Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Taking Care of Business

Big Business

I got a call again on Monday from one of my credit card companies, Urbi-Finance, complaining that I owed them money. Ugh, I thought, I did that on-line bill pay through my bank, and something went wrong. I asked them if they hadn't gotten an on-line payment, and no, they said they hadn't.

So I checked the on-line thingy for the bank, and it showed that the payment went through. And then I noticed something, a BAD something. The last four digits of the credit card number that weren't Xed out were the same as on my other credit card, the one that wasn't having problems.

I figure I somehow, stupidly, typed in the same number. So my mistake, and not a good one.

I called the bank, and they said the payments had gone through and been accepted by Urbi-Finance, so I should try talking to Urbi-Finance.

I called Urbi-Finance, and told them about my mistake. They said there is no way to track down a payment problem, but that I have to have my bank fax the payment information. [I was frustrated! What kind of multi-national financial company doesn't have the ability to track payments in all sorts of ways? Seriously? Think about it!]

So I called my bank again, and explained my mistake and what Urbi-Finance said. The customer service person said he couldn't fax that information, but that he'd put through a search request to track down the information and resolve the problem.

This morning, there was a message on my machine when I got back from my bike ride asking me to call so that the bank could put through a conference call with Urbi-Finance. We played phone tag a bit today, but finally this afternoon we got it all together.

The bank account guy put through a conference call to Urbi-Finance; I explained what I'd done to the Urbi-Finance guy. And the Urbi-Finance guy looked and said that I've got a large credit to my account with the last four digits XXXX. But, XXXX is the other account, I said.

Well, turns out my other account, even though it's with a different company, is actually an Urbi-Finance card. It took a while, but the guy said he was able to correct it and that the money will be credited to the right account within a couple days.

Boy, was that a stupid mistake!

Still, if the customer service folks at Urbi-Finance had tried to figure stuff out with my first call, they should have figured it out, no? They did when the bank got them to try.

Little Business

I made a couple of calls today that I've been putting off. I'm bad about putting some things off, but there's no good reason I put these calls off. And both of them are in my own interest, totally, and my choice, but still, I put them off. But I couldn't put these off any longer, realistically, and get what I want. Now, because I put one of them off so long, I'm going to be have a minor difficulty in the next week (or whenever). I am NOT thrilled with myself. Stupid Bardiac! I need to learn not to put things off, but even so, I should have predicted that it would be six weeks to do this, rather than say, three or four weeks. Three or four weeks would make sense to me; but six weeks is reality.

Biking Business

Usually, I drive my bike to a trailhead and ride a rails-to-trails trail which is relatively flat and goes a long ways. But I've felt that I should at least try some hills to build a little leg strength. One of my friends was teasing me a while ago, about how she knew some hills that would kick my ***. I responded that she should be real, because my driveway kicks my *** (and it's a normal driveway, with a very slight slope, about a car and a half long).

I live near the top of a hill in some hills. [NB. If you're a real biker, these count as hillocks, perhaps. The Northwoods is NOT the Rockies, the Sierras, the Andes, the Pyrenees, the Alps, or anything like that. But for me, they're hills.]

A couple times now, I've taken short rides (5 miles or so) up and down the hills near my house, and I can make it up the hill.

A while back, I noticed a trail along the side of a local highway about a mile from my house, but prompty ignored it figuring that if I made it to the highway and rode there, I'd never make it back up the hill to my house. I continued to ignore it, but wondered where it went.

Today, I finally put things together and rode my bike down to the close trail and rode out on it. It went out about 3 miles along the highway out of town, but then there was a nicely paved road leading off away from the highway, so I took that. And there were hills, up and down hills. And very little traffic.

The problems are, and there are two: one, I'm a scaredy cat going downhill. If the bike gets up to 30 on the speedometer, I'm wide-eyed with terror, and playing the brakes. I pretty much brake down all the hills to keep it well below that. And then, I'm a whuss going uphill!

But the new bike was a help, since it has some serious granny gears!

I rode about 16 miles, and my legs really knew they'd had some exercise coming up the final hill to my house. Boy did I go SLOW!

When I was a little kid, I remember having this sense of total freedom when I got on the bike. I could cross the local highway to go to the store when I had money; I could ride to other suburbs. Today, for the first time in a long time, I got that sense of freedom on my bike instead of in my car. There's something about being able to go up that hill to my house, so that if I want to ride somewhere, I know I'll be able to make it home. Very fun!


  1. Banking problems are the bane of my existance. I don't have many options here in PRU City, so I have to live with the various levels of ineptitude my bank offers - not posting payments, random service charges, incorrectly managing international debits. They're always very polite when they fix the problem but it still adds to my stress level!

  2. the online banking is finally helping me get most things in order but it's been a slow process.

    biking sounds great! ben t rode his bike to baseball practice -- he was not thrilled, but I too remember that freedom as a young teen -- I could go anywhere (in our small town).

  3. I've put off some stuff too, and now it's coming back to haunt me.
    Congratulations on the biking freedom!

  4. This makes me want to get back out on my bike: bike freedom! When I lived in Flatland City, where there were more bike paths, I used to ride much more, but the hills around here--well, let's just say I have to walk my bike up them. On the plus side, the countryside is beautiful.

  5. PhD Me, Stress is right! Banking is stressful for most of us, I think, even at the best.

    Timna, Yes for Freedom! From about 7 or 8, I pretty much rode anywhere I wanted, even downtown (which meant crossing a highway). It was great!

    Ceresina, I hope the haunting's not too bad!

    Undine, Hills are HARD! I go slower on my bike than I would walking, I swear!