Thursday, November 27, 2008

Good Morning!

It's just after 11 AM on Thanksgiving. My poochies have all been walked, watered, and fed and have had some "Mommy and Me" time. I've made the bed, vacuumed the house, done some overdue dusting, the dishes got washed, dried and put away, filed some papers (I'm not letting the pile get out of hand again), made breakfast and my contribution to the Thanksgiving Meal is happily cooking in the oven.

Right now, I can't ask for anything more......

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Have A Happy Thanksgiving

to those who celebrate and a great day to everyone else

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Somethings to Be Grateful For

As I posted a couple weeks ago, I had a reduction in my hours at my full time job. I was not happy about it. I was able to pick up a couple shifts at my second job, but was facing December with extremely limited options for additional income.

I also did not fret (too much) or panic (too much) or let it get to me (too much) for about 10 days. I used the time to do some much needed re-organization of my home,to think about my next steps, and my needs and wants. One of my needs was to get the new to me dogs current on their vaccinations, my elderly friend does not have records on her dogs medical history, other than rabies.

A few months ago I signed up as a mystery shopper. Assignments in my area have been far and few, but one that did crop up was a mystery shop for a vet clinic. I have a dog that needed a vet examination. I took the assignment. The clinic is not in my area, and to make the situation even more interesting, the vet I had lives one town over from me (small world!) and wanted to know why I came to this particular office (did he think MYSTERY SHOPPER?!). I told the practice that this dog had a prospective new family in the area close to the clinic and I wanted to make the transition from my home to their home as smooth as possible. (OK, so it was a little white lie, I don't have a home for Poochie 2, but I AM looking for one!). The cost of the visit will be reimbursed to me and I'll get paid enough to more than cover my gas to and from the clinic. Poochie 2 is now current on her vacciantions and I did not have to pay for it. One need off my list. If my shop is accepted, I can take one of my other pets to vet facility for her annual exam and vaccinations. That particular facility is a practice I used to use and I could go under the guise I was thinking about transefering back to that practice.

I also was asked this AM if I would be available now through the end of December to "barn sit" for a trainer I know via my groom job. He needs someone to live in the caretakers apartment and be on site for the animals, the work is minimal, he just needs someone on site at night. I told him I had already booked out a few weekends for other work, but could happily help him out. This works for him, it works for me and the pay will be a big help for the month of December. Plus the caretakers apartment has a washer and dryer, I can do all my dog and personal laundry! Whoo Hoo!

I am not sitting on my heels, I am still pursuing alternative income streams, but I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way these past couple days.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blog Roll Updated

I updated my blog roll with a few new sites, some personal finance and one new cooking blog. If you have not found Smitten Kitchen, I recommend you try it out. Looks like some great recipes that won't break the budget, along with a few indulgences as well! I got rid of a few blogs that have not been updated in a while, or have gone private or have gone off line entirely.

If I promised you a link and I've missed it, e-mail me or post in my comments and I'll put you one. If you know of a good blog, let me know!

Thanks to all of you who link back to me as well!

Someone Who Has "Bounced Back"

I started this blog to chronicle my journey through bankruptcy and how I would have to change my life. I know I'm not the only person who has gone through bankruptcy, I think I'm one of the few that blogs about it. I use this blog to vent, to ramble on about random things, to entertain and to give some hope to those also facing bankruptcy that while it is a horrible experience, it is not the end of the world. You can survive bankruptcy. I'm slowly doing it.

As I've posted before, I hold a real estate license. It's my non income producing second job at the moment. One of the agents I work with in the real estate office has two clients (a married couple with two children), who have filed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. We will call them The Smiths. With that BK, they lost their home (had to do a short sale) and moved into a rental. Their reasons for filing a BK were due in part to a drastic reduction in income due to the husband going on long term workman's comp. for an injury and being over extended on consumer credit. They were bound and determined to become homeowners again.

Part of my "job" at the real estate office is to help the broker pull credit reports on tenants (mainly because he is not computer literate enough to navigate the on line system). The Smiths somehow managed to get into a rental while their C13 was still in the court system. From what I've heard, they have been stellar tenants with very few hiccups. This past spring, they thought they wanted to move to a different rental. We pulled their credit report for two prospective rentals and boy, were they surprised at the amount of incorrect information on their credit report. A number of accounts resolved in the C13 were still listed as active and past due or in collections, their former home was listed as a foreclosure sale, other loans were listed as past due (even though they had sold a number of the toys that contributed to the C13 Bk-boat, jet ski, 3rd and 4th vehicles). To top it off, all this mis-information resulted in a FICO score is the low 500's for both of them. When Mrs. Smith read her report and saw all this mis-information, she nearly had a meltdown. It also made me run for my credit reports to make sure my information was correct and current (it was not pretty information, but at least it was correct).

According to Mrs. Smith, the house was sold at a short sale (less of a hit than a foreclosure supposedly), the boat and jet ski sold and loans paid in full, the other cars turned in to the dealer for one newer family car (I'd hate to see that loan), and that they had been current on their credit cards and remaining loans. Their agent gave them a copy of their report and told them they had to get all this information updated. Given the really bad credit history, the c13 BK and what was currently on the credit report, she highly doubted that even with the good recommendation from their current landlord that they would be able to get into a decent rental house. That was and is the state of the current rental market. You want a good home or apartment, you need good credit.

What these folks did do was to connect with a local mortgage broker. They very badly want to purchase a home again. They both were back to being full time wage earners, they were working on their savings and they wanted to do what they needed to do. The local mortgage broker sat down with them and outlined her banks programs for people with average credit. She told them that her bank would not approve a mortgage for anyone with that FICO score period and the c13 needed to be at least two years old so that they could prove they were adhering to the Trustees re-payment schedule. The broker also told/taught them how to dispute the items on their credit report and how to follow up with the credit agencies, all three of them.

These folks took direction well. They dissected that credit report, they got all the documentation they needed, they questioned the misinformation, and they followed up. It took a couple months but almost all the mis-information was corrected and updated. I know they were going back and forth on a few items. The mortgage banker pulled their report in early October and their scores had just broken into the low 600's. The scores went up almost 100 points. The mortgage banker told them if they kept on doing what they were doing, that they could qualify for a new mortgage after the first of year. How do I know all this information, it's because they were open about the c13, they were willing to talk about it and they were willing to do what they needed to do to get back into their own home.

What they did right

1) They lived almost exclusively on cash.
2) When they did use their credit cards, they paid them off in full each month.
3) They lived within their means and did not rely on the overtime as "regular income"as they did in the past.
4) They used almost all of the overtime pay to pay down their bills and put it into savings.
5) They got rid of the "toys" and after the C13, did not go back out and repurchase them.
6) They consolidated their vehicles (down from 4 to 2).
7) They pulled their credit report and disputed the incorrect information.
8) They lived on a tight budget
9) They paid their bills on time.

For a number of people who are forced into Bankruptcy, it can be hard to go to the cash only mentality, live on a budget, and change their life. Here is an example of a couple who has done just that.

It's not been easy for them and there is no guarantee that they will qualify for a bank loan. The mortgage broker has made it clear that they will need a large down payment, need to keep working on their credit and will probably have a larger interest rate than someone with good credit and no BK.

It can be done folks, people can bounce back.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Quiet Weekend In Which I Accomplished A Lot

For all intents and purposes, my weekend was quiet. Saturday was a grey rainy and unpleasant day. I did run a bunch of errands anyway-dump, post office, goodwill, library, and grocery store. I did treat myself to a pumpkin muffin and a fancy coffee at the new coffee shop one town over. They are an independent shop (not Starbucks or a chain) and I felt the need for a warm beverage after running errands in the cold and damp. I will admit it was really nice to sit in one of the comfy chairs, pick at my muffin, drink my coffee and stare moodily out at the rain.

It also gave me boost I needed to tackle my desk. One of my goals this year had been to go as paperless as possible. I have still not found an well priced multi page scanner as I had hoped. I had found one at Staples a few months back, but the unit I purchased was damaged and back to the store it went. Staples did not have another in stock and I was lucky to get my money back and not be charged the "restocking" fee. I have had a pile of papers and receipts that have been collecting in three neat piles on my desk for months. No excuses about this, time for it go away.

I made a mug of tea, put on the TV so I could listen to football games and attacked the piles of papers. I made new labels for my files, I re-organized my files, banking information, insurance information, personal information, fun stuff, work, continuing education, home, the new LLC ,etc. I organized my files for next years taxes. I had a pile of papers that I shredded with my neighbors shredder and then added the paper to my mulch pile. I think one of my neighbors must have thought I was mad, adding white paper to the mulch pile, but hey, it's paper and I added to the mulch pile that will not be used for the veggie garden (in case the ink on the paper was not soy based).

It was very cathartic to purge the pagers and streamline my desk. I like seeing the tidiness return to my desk and my bill paying area. It also made me realized I still have a lot of "stuff" to manage. Here is a partial list of what I have


Personal checking account
Business account
Hobby account
Credit Union Savings Account
HSA Account
ING Account



Retirement/Investment Account

Roth IRA
ING Sharebuilder


Student Loan
Car Loan

Yikes, even though I was aware of all of this, re-organizing my file cabinet made me even more aware of all of the above. I have not even touch on the home, hobby and LLC files that also got re-organized and worked on.

I topped off Saturday by meeting a friend for Pizza and Beer and then an early bedtime.

Sunday the weather dawned bright and clear and it was time to make the trek to the laundromat. I really miss a washer and dryer at the house. Even though I had pre separated and pre-treated my clothes at home, I still left some things that needed to be washed at home. I remembered when I was almost at the laundromat and said, dang it, they can wait. $18, 8 clean loads of laundry, and 2.75 later I was on my way home. I used the "down time" to call some friends I had not spoken to in a while. Not a total loss of time. The biggest upside to the laundromat, it that in two plus hours I can do all that laundry and have it washed, dried, fluffed, folded and put away. I used the sunny breezy day to air out my duvets. The feathers liked being caressed by the brisk fall breeze! I also made some fresh bread, made a batch of soup in the crock pot, and finalized my MUST BE DONE list for the house.

What has this got to do with personal finance. It's about taking some time to really assess where you are in your life and where you need to go. It's about taking a half an hour to scan your cupboards and menu plan for the upcoming week and plan your food shopping around that menu planning. It's about really knowing what is happening in your life and where you stand so an unexpected turn or surprise does not bring you to your knees. If you are working on savings or debt reduction plan, you need to be able to sit down every so often and just take some time to assess your progress and your plans and if need by, change what needs to be done with your plan.

I "knew" I had all these accounts, but until I sat down and re-did my filing cabinet, I had no idea that in the space of year I had acquired these accounts and I'm doing very little with them at the moment. I "know" I need to have some work done on the house, but now I really know what needs to be done. Part of my post BK filing promise to myself was to re-take control of my life on a number of levels. I've had to go back to square one in almost every facet of my life to get myself back on track. This weekend gave me the space to sit down and look at how far I've come, where I need to go and has given me some ideas on what I need to do. And that is a good thing!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Upcoming Plan

I have done as I said I would do this week, not totally freak out about my reduction in hours at my full time job. I'm trying to look on the upside of this "temporary reduction". I have always wanted to go into business for myself or at least have a flexible part time and lucrative income. Out of adversity comes necessity. There is no way around this, I have to make it work.

I paid the following bills today: Mortgage, Student Loan, Car Insurance, Health Insurance, land line, and Electricity. I will have to pay in two weeks, my car note, car and health insurance for the month of December. I want to pay the health and car insurance early and get them out of my bill box.

Prior to the reduction in hours I was trying to find an excuse to duck out of Christmas this year. I have a small handful of people I usually buy presents for and I traditionally attend a number of parties and dinners (that I inevitably bring a bottle of cheer or contribute food to). This reduction in hours may be my excuse to really downsize and back out of some of these "obligations". Some obligations are non negotiable and I will be attending and contributing to, that is just a fact of life and will be taken into my December plan.

I have my first sale of the new batch of items that I posted on E-bay and Yeah! I will mail out the package on Monday. One down, 15 to go.

I have a long and lengthy to do and to buy list for the weekend. My to buy list is mainly pantry staples and pantry treats so I can get back into the cooking swing of things and not shop for dinner in the frozen food isle (like I did last night). I've spent close to $50 in the past 10 days on semi ready meals and provisions at the grocery store because I've been a lazy git about my food preparation. Fifty dollars can buy me a lot of food at the Aldi and the Ethnic Market!

My new reduced schedule starts on Monday and the next couple weeks will be "full weeks' as I've picked up a couple shifts at the barn (thank god for vacationing staff). It's December I'm a bit worried about, but will plan as best I can. I'm feeling a bit more "springy" than I have in a couple weeks....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Maybe It's The Full Moon

or maybe it's the fact I am just tired of having my middle name be DOORMAT.

I got a call last night from the Ford dealership looking for feedback on my "recent visit and service experience." I gave the poor girl my feedback. I think she was rather taken aback by my response. I told her that I was happy with the repair and fully expected it to be done and done professionally, but was sincerely UNhappy with the up sell and subsequent condescending attitude of the employee who handled my paperwork when I declined the additional services. The main service manager was very pleasant, his underling was condescending. The dealership tried to sell me not only the oil change I originally went in for (and had the ABS light checked out at the same time), but a new fuel filter and a transmission flush and fill. My $30 oil change ended up with a estimated bill of $750 IF I had agreed to all their "suggested and much needed" services. I told the poor girl that the eye rolling by the technician in front of me was less than professional and that the up sell on the other services was more than a little irritating. Plus I can read the owners manual and the recommended fuel filter change was not until the 60k service, the car came into the dealership with 50K on it. I was nice, but very direct with my feedback to the young lady. I don't think she gets many people who give the specific feedback I did.

My check for last months second job work had not arrived by last week. The barn went on a new payroll schedule and I was expecting a check to be sitting in my mail box when I got back from my conference. It was not there. I called the barn and was told they had forgotten to cut me a check and I'd get the check in a couple weeks (the next payroll cycle). I told the barn manger who processes the auxiliary help checks that this was just not acceptable, especially since I did that work in the beginning of October and fully expected (as in the past) to be compensated in a reasonable period of time. Six weeks later was not reasonable. Again I was polite and professional, but I was very firm. I needed that check now. It was in my mail box on Monday.

I also ran into one of my "friends" this morning at the coffee shop. This was the supposed friend who did me no favors in my quest to find Poochie 2 a new home, in fact, she referred a prospective owner to someone else other than me. Supposed friend gives a pleasant greeting and proceeds to ask me a lot of real estate questions about an impending purchase she is making in another state, she is helping her daughter buy a house. And the purchase is not through me or my agency. Call me petty, call me vindictive, call me many things, but don't call me asking for advice on your purchase and sale of a property. Like in many businesses, real estate professionals do referrals if a prospective purchase and sale is really out of our jurisdiction. When this supposed friend needed some advice, I helped her out and asked that if she was serious about a purchase, please let me know as I would love to do a referral. I also gave her the contact information of several agencies. I was told yes, but the referral never came through. All I needed was the name of the agency and agent to process the referral. I was given a song and dance about how the daughter "found" the same agencies (oh my!) that I had given her. She would not be paying for the referral fee, it would come from the other agency. I know we had many conversations about purchasing a home in this market. I more than earned that referral, I did not get it for what ever reason. I did not forget that or the incident with the dog. And I found out about the prospective home purchase through the ever popular and usually reliable grapevine of gossip (remember that 6 degrees of seperation thing). Her explanation of why I did not get this referral was pretty much BS. At the time, I let the situation drop for a variety of reasons. When supposed friend started to ask specific questions, I politely cut her off and said, you really need to talk to your agent about this. Supposed friend was a bit taken aback and said the agent had not returned a phone call. I picked up my coffee and said, I really could not help at all, not my purchase or sale and I don't have a financial interest in the transaction, so I could not help. I smiled, said good luck with the transaction, and walked out of the door.

I had actually given this woman a lot of help and advice for her out of state transaction. The fact that she could not be bothered to do the referral really got to me. I don't need supposed friends or business acquaintances like this. I was polite, I was professional, but I was quite firm when I said Not my problem, use your own agent. I don't get paid to do other peoples work.

What has this got to do with personal finance? It's about sticking up for yourself and getting what you deserve, whether it's better service, a referral, a discount, a bonus, a lead, or what ever. In the past, I probably would have given in and waited the extra two weeks for the check, or spent the 15 minutes giving out free advice or not have spoken up in my own defence. In these tough economic times, we have to do what we have to do and not allowing one self to be used is an important concept. it's about asking for the lower interest rate, asking for the referral, asking for the discount, asking for the extension, asking for the business, it's about getting what you deserve. I may have lost a "friend" over the above incident, but this "supposed friend" has been less than honest on several occasions and I don't need friends or business associates like that. We all deserve better.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

For Sale-Think Christmas Early!

OK, Here is what is for sale

Books (prices range from 75c to 3.00)

Jill Mansell-
Miranda's Big Mistake
Open House
The One You Really Want

Peter Mayle
Aquired Tastes

Jennifere Weiner-
Little Earthquakes

Stacey Ballis
The Spinster Sisters
Inappropriate Men

Jen Lancaster
Such a Pretty Fat

Monica McInerney
Upside Down, Inside Out

DVDs Prices range from ($1-$4)

The Break Up
Snatch-2 disc special edition
Casual Sex
Big-still in wrapper
The Italian Job
Analyze This
Caddyshack-20th anniversary edition

If interested in any of the items, e-mail me and I can give you shipping information

What I Did This Past Weekend And My Plan For Going Forward

After getting the notice that my hours were cut I went shopping. Yes, shopping. I stopped at Target and spent $90 on "stuff". That sounds worse than it really was. $75 was on a new vacuum. I've had bad vacuum karma this past year and I finally decided to just buy a new vacuum. Cut hours or not, my current vacuum situation at home was getting desperate. I'd been borrowing my neighbors vacuum a couple times a month for a good deep clean and using my little excuse for a canister vacuum in between. It was just not doing the job. I walked into Target to get some toiletries, saw the vacuum on sale (I had also checked it out online first) and I snapped it up and dropped it into my cart. I had been planning on buying one this upcoming weekend, I just pushed the purchase forward by a week.

I know am the proud owner of a vacuum that has sucked up more dirt and dog hair than I realized was still in my carpets. I have a cleaner and fresher smelling house. I truly feel a lot better now that I can vacuum at 2 AM, really I do. Just so you know, I also like to iron. I iron my pillow cases.

I also made some phone calls and picked up about 5 days of "extra work" at my second job, some of it is on weekends, some of it is on weekdays, it's piece meal, but it's extra work. It is a help right now.

My boss has not sat down with me to go over my new schedule. I really need a schedule so I can find ways to make up my cut hours. Part of our discussion last week was that I agreed to the temporary reduction in hours provided I had some flexibility in setting up a schedule, which he agreed to. He is out of the office today and tomorrow, so what I'll probably do is set my own schedule and give it to him. What I don't want to do is have to work 5 days at abbreviated hours, I'd prefer to have at least one full day off during the week if I'm going to be working on the weekends. This will give me a full day to run errands, schedule doctors appointments, get laundry done, all those fun things.

I have made the decision to not make myself too crazy this week about the change in my work schedule. I was getting really bitter on Sunday about that and some other stuff that has been going on in my life. I have some ideas floating around, I'm keeping my ears and eyes open for other opportunities, but I'm not panicking and trying to get this all sorted out NOW. I think a little "off time" this week will do me a world of good. I have some books and dvd's to go on or e-bay, I'll list them this week. I'm going to finish the redecorating of my bedroom, I'm going to really clean and organize my house (Fall Cleaning or Spring Cleaning if you are in the Southern Hemisphere!), and then I'm going to sit down and write out the things I need (personal, home, work, car) and the things I want, look at my budget and take it from there.

Without crunching all the numbers, I should be able to meet all my fiscal obligations with the reduced hours. No extras or very very few extras, but I should be able to meet my fiscal obligations without having to dip in to my E-fund. I'll double check all that this weekend as well and make sure I don't have any surprise bills in the near future.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bouncing Back Just Got A Whole Lot Harder

I've not had a good couple weeks. First the $400 car repair, then craziness at work, then some craziness at home and finally, more craziness at work.

My business is directly affected by the economy. And now it's affected me. Because of a sharp downturn in our business, my work hours have been cut. Yup, cut. I'm not happy about it at all. Not happy because for the past couple months, we have been working like little crazy people to attract new business and work with existing clients. Just to keep it simple and straight, that strategy did not work and we did not get our new business and we ended up losing a couple clients as well. Then yet another closed door meeting and me getting lots of information for the powers that be for said meeting.

I was told my "work was valuable " to the company, and this is a "temporary reduction in hours", but non the less, still a reduction. I now have about 12 hours a week I need to fill with gainful employment. Sigh.

A couple things have run through my mind the past couple days. One, I am grateful I still have a job (at least for now), Two I am grateful I am able to keep my health benefits and Three I am kicking myself for some less than smart spending on my E-fund, but grateful that I still have an E-Fund.

What's going to happen next? I have to work out my reduced hours schedule with my office, I have to find out when it actually takes effect (this week, next week-my boss was rather ambiguous about the exact start date). Today, the only upside to this whole thing is that maybe this will force me to really get creative with my "plan" to work for myself or to get creative with alternative income sources. There are lots of downsides to this, but I just don't want to write about them today.

Just for giggles, here is what my favorite on line astrologer had on her web page today.

Monday November 10 – Moon into AriesMoon Meditation:

“Sassy wins the day…”

The Sun links first to Uranus and then to Saturn over the next 24 hours. If you’ve just had a big change in your life, today’s going to help you to take it all onboard and start to inculcate the ramifications. Which is a multi-syllabic way of saying we can all now start to get more used to some of the changes in the air (and I’m not just talking about the US presidential election, but you can bet Barack Obama’s really sucking up the change and acclimatising himself right now!)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Updating the Blog Roll

I'm going to be updating my blog roll next week. Some folks have stopped blogging, some have changed URL's, some have gone private. I'm happy to put your blog on my list, just leave me a comment and I'll update next week.

A Contest at Today's Budget

Check out the contest here.! You could win a card to Target, Borders or!

Good luck all!

Just Really Busy This Week

And I'm also stressed. We've been busy at work. Lots of meetings, lots of planning and strategy sessions, lots of communication with clients, lots of closed door meetings, lots of phone calls, lots of Betty I need this report redone NOW! Yikes to say the least.

I'm not sleeping well and eating well sort of went out the window. Does rice with salad dressing count as a real meal? I did make some adequate soup the other day, froze some, have some for meals. I am just tired. And I'm working the second job this weekend.

I've been MIA at the gym for a couple reasons. The main one is that I let my trial membership expire due to the changed work schedule. The other is I've just not gotten back to the gym to renew. I was assured that I would not be charged an initiation fee when I 're-join'. I do hope that is the case. I really miss "my time" at the gym and the routine of cardio, weights, quick shower and a sauna. The physical benefits are great, but the mental ones even better!

I did go to a conference last weekend and it was glorious. It was in a warm and sunny place. The conference went well, I had a great dinner on Saturday night with some really nice people, I shopped only a little (and bought two holiday gifts). The best part is almost the entire trip was paid for or reimbursed by work for me. I had a check in my hands two hours after submitting my travel/expense form. The other upside was I went to bed really early both Friday and Saturday and SLEPT- a lot. And took a nap on Saturday. And slept on the plane.

My animals are feeling really neglected and my one dog showed his displeasure by chewing things he should not have chewed. Oh yeah, he also decided it would be fun to "mark" on my couch and my bed. To mark means to pee. I was really annoyed last night. I got home, he was loose and he "marked". I almost lost it. I had to pack up all the laundry and bedding and find a laundromat that was still open. I did make it to my regular place, but they have changed their hours, closing an hour earlier. I did get everything washed and most things dried (my down pillows are going to have to be re-washed and re-dried). I did end up spending about $25 to wash, dry, fluff, fold everything in the large commercial washers. Not exactly the way I wanted to spend my Thursday night, but there ya have it. Tonight I tackle my ironing pile....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Why I Read My Supposed Junk Mail- I got Slammed by my Own Phone Company

It's not because I have some sick fascination with letters, it's because many times legitimate letters and bills can be disguised as "junk mail'. Like the letter I got yesterday from Sprint welcoming me as a 'new long distance customer".

New customer? I don't have long distance phone service from anyone. I had it turned off about 2 years ago when I discovered that I got better rates using a calling card for my inter and intra state long distance phone calls. The basic Sprint fees alone were $7.99, less any usage charges. For $8 a month, I get something like 300 minutes of talk time on my calling card. I really don't use my land line all that much. 300 minutes of talk time can last me a very long time,like a couple months.

I called Sprint ASAP and they told me that my local carrier, ATT, set up the long distance. I did get Sprint to cancel the account, telling them that I never authorized any one to set up an account and I sure as hell did not and would not be responsible for any charges. I then called ATT and sat on the phone for 30 minutes while the "customer service" agent insisted I set up the Long Distance service. I told him that I never did, I used a calling card, and my last Long Distance company was MCI. The customer service agent said if I dialed Long Distance on my phone, I'd be using Sprint, unless I had all Long Distance turned off. I sighed and said, Yes, exactly, I can not dial ANY long distance inter state or intra state, I HAD the Long Distance turned off, you, ATT have without my permission, signed me up for Sprint Long Distance. I want a block put on my line. You, ATT, have slammed me. If you are not able to put a block on my line, then lets get a manager who can. It's very simple, I don't want ANY long distance service unless I call in to authorize it.

I was not in a mood to deal with ATT. I've had to call them several times and each time it was a miserable experience. First, they wanted to sell me all sorts of calling plans and services I don't want, and then they want to know why I don't want these "fabulous" plans. I guess they have a hard time understanding the phrase-No, I'm not interested. Their revenge-to slam me!

The funny thing was the last time (like last February) I called ATT I was assured that the notation on my bill stating Sprint was my chosen carrier was a default statement and I was assured I did not have any Long Distance Carrier.

I'm not happy with the waste of 40 minutes of my time calling Sprint and ATT. I know I had a block on the line to begin with and pretty much, ATT over rode the block as a 'service' to me it's 'valued' customer.

The lesson here is even though that envelope may look like junk mail, you do have to take a few moments to open it and read it through. Had I just glanced at it and tossed it in the recycle pile, I would have had an account and related fees I never authorized or wanted.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

To All My US Readers-Rock The Vote!

I'll keep it brief. If you are a registered voter in the USA, please exercise your right to vote and vote for the candidate of your choice today!