our own personal struggle with something or other, but each of us standing on our mats, trying.  

The grace to accept what is.  Letting go of the struggle and easing into what is.  

I took a deep breath and found my strength as we moved into tree pose.  Balance, I thought, is as much mental as physical.  

And, for a moment, my right leg held me up, all on its own.

It wasn't the same as before, but different isn't always bad. This is gift, too.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021


I had apples and pie crusts and time.
This is what the pie looked like before I went to sleep.
I was responsible for every missing morsel.
I was also responsible for the ice cream scoop, because what's apple pie without vanilla ice cream?
(And I'm responsible for the navy blue towel;  a lighter one would have been more photogenic.)

I had pie for breakfast in the morning.
We had quiche (egg pie) with friends for lunch.

I had pie when we got home, pie for dessert after dinner, and pie for snack while TBG overdosed on football. This is what the pie looked like when I was finished.
I have never eaten an entire pie before.

It's nice to have a novel experience.

Monday, November 8, 2021

The Supply Chain Hits Home

I went Holiday Shopping.  I left early, wore a mask, and avoided shoppers as much as possible.  

It was very possible.  There was barely anyone in the stores - not The Dollar Store or The 99cents Store or Kohl's.  The Container Store was eerily quiet; 3 saleswomen approached me before I was half way down the first aisle.  

In Michaels, I saw no other customers.  Hallmark was crowded, but they were having a Pandora Event so there were lots of salespeople and Pandora people and marketing people filling the entry.  One other masked patron and I were the only ones buying anything, and we were in the card aisles.

There was no merchandise, either.  

Just like at IKEA  last month, there was nothing new.  The shelves which are usually filled with tins and boxes and bags of all sizes and descriptions were empty.  Had I realized when I started out that this would be the case everywhere I went, I would have taken pictures.  

The Container Store had no pretty little containers in which brownies could be mailed.  We're downsizing.  All our items like that are on-line now.  I don't want to buy them on-line.  I want to spend my dollars locally.  I want to touch them before I buy them.  I need 70 of them; this is not a small decision.  

And it wasn't only supplies for The Brownie List.  H&M had nothing pink.  Nor were there ruffles or sparkles or unicorns.  I found basic sweats and leggings for the grandkids, but that visit, next door to the Container Store, put me in a mood.

I was resigned to paying full price and enjoying it.  If only there had been something to buy.  I found a perfect firefighter nutcracker for Giblet at Michael's - one of a dozen obviously left over from last year, with nicks and scratches and I swear they were grimacing right back at me, as if sharing my pain.  

And then I listened to the story going on in my head and I laughed.  I was having a regular person's bad day, not a perforated person's bad day - and it was all because of shopping.

I decided that there's a good lesson to be learned from this. Not finding made me question the act of searching.   I'm going to get creative with tissue paper and some weird clear cellophane bags I found along the way.  The brownies will be tasty no matter how they are wrapped.  

If this is at the top of my worry list, I'm a pretty lucky human.

Friday, November 5, 2021

The Holidaze Begin

They are calling it a Pre-Holiday Parking Lot Party; both the description and the location are accurate.  There will be a food truck and some music in the parking lot outside the law offices where Amster houses her practice.  I'll see people I run into whenever I'm in Amster's orbit (and no where else) and we'll catch up on meaningless nothings while chowing down on fabulous food stuffs.  A small amount of alcohol (I'm driving) will, no doubt, be involved.

It's 84 and sunny outside.  It's still November.  I'm having a hard time getting my holiday spirit on.

I lost then found my gift tags and stationary.  Apparently, I used every bit of Brownie List packing material last year.  I've always replenished my stash on December 26th; last year we were still in lock down on December 26th - I went no place.  

For the first time in memory, I will be buying supplies before the holidays, when they are not on sale.  Do I get to count this as part of Pandemica's legacy?  I think it deserves a place on the That Which I Lost List.

I ordered boxes and mailing envelopes from USPS and they arrived on my doorstep in the arms of our smiling mail carrier.  She can hardly wait until I start to bake.  I leave individually wrapped brownies in a basket near the doorbell, with a sign offering the homemade treats to anyone leaving a package.  She gets hungry around 1pm, just as she's arriving at our mailbox.  

I'll update the addresses for those who've relocated.  I'll continue my on-line quest for appropriate socks-underwear-hang out clothes for those I'll be gifting.  Toys have been sent to the grandchildren (I was taking no chances with the supply chain) and books are being considered.

Hanukkah is on the heels of Thanksgiving.  I'd better not procrastinate for long.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Going Back Out Into The World

TBG misses his spin class friends.  Some of them have joined the Zoom classes which began early in Pandemica, when it became clear that no one was going back into the gym any time soon.  We bought a good spin bike, and he's been doing it three days a week, virtually listening to the teacher and the music and feeling as motivated as you can be when you're really all alone.

He misses the competition.  Keeping up with the instructor is one piece of it, but beating whoever is cycling near him has its place, too.  

Periodically, we've toyed with the idea of returning to the gym.  He went once or twice before the Delta variant emerged as a killer; he knew the people in the room and it felt safe.  But there hasn't felt like a good time to start up again.... until now.

We're boosted and flu shot.  We're not living with immune compromised or unable-to-be-vaccinated humans.  One of our favorite people teaches spin early on Monday morning.  He decided to give it a try.

Everyone was delighted to see him.  Everyone was well known to him.  They are all older, intelligent, vaccinated athletes of various stripes.  Everyone agreed - no one wanted to get sick.

He came home with a giant smile on his face.  The music was great, the presence of classmates even better.  He's not ready to move on to classes with strangers, but this Monday morning group feel okay, for now.

That same favorite person is also a talented yogi.  She invited me to join her outdoor class at Tohono Chul, the small botanical garden down the road.  She promised lots of space and no mask requirement.
Given TBG's successful foray into exercising with others, I decided to give it a chance.

There was lots of space.  There were lots of people.  Everyone was fully focused and involved in the practice.  I don't know if anyone was vaccinated, so I gave myself plenty of space.  

I walked around taller and breathing more deeply all day long.  I put the class on my calendar for the next 10 weeks.  

I should believe the science and feel comfortable outdoors and socially distanced.  Having read Michael Lewis's The Premonition - A Pandemic Story, I'm reluctant to rely on anything coming out of the CDC that requires a quick response to an ever changing situation.  Even after all these months, we're still doing our own research.

I'm relying on my good sense.  I'm not ready to go back into the gym, but outdoor yoga feels like a safe toe to put in the sweating-with-others waters.  I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Flu Shot Snippets

FlapJilly:  Mom, I think this flu shot will be good practice for my Covid vaccine.
Walgreens suggested that TBG make an appointment for his flu shot when the walk-in line as he was shopping was 10 people long.  He brought the information slip home and placed it on my keyboard.  I made the appointments, 20 minutes apart because somebody snuck in to the 3:20 slot between us.  

The store is a mile down the road.  We left 5 minutes before my appointment time - I'd be late and he'd be early.
I can't decide whether it was less troublesome for me to fill out my paperwork online or for me to print it out and have TBG fill it in for himself.  I tried both methods.

They lost mine in the system and the pharmacy assistant had to input most of the numbers again.  She then typed in all of TBG's information with her incredibly long fingernails making every click a near disaster.  

Neither path was without problems.  They both took too much time.
The Pilates Diva was the one who stole the 3:20 appointment - she was there for her Covid booster.  She teaches at the Community College and so is considered high risk, even though she's more than a decade younger than we are.

It's a measure of our times that I run into my friends at the drug store now.
The shot hurt more than the vaccination.  

TBG saw my pouting face and put his warm, lovingly cupped palm over my bandaid.  

It felt better at once.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

How Driving Fixed My Leg

Fixed may be overstating the case, but improved is certainly true.  

I drove Scarlet and her pooch up to Scottsdale three times in the last week.  It's about 120 miles and takes about an hour and a half.  We drive there, she drops off the dog, and we turn around and come home.  I take the time she's in the office to stretch.  I do all the driving.

Normally, I'd be bent and broken by the time I returned home.  But her surprisingly wonderful Camry left me feeling strong and straight.  Why?  Perhaps because her seat has many more adjustment options than my Honda HRV.  Her seat can dip down at my knee.  I sat further back than I usually do.  Her steering wheel adjusts up and down and forward and back; I put it lower than the Honda's and further away.

With my leg stretched out instead of bent at the knee, I could sit with both butt cheeks firmly planted on the seat.  I found my posture was improved.  At the end of the last leg home, my foot began to fall asleep, but aside from that it was an uneventful experience.

I worried that I'd be crippled all night, but it was just the opposite.  I wasn't stumbling until my hip decided to engage.  I wasn't complaining when I stood up or sat down.  There were no clicking noises. Best of all, there was no pain.

Was I exercising, passively, as I drove?  Is it simply the positioning?  Was it the karma from doing a good deed?  

I adjusted the Uv to approximate as best I could the delightful experience I had in the Camry.  I slid in and out of the car at The Pilates Diva and at Costco.  I walked smoothly, more smoothly than usual.

Who knew that driving for 12 hours on the same roads would have such a salutary effect?  Not I. 

Monday, November 1, 2021

Wrapping Up PNC

The VP of Retail and Customer Service was delightful, kind, thoughtful, and disturbed by what I brought to her attention.

Her minion, another lovely woman, was equally helpful.

No, my Bill Pay system could not be uploaded to my accoutn; there was a glitch in the technology that dumped the data.  But on Monday (don't have a banking problem at the end of the week) when they return to work, another minion lower on the totem pole will spend the day uploading all my information.  The notion of another human being paid to do what I willfully refused to consider makes me squeamish.  Still, I didn't turn down the offer.  I just laughed, a little.

Yes, the 1st minion agreed, the VP was a wonderful boss and a terrific human being.  She follows through and stays tight with her team.  She cares about the customer.

All of that is wonderful.

It doesn't detract from the annoyance of having to go on-line to each and every payee, paying the minimum balance and changing from e-bills to paper.  I felt like I was going back in time to Marin, where I'd pay my bills by check, entering them into Quick Books, and then having The Ballerina do the rest.  She's a bookkeeper and a friend and the only one I trusted to see how much I spent every month.  She did in 20 minutes what took me half a day.  I bought her lunch.  It worked.

I'm not depositing any more money into PNC.  Their systems scare me.  This morning I tried to see if my Social Security check had been deposited last month (I forgot to ask anyone when I had them on the phone).  My computer remembered my sign in name for the GRIN account, and there it was.  I clicked on the personal accounts button and found, instead of my account, this message - Your session has been inactive for more than 15 minutes. You are now being signed off Online Banking.

Considering that I had done nothing more than open the link, this was odd.  Perhaps PNC operates on a faster time clock that I do.  Perhaps 1 minute had passed, certainly not 15.  

I sighed and signed into my personal account using my other identity and found the deposit, just where it should have been.  The rest of the words and numbers on the screen were less than helpful.  My Bill Pay has not been typed in yet, and my old statements are bare bones and useless.  

To be fair, it's the weekend so we don't know who will be working but on Monday morning, at the latest......  True, but annoying since one of the things that needs to be done is linking both accounts.

PNC will reach out to me on Monday when everything is finished.  The humans I spoke to were thoughtful, if not overly apologetic.  My concerns for my friends who work at the bank were glossed over - change is hard; new things take time to settle in; we've done many of these with thousands of banks and there are always issues - though, and that made me sad.

Every denizen who commented on the prior posts mentioned credit unions, using comforting and complimentary words.  I did some research on the interwebs and found the only down side was, perhaps, a paucity of products. Since I'm only interested in a checking account for me and some kind of not-for-profit account for GRIN, I saw no reason not to pursue the quest.

Googling credit unions near me revealed one I hadn't noticed before and reminded me of two others, one of which is in a bright and shiny and new building at a major intersection.... which intersection is currently under extensive renovation and expansion. The other one is a little further than that.  None are as convenient as around the corner.

I don't have the energy to deal with this any longer.  I'll change the rest of the e-bills to paper.  I'll pay bills using my old checks and not their on-linesystem, depositing only enough money to cover what I write.  When I have time, I'll make another plan.  For now, I'm done thinking about this.

It's November 1st - time to begin baking for The Brownie List.  Hanukkah is right on the heels of Thanksgiving.  I'd much rather put my thoughts and energies there.