Thursday, November 4, 2010

There's a monster under my bed

It's 5:20 a.m. and my 8 o'clock class is canceled so why am I up, you wonder?  Well, scary dreams of monsters and thieves and...Poof.  There you have it and I can't go back to sleep.

Induced by recent visions of ghastly ghouls, and zombies, and such?  Naw, these monsters are WAY scarier than any trick-or-treater that came knocking on my door.
Today (around 5AM) brain decides to dream something from way out of left field.  Thanks, brain.  I dreamt that my mom called to tell me someone had contacted her by phone to report that I'd been using someones identity and had been spending peoples' money crazily.  When she called, I was horrified, "who would say such a thing about me?!  That's absurd! You didn't give them any information about me because you know there's scammers..." Then, I woke up

BUT I COULDN'T GO BACK TO SLEEP and I tried, I really did, but it was no use.  My brain tried to tell itself that it was only a dream, but self was disturbed.  Wouldn't you be?

My brain flashed back to last year when we bought this home and I recalled my credit report. Albeit a good score, there were two things on there that I found alarming and I couldn't sleep because of them.

First alarm: A measly $10 bank fee from the bank that I previously used.  Mind you, when I closed that I account I'd only used it twice in a year's period because the new place I'd moved to had only one location VERY far away from where I lived in the city sooooo I kindly went in to withdraw the money from my savings and check and closed shop.  All seemed on the up-and-up, I thought.  For years.  THEN, the credit report.  Apparently, in an "FYOU for closing your account with us today", the bank charged one last monthly fee, then never sent a statement stating that I owed anything because, DUH, I no longer had an account with them.  Is that even legal? 

Second alarm:  Since  my company was moving me, at the time, I had to break lease on my apartment.  I still owed three months out and I paid it.  All.  Within the time specified. So case closed, right. Right?  No. Magically, an amount showed up anyway, but during a random month that was not the time when I moved out so I'm confused.

The credit score, folks, is the monster of which I speak, and the bankers are the thieves that haunt my sleep.  Maybe election day subconsciously stirred up these monsters in my mind because I view politicians as monsters in their own right.  I promised myself I wouldn't go "all political" in this blog. Ever. Sorry.

But in this day and time, these really are the scariest things a person can imagine.  How did they get where they are?  Did my parents generation deal with the big bad credit monster and identity thieves?  I don't remember ever having heard of them before my time and my time happens to be an interesting one, by the way.  I was growing up in that interesting transitional phase to witness cell phones become as necessary as the air we breathe.  I watched checks and paper money fade away to be replaced by plastic swipey things that seem so easy, so convenient.

And therein lies the problem.  Or, at least, part of it.  The warning, "what seems too good to be true probably is" has been trumped for the "gimme, gimme, gimme" mentality that so many of us share.  "Work?  Why, work for it when it can be done in a much easier way?"  But, easier comes with strings attached to puppeteers who have us dangling like worms on a hook.  "Why balance a checkbook when  I can bank online or on my PDA?"  Because you're making yourself open to hackers and identity thieves.  Be wary of the person behind you in the grocery store line who watches you enter your pin. Be wary if your bill gets lost in the mail because your credit score will go to pot.  We take hold of convenience as if it is our God given right.  Tossing caution to the wind,we trade little bits of control for ease and comfort, but how comforting is it when it all stacks up and you can't get to sleep at night?  Is there a monster under your bed, too?

"Shut up and give me recipes", you say?  Okay. the holiday season is upon us which means I get to visit my mom.  Her boyfriend always makes Monster Cookies during the holidays so I'll share a Paula Deen version.  Here ya go!  Monster cookies seem appropriate enough : )

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