Monday, November 16, 2009

Not Going To Take It Any More

Hi! Today is my beloved's birthday. We'll have a nice dinner with our son later, but have started the day with the scent of fraud on the telephone bill.

Some company (Tr@ns@act!0n Cle@r!ng) has charged us $13.99/month on the last couple of phone bills for bogus services that we never authorized. Quelle surprise, the number for billing inquiries cut me off, twice. Dr. Google says there are a number of complaints about this company's fraudulent practices, and that it is associated with another company that ponied up a large fine recently for similar deeds. So, I've filed a complaint with the FTC; plan some choice words with the phone company (AllToodle&Tweedle) allowing these jackasses to bill me; and I'll get in touch with the state department of consumer affairs. Maybe the consumer fraud unit of the state AG's office, too.

We aren't so special; this outfit could easily be scamming thousands or millions of others. (There is actually a word for sticking unauthorized charges in teh phone bill: "cramming." But I prefer "fraud.") Cluesticking is totally inadequate to the circumstances, especially when every one of us has worries about financial matters, personal and large-scale.

Edited to add: Fraudulent Cle@r!ng was billing on behalf of a company called R0cketC0mm, which itself has been accused of similar scams using other billing services to invade your phone bill. So far, my experience with phone menu heck and terminal hold at AllTwoodles is unsatisfying.

Hope the ailing Pixies are feeling better this week! What are your whines and anti-whines?


esperanza said...

W: I returned home to NO INTERNET in my house. Despite my very gentle and intelligent suggestions, Mr. E did not get it fixed until it fixed itself (huh?) on Saturday night. Hence, no commiserating or whining last week for me.

W: Sweet Baboo returned home with TWO ear infections (AW: she only has two ears) and is in the middle of her first antibiotics since she was a wee, wee, three days old. That has not, however, warded off a stuffy nose and cough that appeared today. She is well enough to be bored but not well enough to entertain herself. She is well enough to need some food for, you know, energy, but not well enough to want to eat any. Mama is going crazier, day by day.

AW: 29 weeks! After Wednesday, I will never have been this pregnant before.

Off to read my phone bill now...

kathy a. said...

Oh, good ear vibes to Sweet Baboo, and stay put vibes to Mini-Baboo!

Have reached an unsatisfying end [for now] to the billing saga. After AstringentTweeples removed the charges and sent me to the wrong federal agency [which they said was an internal department], and that agency sent me to another agency which sent me to the federal phone directory, I called the billing and "provider" companies involved [at numbers found on the internet, since the one on the bill cuts off], which both also removed charges. According to the last company, someone posing as my husband signed up for the bogus services, giving a bogus email and bogus mother's maiden name. Gah.

Madeleine said...

Fraud! Ugh. At least you have the internets to keep you company while you wait on hold to cluestick someone at that phone company.

They ought to be summarily denying charges from known frauds, is all I'm saying.

Lack of internet! Ugh. And double ear infection. Double ugh.

We started this morning with a whine (SG still at 101.7) and went to the doctor as previously instructed. The doctor said "If she's bored she's starting to get better. She should do some homework." So she came home and did some homework and ate a fairly hearty lunch and we are predicting an upswing. (Have I mentioned I love this new doctor?)

W: she's still home from school tomorrow.

W: I'm going on my work trip. My Love assures me all is well. I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

W: Also wondering how I'll handle Professional Schmoozing while not at 100% health. With my usual (lack of) grace, presumably. I'm a foot-in-my-mouth gal at the best of times. Actually, fatigue might slow my mouth down a bit and let my brain catch up. Hey, maybe I found an anti-whine! Pneumonia: Good for what ails ya.

kathy a. said...

oh, madeleine! glad SG is on the road to recovery [yes, she is], and that you are well enough to go someplace where you can -- should the need or desire arise -- retreat to the hotel room and watch re-runs while sipping beverages from room service.

i have to go do something about this birthday celebration now, like get food and a basket of goodies and run the dishes. but i'm happy to report, the company owning the bogus email address doesn't have anyone by my husband's name, and is very unhappy to have their good company used in such a way. the owner's wife and i are buds now.

Madeleine said...

Here's a toast to friendships born in adverse circumstances!

KLee said...

Migraine. Again. Daughter's bus hit a fire hydrant today, causing her to come home pretty late today, with an anxious mother on the way out to find her. Final exam on Wednesday. Alone in class tomorrow, marathon meeting on Wednesday. And, i have the same phone carrier, so now I have to go check our bills for fraudulent charges, too.


Can someone stop this week? I want to get off.

esperanza said...

A whine/question that I have deemed too yucky for a facebook update. Aren't you pixies lucky?

When the Sweet Baboo was discharged from the NICU, we received one of those blue hospital-issue snot suckers. Er, bulb syringes. After two years of snot sucking, it has developed a hole in the bulb part, rendering it almost worthless. If I get my thumb over the hole just right, it works. So, I bought a new, white snot sucker/bulb syringe. It SUCKS. Rather, it doesn't. It's horrible. Does anyone know where I can get a blue, hospital-issue snot sucker?

KLee, we'll stop the week. Migraine and Again should not be adjacent words. Sorry, and I hope it goes away quickly.

kathy a. said...

Oh, yeah. Putting the brakes on this week sounds good. KLee, so sorry about the migraine again and the fire hydrant disaster.

Esperanza, can you call the local ped ward and ask? Maybe they'll sell you one.

liz said...

Wishing that I could make a living blogging. But it's not in the cards right now.

Emily said...

Esperanza my ped. recommended an ear bulb, rather than a nose bulb. You have to be careful, but it is much more effective than the "official" snot suckers that you can buy in the baby aisle. Of course, this was a while ago (oldest is 18), and things may have changed since then. The one we have is blue (although it is not used for snot sucking anymore, we still have it--or at least we did recently. I should find it and throw it out, but really, you never know when you might need one).

My whine--someone ate all the walnuts off the top of my muffins. I made a batch of bran muffins (nothing fancy, just the All-Bran recipe with some walnuts thrown in) and, while they were cooling, someone picked all the walnuts (that had risen to the top). I have a set of muffins that look like survivors of a hail storm. They still taste fine, but really people--eat a whole muffin--not just the best part!

Virtual chicken soup to all ailing pixies and continued happy pregnancy vibes to Esperanza--yea 29 weeks and counting!

Amy said...

Am the only one here who has Twisted Sister in her head, thanks to the post's title?



Sue said...

Oh kathy a. - fraud/identity theft/being put on "terminate" (aka "your call is important to us") - all ick. Having it fixed - thumbs up.

Stay put vibes to Mini-Baboo and sore ears sympathies for Sweet Baboo and Mama. Try the specialty medical devices stores. The place that services hubby's wheelchair has a whole selection of things like Nose Sucker Outers.

Madeleine....what kathy said: If you start to feel The Bleh, return immediately to room and order up room service. And a movie or two.

KLee - sorry to hear about the bus accident and the migraine. Hugs to you both.

Anti-whine: I got the extra week of vacation I asked for! I can take the extra week in 2010 - Yay!!!!

Whine: Have been going to the gym almost every day since mid-September and have not only not lost weight, but have GAINED four pounds. WTF???

AW: I am feeling better overall and getting fewer headaches per week (though, to be honest, I still hurt every day to some extent - I just don't count them until they reach a level that disrupts my day).

AW: Nice coffee visit with my sisters on Saturday. Next week we're going to a local art show where local artisans sell their pottery, painting, jewelery etc in prep for Xmas. Should be fun.

Amy said...

More Stay-Put Vibes for Mini-Baboo. The tot was early, and my solitary goal when I was pregnant with Tater was to stay pregnant longer. So I figured out the magic date and called every day after that a Gravy Day -- as in, "after [whatever the date was], it's all gravy..."*

Votes for Emily's muffin misery. Who *does* that? Stealing frosting off of cupcakes, I get, but nuts off a muffin? That's insanity!

Chicken soup to the sick pixies (including pixie-childrens -- and sadly, that includes mine today) and a big hug to KLee. I'm glad Offspring was okay, but you must have been worried. And what a week for that to happen, eh? Blech.

*I just re-read that and realized that might be a regional saying. Sorry if it sounds like I've lost my mind. :|

Sue said...

Emily - walnut thieves? Really? Dude, that's just plain WRONG!!!

Anonymous said...

Esperanza--two words: "duct tape"? The fact that I immediately think of Macgyver dates me doesn't it?

Amy--that saying about the gravy--I totally got it. But I was raised in the south, and maybe they don't say it where I am now...hmmm.

Hugs to all with sick kids or sick selves.

Emily, you have made me so hungry just thinking about those yummy muffins with nice crunchy nuts on top. ANd how the best part of muffins is when the top gets kinda crunchy and to find a snack....

Sue, those extra pounds are clearly muscle! I can tell from here!

Thanks for the heads-up on the phone bill Kathy a. I'm off to check mine.

Right after that snack....

:) Wishing all a good week!

:)Neighbor Lady

kathy a. said...

Emily, my son would totally steal the walnuts. [If we have a fancy salad, he also picks out the good parts for himself.]

Amy, I've given myself an earworm with the post title. Apologies to those similarly afflicted. Hope the kidlet is feeling better.

Sue, those 4 lbs. must be muscle. Really glad that you're feeling good and the headaches are less troublesome!

liz said...


Definitely muscle.

And remember, you didn't start exercising to lose weight, you started it to feel better - and though you are not pain-free, you are feeling better so that's great!

Are you feeling stronger?

liz said...

Whine: Not enough time in the day to read all the blogs I want to keep up with.

Anti-whine: There are so many good writers in the blogosphere.

Madeleine said...

Gravy is totally acceptable up north. At least, I knew what you meant and I'm a New Englander originally.

Also, I'd like some gravy. On mashed potatoes please.

I have made it safely to Conference Spot. Unfortunately for the first time ever I am staying elsewhere, not near at all, in a smaller place with no vestige of room service. Boo on expensive conference-area hotels. If I'd known I'd be recovering from teh Bleck I might have made a different choice. As it is, my key phrase for the week is: "Taxi, please!"

My Love would like to whine that when he encouraged me to go ahead and make this trip it didn't occur to him that SG might be home sick another week. When her fever spiked to 102 again as my taxi arrived this morning, I nearly burst with "I told you I should have canceled." But I held my tongue and gave them both hugs.

My mother will want to whine, as soon as I inform her that we are going to cancel our Thanksgiving visit. We can't justify missing another week of school and ML's work after two weeks of flu.

Sue said...

~sigh~ yes, I'm feeling stronger.

Muscle weight. I'll stick to that story I guess. Still........

Whine: Kitteh frow up.

Anti-whine: Kitteh frow up on the dirty laundry waiting for its turn in the washer.

liz said...

Your kitteh resembles my morning coffee. Which spilled. Right into a box of tissues.

esperanza said...

I understood the gravy comment, but I'm in the South, too. Well, it's a whole other country here, but it's in the southern half of the US.


I am totally and completely fried. Drive to Big City for Sweet Baboo's doctor appointment this morning, lunch with a friend, driving aimlessly around Big City while the Baboo napped, my doctor appointment this afternoon, drive back home. If you're counting, 4 hours in the car. My butt hurts.

AW: Blood pressure is "really good," baby's heartbeat is good, measurements are good, and she did another of the tests that will give me two weeks of reassurance. And assured me she will not give me the same drug cocktail that make me puke incessantly the last time. Good news all around from Big City.

Anonymous said...

whine: I am severely lactose intolerant (according to testing) and have been doing better since eliminating cheese almost completely from my diet, as the little pills that are supposed to help with digestion aren't completely efficient. (I guess that's an antiwhine--that I'm doing better).

The whine is that sometimes I just really miss things like pizza and cannoli, and eating out in general (because so much stuff has added cream or dairy).
Tonight we tried a new kind of pizza from a highly recommended place, and I took my pills and tried a piece with full-on cheese, hoping I didn't regret it.

And i already do. :(
And it wasn't even worth it--not even at the time.

Next time I'll just eat something sure to be worth it, like cheesecake or tiramisu and suffer the consequences, but at least I will have enjoyed it.


--Neighbor Lady

p.s. I love the story of the coffee that spilled into a box of kleenex...

Madeleine said...

Neighbor Lady, so sorry to hear that the pizza is fighting back. And that it wasn't even worth it. What a bummer.

Emily said...

When I read: "Esperanza--two words: "duct tape"? The fact that I immediately think of Macgyver dates me doesn't it?"
I though Neighbor Lady was giving advice on avoiding a premature delivery! Definitely a huh? moment. Only on re-reading did I realize she was probably talking about the ear bulb!

Sue said...

Mullet Award for "my butt hurts." A classic. Srsly.

Emily - I loved McGyver!!!! But then, I'm old. As in 50.

Liz - nice coffee spillage.

Whine: late afternoon meeting. And y'all know I love me some meetings. NOT.

Anti-whine: I'll be home in time to watch Glee!!!!!

liz said...

W: Checked my son's HW last night. He was asked to write a minimum of 5 sentences on what a visitor to their class had talked about (Jamestown) and to illustrate it.

My son had written, "I can't think of anything" in the illustration space. That was it.

So I asked him, "What did the visitor talk about?"
"What in particular about Jamestown?"
"The Powhatens."
"Okay so now you have your first sentence."

AW: In the end he wrote SEVEN! sentences about what the visitor told them about the Powhatens of Jamestown and made an illustration of two people (one a hunter) and a deer.

W: Pulling teeth would have been easier.

Anonymous said...

Emily, I am laughing out loud. Yup, I was definitely talking about the ear bulb/snot bulb...I can see why it was a huh? moment.

And Sue, I also find Glee oddly addictive. Hated it the first couple shows (but still kept watching) and now am sucked in.

--Neighbor Lady

esperanza said...

I was trying to figure out how to use the duct tape itself to remove the snot. Now I get it. And I think it's worth a shot. Thanks, NL.

Madeleine said...

"how to use the duct tape itself to remove the snot"


kathy a. said...

Duct tape's pretty good, but I don't think it's recommended either for baby-stay-put or snot removal! yeeks!

Esperanza, glad for the good news.

Neighbor Lady -- many condolances. That pizza really ought to have been worth it. Cluesticks to the pizza-makers.

Liz -- homework is the bane of many a parent. And child. He really knew what to do, but oy, the cheerleading to get it to happen sometimes....

JenR said...

esperanza - another suggestion ... since you are (hopefully) about 10 weeks away from another hospital visit, why not just ask a nice nurse for another blue one? If you are lucky you may score 2!

Amy said...

I have a premature whine. Today at the Mothering Arts group (in other words, a play group for our toddlers with a parenting topic for us to spout off about, if we want), we got talking about families and the gifts that are given to our children at holiday times.

I love these women and their babies, but (forgive me) they are all first-timers, and they are all in for a big surprise: you can't stop people from buying your kids stuff you don't like. Period. End of story. What you do after that is certainly a matter of personal taste, but if my experience with grandmas and extended family members (who don't know your parenting style) is anything close to average, you have to get okay with the idea of receiving toys you don't like and you ought to have a plan for how to deal with those gifts in a gracious manner.

And? Declaring "That plastic crap isn't coming into MY HOUSE. I don't care what the grammas think!" is not gracious.

As much as they want the best for their kids, two of the women couldn't seem to wrap their brains around the fact that while you can choose simply to not give your one year old some of the toys you receive at holiday time, when your kid is 3 or 4 or 5, you will have to change your tactic, and yes, you might end up with toys in your house that you don't like. Sorry. That's just how it is. Instead of getting cranky about it, how 'bout we talk about ways to teach our kids some good lessons? You know, not the kinds that include talking bad about Gramma So-and-so because she lives across the country and likes to buy toys that take batteries? Because, really, it *is* the thought that counts.

Amy said...

Hey hey! Guess who learned how to open the baby jail gate while I was venting about gift giving *before it's even Christmas shopping time*.

If you guessed Tater, YOU WIN! And I lose. Bye bye, Baby-jail. :(

kathy a. said...

Amy, you are sooooo right about the gifts -- which really are no problem at all at age 1. And the problem of graciousness, and modeling good manners.

Some of my gift barriers were overcome over the years. For example, the no-barbie rule collapsed into an enormous collection of barbie-related stuff at some point, much of which was contributed by aunts who don't really support the barbie image, but wanted their niece to be in heaven. And I'm not sure where the jumbo-tub of all things barbie is, but when I find it, daughter instructs me to get rid of it all. Immediately.

There was also the "no guns" rule, which also collapsed suddenly under the "water guns aren't REAL guns" argument, resulting in approximately 900 supersoakers for gifts one year. But the no-guns rule was destined for disaster from the beginning. I have no idea how my son heard about guns when he was 2, but he was using everything from bananas to duplos as imaginary weapons. "Pow!"

Parenting is not for the faint of heart.

kathy a. said...

Amy, sorry for the rant, and even sorrier that the baby-gate has been breached!

Amy said...

kathy a., you are SO right on. and consider your daughter -- having played with barbies did not determine her life's path, little miss learning-to-live-independently-WHILE-OVERSEAS.

i certainly have a few rules, but i get that they need to be flexible and evolve as necessary. a "no disney" rule collapsed a bit when the tot, then age 2, saw and wanted super cute fishie sheets when i let her pick out a set for the new big girl bed. she didn't know who nemo was. so, we got them. i have come to learn, too, that an all-out ban creates an obsession, which is Not Fun.

i also get that it's *my* job to weed through all the gifts after we've thanked people. we've got charities we happily donate to, and then we have a nice teaching moment as well.

/end rant :)

KLee said...

Amy told kathy a.: " kathy a., you are SO right on. and consider your daughter -- having played with barbies did not determine her life's path, little miss learning-to-live-independently-WHILE-OVERSEAS."

Well, not unless you count Japanese Barbie.


Sorry. I had my final exam today, and I'm a wee bit punchy from all of the "A" in my bloodstream!

Can I get a "Booyah", anybody?

kathy a. said...

BOOYAH! and woooot! you go, KLee!!! tossing confetti; passing the chocolate cake.

kathy a. said...

please continue, friends. i'm going to say hi to daughter's first japanese teacher in the morning [with photos!]; having dinner with a bloggy/real life friend; and probably spending the rest of thursday freaking the fireplace out about work. so, let's say friday for prizes, ok?

liz said...



liz said...

When parliamentary procedure goes wrong: did you know that Robert's Rules don't let you withdraw a motion once people start voting on it, even tho you can tell that it won't pass because it needs a super-majority? Yeah.

purple_kangaroo said...

Hives + Benadryl expired in 2007 = itchy sleepless night + early-morning trip to store.

Madeleine said...

I've been in standards meetings where a vote couldn't be canceled even though everyone realized the *wrong* document was up for vote. It had to be voted "no" and then a new vote started for the correct document.

Madeleine said...

P_K, much sympathy. I hate hives.

purple_kangaroo said...

Neighbor lady, can you do soy cheese? Some brands are pretty good. It is possible to get some pizza places to put it on for you if you buy the prepackaged shredded soy cheese and bring it in with you, even if it's not an option they offer normally. Or you can get a take-n-bake with no cheese and put the soy cheese on at home.

Also, I'm highly lactose intolerant, and I can tolerate raw goat milk (but not pasteurized goat milk or raw cow's milk) and Trader (G)oe's carries TDF raw sheep's and goat's milk cheeses that I can tolerate in small amounts.

Kathy A, is it possible that anyone in (or not in) your household might have filled out a "survey," free prize, or contest entry online that involved fine print giving the telephone company permission to add charges to your cell phone? Those are pretty common--and pretty sneaky.

liz said...

The parliamentary vote was to suspend the rules and allow a group of people to become members of an organization for the last meeting before the reorganization of that organization. Normally it takes two meetings to become a member.

One member of the organization took exception to the motion and a tangle occurred. Where upon the sponsor of the motion tried to withdraw the motion and the member who had taken exception in the first place took exception to that.

It was Not. Fun.

On the plus side, we now know who in the organization lacks compassion and kindness and good sense.

In other news, the whole thing is moot, because there wasn't a quorum.

Madeleine said...

Ha ha ha ha ha, no quorum, ha ha ha. You're killin' me here, liz.

Sue said...

Booyah Klee!!! Woot!

I vote for the "It's still good" Award for PK's expired Benadryl.

As for parenting - definitely not for the faint of heart. I hate that there is a whole section of Pepto Bismol PINK that shrieks GIRL and viscious looking robots and trucks that shout BOY in the toy store. It's just wrong.

Liz - are you sure you don't work in the church, 'cause that's pretty much how all of our meetings go.

WHINE: From the "Mornings R NOT Us" person. Today I got the demonic stare down from one of my church members who sits on teh Breakfast Club committee re: amalgamation. (btw: Breakfast club is such an appropriate name for us, because it feels a lot like detention).


Boundaries. Again. Fireplace. My therapist said there would be days like this. She was right.

Setting next meeting time - eight of us on the committee. Guy from my church suggests a Monday, which is MY ONLY DAY OFF THE WHOLE FREAKIN' WEEK. I politely said that I was unavailable that day.


Begin Death Stare.

Even the other clergy person on the committee, who has the same day off as I do, said nothing. Entire table waiting in silence for me to cave and say "Ok, just this once." Ah, but I know better. If I had given in this time, EVERY fireplacing Breakfast Club meeting would happen on my day off.

Bite me Breakfast Club. Just bite me.

Anti-whine: Their tortuous silence did not break my will. We picked a Friday. Hah! High fives for moi! I did it. I said no and it worked. Best part - I did not ONCE say "I'm sorry" - because I'm not. At. All.

Amy said...

Big time votes for Sue for a "Oh No You Di'nt -- Oh Yes I Did" Award!

Madeleine said...

Yay Sue! So proud of you.

Sue said...

Aw shucks - thanks.

kathy a. said...

liz, all that drama about a moot point? you'd think the sticklers for the robert's rules would remember the quorum thing before things got ugly.

PK, uck on the hives. hope relief has arrived.

yay, sue!

Anonymous said...

Yay Sue!!!!!
PK, thanks for the soy cheese suggestion...I'll check it out!
:) Neighbor Lady

esperanza said...

Yippee for Sue. The fact that it's a BREAKFAST meeting is already bad enough, but on your day off? I think not.

And teh Robert's Rules. Yuck. It just takes one person who really knows them (uh, clearly not me) to abuse them for his/her own sake. Yuck.

The Sweet Baboo would like to whine that she had to go to the dentist this morning. And they wanted to look at her teeth. The nerve!

Anonymous said...

Who is this Robert anyway?
And who said he could be in charge???!
;)Neighbor Lady

purple_kangaroo said...

Good for you, Sue.

As for the Benadryl, it makes me turn into a zombie for the next 24-48 hours after I take it, so there was that objection in addition to the expiration date. I bought some Zyrtec and it seemed to help without making me feel like the walking dead.

I do, however, still have a whine. The whine of getting to listen politely and say "that's interesting" a lot while people tell me their theories about everything I may have done or not done to cause AJ's OCD-spectrum issues, and what we should change in our life and parenting to fix it.

Because, you know, this child who before she was even old enough to talk was doing things like freaking out because my husband colored a fish on a kiddie menu green when it was "supposed to be" blue, and having screaming fits so severe she would literally pass out over things not being the way they were "supposed to be" as a toddler, must have germophobia because our house is either too clean or not clean enough, or because I stress about it not being clean enough, or something like that. And she worries about poison and germs because of my health issues and Ebee's former food intolerance issues, of course. And she has hour-long meltdowns over things like people mispronouncing words or touching her chair because we must somehow be causing a stressful environment.

So far I'm been able to mostly bite my tongue and stick to the "that's interesting" and "thank you for your concern" types of comments.

Madeleine said...

Oh, P_K, that tongue of yours must be covered in gashes.

kathy a. said...

PK, i don't know why everyone thinks they are in a position to pronounce judgment when a child is dealing with something unusual. nor why the default position is to blame the parents. but they do, and that sucks. xoxo

Sue said...


You know Neighbor Lady, I've always wondered who this "Robert" guy was and why he got to pick all the rules. I bet he was a bully at skool. Definitely bully material there....*places finger on chin while nodding wisely*

purple_kangaroo said...

Thanks, Pixies. At least this time the therapist is not included in the whine, so that's good. We did have a minor glitch based on a misunderstanding, but got that cleared up and so far are liking him and his approach pretty well--and, even better, feeling encouraged rather than judged by him.