Friday, July 8, 2011

Lost in the mail?

I freely admit that I'm a creature of habit and have always been a little fanatical when it came to paying bills. Maybe it was growing up poor, but I've always tried to pay things on time even before I had heard of a credit score. Plus, I really hate late charges. It's one thing to pay a late charge because you just didn't have the money available to pay on time. But, to pay a late charge because you forgot the bill? It's like throwing a pile of dollar bills in the floor and setting them on fire. It really irks me and I never really understood it until it happened to me.
I don't remember what was going on in my life at the time, but I remember totally forgetting to make a payment on an installment loan. This was years ago before you could even get a free credit score. I ended up calling the company and they waived the late charge for me. I don't think companies are as understanding with their fees these days. But, it's always worth a try. I've had a few payments lost in the mail. No, really, they were lost in the mail. Of course, I didn't know until the next bill came in with a big fat late charge. Let that happen on a credit card these days and you'll end up with 24% or higher interest. It's just easier to pay the bill online.
After years, and I do mean years, the due date changed on my electric bill. Before I even had a house of my own, I'd go with Mom to pay our bill. So, that due date has been in my head since I was a child. They changed it because they were going to centralized billing. Really? Couldn't the central computer use the same due date? So, here I am trying to remember if this is the week the bill comes in the mail. Hopefully it won't get lost in the mail.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Is it the heat or what?

It's Summer and the living is easy. Right? Maybe it's the heat, but tempers seem to be a little short everywhere these days. I was waiting in line at the pharmacy the other day and they forgot me. So, my wait turned into several minutes. Honestly, I kind of 'zoned out' and didn't realize how much time had passed. At least I didn't notice until the clerk kept apologizing to me. I kept saying it was no problem and also thought, hey, if that's the worse thing that happens today, then it will be a good day. Almost immediately afterward, I was a victim of road rage. It happened so quickly that I didn't have time to be scared, but afterward, I kept wondering what had happened. I still don't know what I did and though I had obviously upset a guy in a pick-up, he never honked his horn.
So, in the span of a few minutes, one stranger was apologizing to me for something that I wasn't even upset about and another was chasing me down for some unknown slight. What's up with everyone lately? Can't we just take a step back, take a deep breath and relax a little? Do we always have to be wound so tightly that when the slightest thing goes wrong, it's a disaster? Well, waiting a few extra minutes in line is not a disaster. If you've never lived through one, you've definitely seen a disaster on television. And, I betting if you take a step back, you can see the difference.
Yes, we're all under a lot of pressure - family, work, finances - but you know what? The key words there are 'we're all under a lot of pressure'. Not just you or me, but everyone. We all have our own set of problems and you never know what might be going on in some one's life. You've been of those days where if one more thing happens, you'll either snap or be reduced to a puddle of tears. Just one more straw and it'll break your back. Don't be some one's straw today, and maybe someone will give you a break too. It is summertime after all.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Star Spangled Banner

Oh! say, can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming—
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous flight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming!
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
Oh! say, does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
On that shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses!
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream;
’Tis the Star Spangled Banner, oh! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave;
And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation,
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto—“In God is our trust”—
And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!