Anne Lorene’s Blog

Archive for November 2007

Socks for my daughter in law for Christmas. She is busy due to the fact she is just past her due date, so I don’t think she will be looking here for a while.
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Many years ago, I spent several weeks (yes, weeks) in the hospital. After a while, the outside world ceased to exist. I lived within the confines of my room, eating awful food and being poked and prodded, put to sleep, cut open, looked at, repaired, and awakened. After 20 days, I started hallucinating and didn’t stop until I got home into my own bed.
I tend to overplan my life at times, trying to allow for most contingencies, but this time, there was no way to prepare for this mess, only I didn’t know it. Yesterday, I had a similar experience, only it lasted about 20 hours. It started innocently enough, I got up extra early in Portland, at my son’s home. My daughter and I had planned to return home that day, and had flights an hour apart. This meant only one trip to the airport, which is quite a distance from my son’s home. Her flight left at 7:30, which meant we had to be at the airport at 6 a.m. Figure an hour’s travel time, and that put us leaving for the airport at 5. That meant we had to get up at 4:30. There was no light at all when we got up. Since it was 30º in Portland, and 16º in Minneapolis, I dressed accordingly. Put on my wool socks, a sweat shirt and my down filled coat.
We got to the airport on time, got though security, had breakfast. Daughter was flying direct back to Salt Lake. I had a layover in Las Vegas, just long enough to change planes and then it was home to Minneapolis in time for dinner. She boarded her plane, with no problems. Piece of cake, I thought. I had an hour to kill before my flight left, and I quietly knitted my way through a sock heel. I was prepared for anything. We boarded our plane at 8, got seated, they turned on the engines and we waited. And waited. And waited.
At 9:00, the captain’s voice came over the intercom.
“We are having trouble with an indicator light and are waiting for maintenance to come and look at it.”
Now Portland, while being a good-sized city, does not have a huge airport. How long would it take for a mechanic to arrive and look at the plane? The answer was half an hour. He got there, looked at it, took a coffee break, decided what was wrong. Still no fix, and departure time for us.
Getting it fixed took another 15 minutes, and then half an hour was spent filling out the paperwork to show that he had fixed it.
Now it’s 10: 30. That’s the time I should have been setting down in the desert and scurrying to catch my Minnesota bound flight.
No such luck.
We took off without incident. Our captain announced that since most of us had connecting flights to somewhere else, the airline had rerouted all of us and when we arrived in Sin City, there would be people waiting for us, to tell us where to go and we would all be on our way soon.
Do they have a special class that all pilots take titled, “How To Lie To Frustrated Passengers To Keep Them Happy While Flying?” After we landed, he announced that EVERYONE had to get off the plane, even those who were supposed to be flying on to Orlando. They were going to get on another plane and continue their flight. Now, just wait a cotton pickin minute here. If the plane was OK to fly to Vegas, why wasn’t it OK to fly to Orlando? That’s one of life’s great unanswered questions.
As we trooped up the walkway, there was NO ONE at the US Airways counters. In fact, there was no one from the airline that we could see in that whole part of the concourse. So we waited, and waited and waited again (catch a theme here?). After 20 minutes, some guy showed up, and wandered over to the desk. He was immediately assailed by some 60 people who had missed their connections. Ten minutes later, he was joined by two other women. We were asked to stand in line, and they would get to us, but we would all be taken care of, we were reassured. The line did not move for 5 minutes. Finally, it dawned on us that they had not made new reservations for us, and were frantically scrambling to find space for us on other flights. After half an hour, the guy just walked away from the desk, leaving several of us stranded people to move over to the other line and continue to wait.
The guy in front of me was trying to get to National Airport in DC. That’s where his car was. They were trying to route him through Baltimore and then have him drive to our nation’s capital. Bad idea on several counts. First of all, traffic between Washington and Baltimore at best is a mess, but the Middle East peace conference was in Annapolis (nearest airport being Baltimore) the next day, and between delegates arriving and security details, the whole place would be in total gridlock.
Finally, it was my turn. How hard would it be to get me on a flight to Minneapolis?
“Gee, if we had gotten to you half an hour ago, we could have put you on a flight that is leaving now.”
Now wait again. I was here half an hour ago, YOU were the ones who were NOT here half an hour ago, not me, lady.
So I had a choice to make: I could catch a flight leaving at 7:05 pm and arrive at 12:15 in the morning. Or I could stay in Vegas overnight and catch the 11 am flight that I missed that morning. People who know me, and that’s probably anyone reading this, know that Vegas is not my kind of town. I just don’t dig that scene. Never have. No one is going to just take my money away and not give me anything for it. One eyed bandits are so unappealing, and I have yet to see someone be gleeful just sitting there hour after hour feeding money into them. But I digress, I pulled a minor fit here. I asked for a voucher for lunch and one for dinner. I am a diabetic, I told them. I had not eaten for six hours and since they were not serving any food on any of these flight, I need to eat. They decided not to risk my passing out on them an issued me a $5 voucher for lunch and a $10 one for dinner. Good grief, this is an airport. You can’t even get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, (if you could find one) for under $7. I also demanded a voucher for a cab ride home, since I was not about to have friends come and pick me up at the ungodly hour I would arrive in the Cities.
So then, I spent the next six hours hanging around one of the most dull places in the world, trying to find a place to be comfortable, but there was no place to rest my head. I just had to sit there, knitting and be tired. Finally, I, along with some other disgruntled passengers, were on the plane heading home. We made it to Minneapolis with no problems. Well, there was one. I had to find the US Airways person to get my voucher and pick up my two bags. I found her, showed her the confirmation message, and she filled out the paper for me, telling me that the cab drivers all knew what to do with it and they would pay him.
One last hurdle was left. I needed to pick up my bag and find a cab. After a 15 minute delay, (two flights arriving at the same time were fighting for the one baggage carousel that was open) our bags arrived. I got my large suitcase with my clothes. Now all I had to do was pick up my CPAP machine and I was on my way home.
Yep, you guessed it; no CPAP machine appeared. All the bags from both flights were now reunited with their owners and mine was not in the mix. So it was off to file a report on my missing bag. It would probably be on the noon flight tomorrow morning, they said. Ha! Another graduate of the “Tell them anything to keep them happy” class was talking here.
I headed for a cab, and got the one cab driver who had no idea what to do with voucher. Trust me, I said and talk to the airline in the morning. By this time, it was past my bedtime. It was almost my getting up time. I had been awake and trying to get home for 17 hours. I was tired.
Tonight things are not much better. My bag has not shown up. There is no trace of it, according to the information on the website. The airline guy I called was in India and he had not seen my bag, either. I found out that I could rent a machine for $200 a month, pay $2100 for a new one, or wait for it to show up. None of these alternatives sounds promising.
I am tired and crabby. I am going to wash my hair and head for bed. And try to sleep, which is a challenge without my funny machine.
Maybe when I wake up, I will be in the real world, and not this alternate universe. I can hope, can’t I?
This is a double for my kitty

Actually it all started a week ago today. It did not start out well and went downhill from there. First of all, coming on the heels of the identity theft mess (more about that later), I spent the whole of Friday night preparing for a demonstration on using powdered milk and making yogurt for the Relief Society group in Red Wing, some 50 miles away. It had been a week and half since I talked to their leader and just assumed that everything was a go.
Well, it wasn’t. The leader had canceled the meeting and left town with her husband, but she hadn’t called ME (it’s all about me!). I talked to the other counselor when I was in the chapel at Red Wing, and she knew that it had been canceled, but didn’t know anything more.
Then on Tuesday, I had to go and close out my bank account, and open a new one. I also had to contact the police department, all the creditors who were taking money out of my account on a regular basis (including the IRS), and the credit reporting bureaus. I think I have everyone accounted for. What a mess. I also had to order new checks and got the management company to pay for them.
I did this because I wanted to be sure that no one could mess with that account. The police have searched the rental agent’s apartment and no trace of the check has been found anywhere. It could mean that she destroyed the check (hasn’t said she has done that), has an accomplice who has all the checks, or it’s sitting around somewhere the police haven’t gotten to yet. All I know is that I could not take the chance that someone could use the information to open accounts in my name and start charging things. I am also worried that I might not be aware of them. That means I have to monitor my credit reports more than once a year. I put a fraud alert on my reports, hoping that will help.
Meanwhile I have a new bank account that I can’t really use yet. I have some starter checks, but since they don’t have my name on them, many people do not want to accept them. I have a check card coming, but it won’t be here for another week at least, and my checks with my name on them won’t be coming for several weeks.
I also had to buy a new paper shredder, since my old one had given up the ghost a while back. And I have to go through all the trash coming out of my house to make sure there isn’t anything with my name and other information on it. I had been doing that before, but I wore out my shredder last year.
But the worst thing happened on Wednesday night. Little Guy Noir slipped out of my door when I was getting something from a friend and I didn’t realize it until later that evening. He hasn’t been seen since. I left some food out for him at the back door last night. Emme is frantic, she is so distraught about her buddy being gone. My hope is that he hasn’t left the complex and someone will see him and return him or that if he gets picked up by animal control they will scan him. He has been microchipped. I really miss him, too and hope he shows up. It’s been pretty cold these last few nights, but I hope he found someplace warm to hole up. I have left the garage door open a bit in the hopes he might figure out that it was a safe place.
Darn!

This is an interview my sister gave about her novel. I think a lot of her personality comes through. Again, this is so very cool to have a published author in the family.
Writer in the Pines: Author Interview: Janet Kay Jensen
Besides it solves my Christmas giving for the year. Everyone I know will get a copy of it.
Go Janet!!!

The New Place
For four years, I lived in a large apartment complex right across the street from 3M’s corporate HQ. The apartments were originally built to house 3M employees who were there on long term assignments. People lived there for years, often 20+. The last year that I lived there was a nightmare, though. There was an armed robbery, thefts of personal property off of balconies and from storage areas within the building. The final straw came when I had to call the police when two men were threatening each other with guns out in the parking lot one night. One of them lived in my building.
The old place

So I moved about five miles away, to a new townhouse in a much safer environment, or so I thought. I filled out my application for a credit check to prove that I paid my bills, giving my SSN and other information. I had friends who moved in there who did not have such a positive experience. They paid their first month’s rent, signed the lease and moved in. When their bank statement came through, the check to the management company had been altered; the name of the management company had been crossed out. In its place was the name of the assistant manager. She also endorsed the back of the check. When questioned about it, she said, it was no big deal, since she worked for the company. That was not a satisfactory answer for my friend, whose wife is in Utah right now. She went to the bank, got a copy of the check and faxed it to the Management company and asked just what was going on.
Obviously something WAS going on. They started to look at the reports and bank statements and found a severe shortage. (If they had been more on the ball, they would have caught it sooner.) The employee was questioned, arrested, and put into jail.
It seems that every day brought new discoveries. I got a phone call on Tuesday saying that my November rent check was missing. Mine, and several others never made it to the management company or the bank. I guess she was getting bolder and just resorted to outright stealing the checks this time. I don’t know what she was thinking, that she wouldn’t get caught?
But it’s thrown things into a tizzy for me. I put a stop payment on the check immediately. But since the original check has not been found, things are still not settled. The police searched her apartment, but none of the missing checks were found. So, the question has to be, is someone else involved here who might be in possession of a check with all my banking information on it?
She is guilty of forgery and identity theft. I cannot assume otherwise. With the information from the credit application and the banking information from my check, she could do a lot of damage in my name. So yesterday I closed out the old account, opened a new one and then proceeded to call all the people who had permission to take money from my account, such as Qwest, PayPal, my investment people, and the IRS. The last is a bit scary, since it takes a while to process such requests. But the last thing I want to do is have the government think I am trying to get out of paying a small tax bill.
I also have to contact all the Credit Reporting agencies and put a freeze on my credit, and then go buy a new paper shredder. My old one gave up the ghost a while back and I got lax in destroying old receipts, etc. I had to order new checks. I got the management company to spring for them, since I had just bought new ones for when I moved. I go for goofy ones, and these have a Where the Wild Things Are theme.
After all the reading about identity theft that I had done, as well as keeping up with various phishing scams, I thought I was safe. I never buy online from unsafe people, only vendors I trust, such as Amazon.
It turns out the enemy within, without a gun or physical threats, has put me a lot more jeopardy than I ever thought.

Kayla

Yesterday was Breanna’s sixth birthday. She celebrated with her friends at Chuck E Cheese and I sent her some homemade socks and other goodies. I am waiting for pictures from her mom, which will be coming soon.
But today I am celebrating the birthday of my other granddaughter, Kayla. She turns 13 today. My daughter, Heather, was 17 and unmarried and wise enough to know that she did not have the resources to raise a child on her own. I was still reeling from my divorce and barely holding my head above water, financially or emotionally. The young man involved was not even ready to acknowledge paternity, let alone take over any responsibility for her welfare, or have any sort of ongoing relationship with Heather or his daughter. By the time he got around to admitting that he could have fathered this child, it was too late. Decisions had already been made. He signed over his rights without much resistance. Heather has seen him once or twice since then and had to mightily restrain herself from going over and knocking his block off.
It was a tough decision to make, and one of the most heart wrenching memories I have is the day that we gave her to Robert and Michelle to raise. It was supposed to be an open adoption, and for three years it was. We saw her several times and took lots of pictures. She was a beautiful little girl and her parents loved her. So did we. She was being raised by two loving parents who had two older boys, also adopted, and lots of animals all around. Even though we lived a few miles from each other, we respected their boundaries and tried to not interfere with her upbringing. Michelle is an excellent mother, and she works very hard at providing the best she can for her children.
And then things changed. Robert and Michelle got a divorce, then Michelle took the kids and moved several states away. We corresponded for several years more. We sent Christmas an birthday presents. Kayla has known from the beginning that she is adopted. She has pictures of her and Heather from when she was younger.
I don’t’ know what happened about seven years ago. I know that Michelle stopped responding to emails, and then stopped sending pictures. Did she feel threatened by Kayla’s independence? Did she become afraid that one day in a fit of anger, Kayla would want to come live with Heather? I don’t know. I do know that from our side, that Heather never ever considered that as an option. She has abided by her decision from day one. We would have sent her right back to Michelle.
So, today my thoughts are with Kayla. I wonder what she looks like now? Is she a typical teen ager, interested in lots of things with her friends? Is she still taking dancing lessons? What subjects does she like in school? Does she like school? What are her dreams and hopes for the future? Does she still live in a household with lots of animals?
I know where she lives. I found Michelle online last year, living in a small town in Washington. Robert is also living up there, too. I don’t know whether they are together or not. I wrote a letter to Michelle last year, and it was returned. It was a friendly, non-threatening (I hope) letter wishing her well and updating her on the rest of the family. It was returned to me. I sent it to Robert. I don’t know if he got it or what. I just know that it was not returned. I really don’t want to intrude on her privacy, but I wonder what my granddaughter is up to these days.

Jody, (the Prez), Linda (Education) , Diane (Personal Enrichment), and Me (Secretary)
I haven’t written much about my church calling, though it is a big part of my life. About 13 months ago, I was called into the stake Relief Society presidency. Since we Mormons haven’t a paid ministry, people are called to serve from within the community. You don’t volunteer for a calling. A ward is a geographical area composed of about 500 people and is presided over by a bishop and his two counselors. A stake is made up of 10 to 12 wards or branches (a unit smaller than a ward). I live in the Oakdale stake, which is made up of 11 branches,half of which are in Wisconsin, since we are right on the border. You generally don’t get to choose which ward you will attend. You are assigned, based on where you live. It makes sense, since you worship and serve those who live in your area. In Utah, wards can be a few blocks long by a few blocks, wide, but out here, they are way bigger.
Anyway, it was a bittersweet calling, since that meant our previous stake Relief Society president was being released, due to being overcome by a brain tumor. She died this past February. The new president, Jody, is way cool. She’s a bit shy by nature, but so grounded and sensible. Her counselors, Diane and Susan are really great ladies. We work hard and laugh hard, too. Since our stake is so big and we have to do visits on a regular basis, we carpool often and have a great time.
Our main function is to support the leadership in the wards and branches and help them strenghten their organization. I love meeting the women in the other areas. I am amazed and impressed with them and their love and welcoming spirit. This is a huge organization that focuses on educating and supporting women in today’s society.