All preparations from Yule aside, I have been very, very busy lately! Grab a cup of cocoa or your beverage of choice and prepare to be impressed by my exploits.
Remember the humans’ retirement checks that were mailed at the end of November and which didn’t come? The female was finally able to get hold of They’re Really Swamped (TRS), but they told her she’d have to wait for ten days after the checks failed to show. So she called again on the 9th of this month, and the Helpful Person told her that yes, they could stop payment on the checks and, yes, they could directly deposit the amount into the humans’ accounts, since they had all the direct deposit information now. After several days, the human female checked the bank account. No money! (Have I mentioned that everyone at TRS works for me?) She called TRS and asked when they might expect their funds, since the direct deposit info was “all ready to go.” “Seven to ten days from the 9th,” was the answer. Finally, on the 16th of this month, the money appeared in the humans’ account–with a hold on it, so it was Schroedinger’s money–both there and not there. It’s finally available, and they’re going to need it…
In other news, I’m still working on training the felines, and I’m happy to report there’s progress. Flannel Cat, as you can see, can unerringly pick out the softest surface upon which to sit/lie/sleep. She does especially good work with towels fresh out of the dryer.
There is still no resolution to the roof issue. The roof is on, but the new guttering is merely a rumor. Calls to the roofer (who has still not been PAID because they have not presented the check from the insurance company for the humans to sign) are of no avail. The humans learned last Friday that Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… gave a green light to replacing the cracked bathroom skylight way back on the 10th. Has anyone from the roofing company conveyed this to the humans yet? No, they have not! The human male only learned of it when he had to call USAA because of the surprise I left for him in the garage.
Cracked sheetrock coming down! So there’s a third claim for this year. The human female went up in the attic (very gingerly, because how safe are those pull-down stairs now, eh?) to see if she could suss out the problem. Turns out that all the tubs of old books and Yule lights and such are on plywood boards laid across the rafters, so that part of things is all right. The sheetrock, though is a lost cause. I know what happened, and so the human female thinks she can guess. Years ago, a few shingles of the old green roof came off in a storm and the humans had to have them replaced. The roofer (different roofer) brought out a whole bundle of green shingles and left the extras with the humans in case they were ever needed again. Those shingles lived for a time on the back patio, but eventually the human female put them in the attic, where they were either placed or nudged to lie largely on the sheetrock rather than the rafters. Ehehehehe! She can’t even provably blame this on me. We’ll see whether she’s honest enough to say as much to the insurance adjuster. I bet they deny the claim (you’ll recall that everyone at USAA works for me as well.) In the meantime, some heavy things have been removed from the attic, the bicycles have been taken down from their hooks, the car is now living in the driveway, and there is on the garage floor a minefield of dust, sawdust, wood splinters, and insulation dislodged by the hammering-on of the new roof and deposited on the contents of the attic, the attic stairs, and the human female.
The dryer is turning itself on and making funny bleeple noises again.
The credit card people sent an Important Notice about the terms of their card, and now the human female will get to wade through no-doubt-deplorable music on a twenty-minute hold and then navigate some Byzantine phone tree to opt-out of having her information sold or given to “affiliates” to “serve her better.”
The human female, in trying to access her archived University email to dig out some addresses for sending Yule greetings, found she could not access it, despite knowing the password. She then tried her active University mail and found a little something from the library.
Apparently the moron had not been checking the mail with any sort of regularity. She’d missed multiple notices about overdue books and believed herself to still be well within the staff-can-check-things-out-for-a-year safe zone. The library had proceeded to bill her for the replacement cost of eight books, plus the late fine. Of course, this made her feel horrifically guilty, so she immediately sent an impassioned appeal for clemency and rounded up the books so she could return them. One of the books, a large pictorial tome about ecclestiastical edifices in Hungary, had become lodged 2/3 of the way down a stack of equally coffee-table-sized books. The human female unstacked the stack all right, but everything that was leaning against the stack (DVD’s, a few cassettes, quite a lot of paper, etc.) succumbed noisily to the laws of physics.
Let’s have a better look, perhaps from an aerial vantage point.
The next day (after been having directed by TAMU IT services to a new and unannounced interface for accessing old emails) she and the human male loaded up the books and drove up to campus (avoiding Commencement Ceremony crowds!) to drop off the books and do some more begging. They got to the end of the driveway before they realized they didn’t have the new, recently-issued parking permit hang-tag, so they had to go back inside and hunt for that. They eventually did make it up to campus, navigating the labyrinthine parking garage and hauling the box of books up the ramp to the library. The clerk at the circulation desk (unfortunately) declined to publicly humiliate the human female via loudspeaker and checked the books back in. She said that since the books were returned, all the replacement fees would be waived and only the $16.00 in late fees would apply. The human female thanked her profusely and tried to pay. “No, no!” Was the answer. “You can’t pay here.” Instead, she was directed to TAMU Marketplace, some hitherto unseen website that handles all sorts of payments. This is a tiny sliver of the interface:
It goes on and on and on, scrolls and scrolls in the same vein. It’s all very cryptic. Iron spikes? Launch? Launch what? Searching as directed on “my library” returned fifty-three different options, none of them the actual library record. She found the library fee and fine portal eventually and where to pay, but before she hit the button, she had another look at her record. All $286.05 was still showing owed. Ehehehe! I always like it when I can get two heart attacks from the same bit of mischief two days running. Reading that the library does not like partial payments, she fired off another message to Fines Appeals in order to point out that all the books were returned and asking when her record would reflect the return of the books. And of course this was a Friday, so she got to stew all weekend.
And come to the realization that she had failed to get a receipt for the returned books.
The ugly couches continue to shed bits of fake leather, the human female needs new shoes and a new drop-proof phone case, the human male needs a new belt, and there are still Yule gifts to buy and the taxes to pay in January. Between those and the dryer and the garage ceiling, the humans are hoping and praying that TRS doesn’t see the Dec. 16 deposit of checks and say, “You were paid in December and you can’t be paid twice in the same month, so no checks for you on December 30.”
All in all, the humans are regarding the piggy bank with a calculating eye. Can’t wait for them to smash the porcelain porker and discover I’ve raided the stash of cash and replaced it all with expired coupons for thirty cents off the cat food the Terror Twins won’t eat.
Suffice it to say, I am not on any fat man’s “nice” list!