Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Not Really Happy with Casey Cycle City

On June 11, 2008, I placed an order with Casey Cycle City in Newport News, VA for a red (raspberry metallic, but whatever) Yamaha Vino 125. I was told I'd be able to pick it up in the fall, as the '09s weren't available yet.

I'd spent a few days beforehand, researching the 125 cc scooters, and realized all scooters out here were selling like hotcakes at the height of the gas price hike. I thought I was doing good, and I felt good about what I was getting from Casey. I had been getting excellent service, even though I was buying the scooter two cities away and would have to bring it home in the back of my husband's pick up truck across the interstate.

So everything goes as expected. I picked up the scooter on Oct. 4, 2008. So far, I've got about 1,800 miles on it, and the guys at Casey had still be good. Even though I don't take it back there for service, they are good about answering questions for me.

At least, I thought everything had been good.

Two days ago, I decided to go online to get my free yearly credit reports. I checked with all three companies. Everything looked fine on all three, except there was a credit card listed on them that I didn't have. It was a credit card listed as being with HSBC Yamaha (or HSBC Retail Services, depending on where you check).

I apparently had a credit card with this company that I knew NOTHING about, and never even received mail from them. Hell, I never even received a card from them. And mind you, I financed my scooter through my own bank, not through the dealer.

So I called HSBC that same night to get some info from them about my "account." Apparently, someone opened that account for me on June 11, 2008...the same day I ordered the scooter. I assume it was my salesman there at Casey. I don't remember his name off hand, but I'm sure I have his business card upstairs in my filing cabinet. Obviously, I closed that account the very same night. Luckily, the woman I talked to was very nice and was surprised about my lack of knowledge of this account.

I was so pissed off about this that I called Casey the next day. As luck would have it, they were busy and their voice mail picked up. I left a message for Carolyn in Customer Service to call me back because I wanted to know how a credit card account was opened in my name without my knowledge. Of course, no one has called me back.

Aside from the risk of identity theft, according to FinAid, "Avoid opening new accounts that you do not need. Opening too many accounts and the time since you last opened an account can affect your credit score." We have only three other cards, and they do not have balances on them.

I suppose the responsible thing for me to do now would be to call the three credit report companies and try to report this card account, even thought closed, as fraud. But really, a more than a year later, will it matter?

You know, the more I think about it, the more I know that I have to call those companies. I'll call them on Friday and make sure they are aware, that even though the account had nothing bad it in, it wasn't really mine. If Casey won't call me back, they are still not getting off the hook with me.

Two things are for certain now: I will no longer recommend Casey Cycle City to anyone, and I will not return there for any other purchases.

10 Habits of Happy Couples

Oh man, do I really want to do this...compare how my husband and I rank as a happy couple to the "10 Habits of Happy Couples" list? The list itself came out just last week.

"Happy couples have different habits than unhappy couples. A habit is a discrete behavior that you do automatically and that takes little effort to maintain. It takes 21 days of daily repetition of a new a behavior to become a habit. So select one of the behaviors in the list above to do for 21 days and voila, it will become a habit…and make you happier as a couple. And if you fall off the wagon, don’t despair, just apologize to your partner, ask their forgiveness and recommit yourself to getting back in the habit."

Hopefully, Dr. Mark Goulston, the author of the list, knows what he's talking about and this list won't be a bunch of bullshit! I don't want to "out" ourselves with an unhappy marriage here on the Internet. His bio at Psychology Today doesn't mention if he's married or not...that omission might be warning sign.

Oh wait, I spoke too soon: according to Dr. Goulston's website, he is married. Good sign, then he can give relationship advice.

"Nothing against relationship "experts", but I have a little problem with experts that give advice but aren't in a successful relationship of their own. Dr. John Gray. He's the author of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus." He's also been married twice, which is nothing bad, but it does make me wonder. Shoot, his first wife was a fellow self-help author. How messed up was that relationship?!

So anyway, onward!

1. Go to bed at the same time. This is pretty random for us, if it ever happens. I tend to stay up later during the week, and on the weekends, I usually go to bed first. But then again, my husband has to get up much earlier for work than I do.

2. Cultivate common interests. We do have some common interests that we've always had, right from the get-go. As we get older, I think our cultivated interests have become more individual. Neither of us think we need to be joined at the hip all the time.

3. Walk hand in hand or side by side. We don't typically hold hands, but we do walk side by side. I think it would just be rude to not do that.

4. Make trust and forgiveness your default mode. Maybe this should be "Let it go" or "Don't sweat the small stuff." But sometimes, if you've a really, particularly intense fight, isn't it hard to let go and forgive? That's not to say that I don't trust my husband, because I do. I'd trust him with my life. Although, learning to "fight" effectively without being a bitch or holding it all in until it spills over a thte wrong time is a hard thing to do, especially if you grew up never having seen it done by both parties correctly.

5. Focus more on what your partner does right than what he or she does wrong. I think this is just nicer. Why be so pessimistic? I think we both do this.

6. Hug each other as soon as you see each other after work. Oh yeah, we go that down pat.

7. Say “I love you” and “Have a good day” every morning. I don't effectively function first thing in the morning, but most days, I am aware of my husband leaving for work, even if I'm still in bed because he comes in to say goodbye to me. On the rare occasions when he gets to sleep in when I'm leaving, I do the same for him. Call me weird, but for me (and maybe for my husband), I do it just because you don't know what your day will hold.

8. Say “Good night” every night, regardless of how you feel. Yep, we got this one too.

9. Do a “weather” check during the day. It's harder for me to get a hold of my husband during the day by phone, so when I do call him, it's usually me leaving a message for him. Sometimes, he'll call me at work. I think it's nice.

10. Be proud to be seen with your partner. I think this is the case for us too.

You know, all in all, we're doing good. As a pessimist (sometimes), I was really expecting this list to be something different, where we'd come out looking like a couple of flakes headed for a divorce or something.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cate Blanchet=Crochet Blanket?

There are few people I know that can rock a crocheted or knitted piece of clothing. My friend Jan was one of them, and my friend Nicole is one of them. I, of course, do wear my own crocheted goodies, but I don't know that I rock them. Well, there is the insanely long purple scarf from a few years back, made with about four different kinds of yarn. I do rock that pretty hard, or maybe it rocks me. But I digress...

So anyway, I'm online a few weeks ago and I stumble across this site: CraftBlog.com.au. It's an Australian crafting site. It has a free crochet pattern section so that's what drew me in...until I read this article: "Cate’s Bringing The Blanket Back."

"Cate Blanchett caused a stir last night when she turned up to the opening of Screen Worlds at ACMI wearing a traditional granny square blanket fashioned into a dress." There is a kick ass picture of her in said granny square dress. She's rockin' it, alright. And as a side note, I just have to say, that Jan would totally be digging this. I know damn well she would have started to make her own!

"The jury is still out on whether the style queen made an unusual red carpet fashion faux pas when she braved the cold wearing the doily-inspired shock frock by Australian label Romance Was Born." Oh no no no no NO. This rules! It's such a fun and retro take on something a lot of us grew up with having in our houses and never thought twice about, until it was time to curl up in front of the (big old console, sitting on the floor in a wooden body) TV during the winter.

Hey, remember, there was one of those blankets, almost the same color as Cate's dress, draped over the couch on Roseanne!

A dress like that (but made with two sleeves) would be so original. If I could pull it off, don't think I wouldn't try it, but I don't think I could do it justice.

My other most recent Internet crochet find is a blog by a guy who calls himself 8 Wit Bit. Unfortunately, it looks like he hasn't posted anything since May, but he's pretty damn good at amigurumi crochet. 8 Wit had posted a free crochet pattern he created of Brian Griffin, the dog from Family Guy. Since I had just finished Stewie's outfit for my sister, I thought an accompanying Brian would be the pièce de résistance.

But it was not meant to be. I swore and cussed and fretted over that little white dork four times and I just couldn't get the damn thing right! I don't know what the deal is...I think maybe the text pattern is not quite the same as the finished project. Brian's arms and legs don't seem to come out the same for me. Oh well, at least I tried.