Friday, April 27, 2012
It has been a rollercoaster 24 hours. Tara and I decided to try our first attempt at online purchasing last night - a journey not without its issues as it turns out....
Anyone here ever heard of 'phantom transactions'?
I certainly hadn't....
Neither had Tara.
So, Tara had £5.49 in her bank account.
We had heard that Play.com was a very trustworthy online shop, so we went there for a looksee.
Tara discovered Guitar Hero World Tour - the one she first tried at Bry's wedding, and has yearned for ever since. It was £5.00. Perfect!!!
So she created an account with Play.com, made her purchase, and was thrilled...
For all of two minutes...
Then she got an email saying her debit card had been declined by the bank.
It listed several reasons as to why it may have been declined. None of which was the actual reason, as it turned out.
Tara checked she hadn't mis-typed a number...
Tara checked every other detail...
All spot on!
So, there was nothing for it but to ring the bank and see if they could explain what had happened.
Tara was on the phone with them for 30 minutes!
You see, she have never done phone banking before, so there was a lot of red tape to go through before they could tell her what had happened, and they ended up also signing her up for internet banking - yet another new thing, and all in the space of an hour!
This is a lot of change and new stuff for a 16 yr old autistic kid! Even one as well adjusted as her.
What this did remind me of while it was all going on was that I had agreed with my bank to try internet banking, and they had sent me a security gizmo a week or two earlier, and I hadn't got round to sorting it out.
So I set up my internet banking account while Tara was working through her bank conversation on the phone.
Tara eventually got off the phone with the bank, after they told her that there was a £2.00 payment pending on her account, requested by Play.com. This was why the £5 transaction was declined, because a £2 transaction was already pending from the same company!!!
This made no sense at all to us. Major head-scratching time!
I read over her emails from Play.com and there was absolutely no explanation! I checked the website to see what that said, wondering if there was an admin fee for setting up an account or something, and we hadn't seen the notification.
Tara was really upset at this point, and I told her that the only thing I could think of was that I would get £2 out of my account tomorrow (today) and put it in her account so that she could try again.
Anyway, she fired off an email to play.com asking "What the..." in polite terms.
Then I suddenly remembered that online banking meant I could transfer money to Tara's account without either of us leaving the house, or having to go into town.
So I fired up my computer and transferred the £2 over to her account.
Tara wanted to try ordering the game again right then, but I said it was better to wait until we had heard back from Play.com. Otherwise it might happen again, and we'd be no further on.
So this morning, as there was no email from Play.com, I looked at the website again, and found a phone number for them.
I rang them.
I explained what had happened, and they explained what they had done.
They had sent a 'Phantom Transaction' for a £2 amount to her bank to make sure that the account details Tara had provided were correct. Apparently, they never collect it. The amount just sits there 'pending' for a week, untouchable, and then, when they don't follow it up, the amount is 'released' back to Tara.
NO information when you create an account or make your first purchase to let you know they do this.
No notification ANYWHERE about this!
And when your money is tight, and you are using the last dregs of your account to pay for something, even an amount as small as £2 being dangled out of your reach can make a purchase impossible!
So, at least we knew what had happened, and I was assured it was strictly a one-off, so Tara tried ordering her game again, and this time the transaction appears to have gone through.
I'm holding my breath for now though, until I know all is done and dusted.
So, while all this stress was being dealt with, we also had the annual boiler safety check guy due today in the afternoon, and all of Sophie's barking at him on top of everything else, stressed Tara out further, and when she and Sophie clunked heads in the middle of a barking session, while Tara was holding her, that was the last straw!
And I still had to ask Tara to try something new for dinner! Not a good time to be asking! But Waitrose had sold out of their frozen chicken korma meals, and I'd bought a jar of sauce instead, so it had to be done. *gulp*
Cue tears again, but she did agree though, if she could have pilau rice with the meal. So Mum heads down to the cashpoint, and Waitrose for a tub of Pilau rice. :-) Well, I like it too, and if it meant the new thing would be easier for Tara to handle, it was worth the extra bit of hassle.
As I approached the cash machine, fate dealt me another little bit of banking fun and games.
There was a couple ahead of me, the chap in the process of removing his cash card from the machine, and his lady friend about to use it.
She did the usual, removed her cash card, and chatting away together they walked into the Co-op.
Meanwhile, I go and stand at the machine, and take out my purse, ready to check my meagre balance and ascertain whether I can even afford a carton of pilau rice!
And the machine is beeping at me.
And I haven't even approached it with my card yet.
And then I see it...
The money sitting in the slot!
Just sitting there!
I stuck my head in the door of the Co-op and asked where the couple were who'd just walked into the shop. Met with shoulder shrugs and blank stares from the shoppers I could see, I folded the cash up, slipped it into the receipt section of my purse, put my card in the cash machine and got my tenner out, then went into the Co-op to try and find the couple.
I looked around but I couldn't see them, so I walked back outside and stood there wondering what to do.
I was also racking my brains trying to remember what they looked like. How many of us look at people we are stood in queues with? Would you recognise the person who had been in front of you a few minutes earlier?
Then I remembered that the woman had been carrying a big black shopping bag, so I turned and went into the shop again.
Right at the back of the shop I spotted a couple I thought were the ones, but no bag. Then, as I watched, the woman bent over and when she straightened up she was holding a big black shopping bag!
I walked up to them, and asked if they had used the cash machine before they had come into the shop.
I looked at the woman.
"Did you ask the machine for any money?" I asked.
"Yes." she replied, then she went pale as she realised what she had done - or rather hadn't done!
She reached into her handbag for her purse, and I pulled the folded up banknotes from my purse.
I got the BIGGEST hugs from both of them for being decent enough to find them and return their money.
She said I'd restored her faith in humanity!
I said that if I had done the same thing as her, I'd hope the person behind me would chase after me to give me my money too.
Yeah, she said, but most people would have just walked off with the cash!
And the sad thing is, she's right. Maybe not most, but there are too many people in this world who would have done just that.
Fortunately though, today, someone was watching out for her, because I was the one who found the money. Something that would not have happened if a combination of events over the last twenty four hours hadn't conspired to put me in the right place at the right time. Even to the point of delaying my departure from the house at the last moment. If I'd left a minute earlier, as first planned, I'd have been at the cashpoint before them, and not seen the cash.
That's what life is like sometimes. Sometimes the Universe pulls the strangest stunts in order to make sure that someone is in the right place at the right time. If Bry hadn't given Tara her old Mac laptop at Easter, we would still not feel secure about online purchasing, and would not have tried to buy from Play.com, and Play.com would not have 'phantom menaced' us, and Tara wouldn't have already been so stressed that Sophie barking at the boiler guy would send her over the edge.
And if Waitrose hadn't run out of frozen individual Chicken Korma and rice portions, I wouldn't have bought a jar of sauce and asked Tara to try something new for dinner tonight.
What a collection of incidents it took to put me there for that couple! :-)
I'm glad it did though. Just to see the relief on her face when I pulled that cash out of my purse. :-) The hugs were a real bonus too!!!
Warm fuzzies certainly kept the chill off me all the way to Waitrose. LOL
Hope you are able to do a little something nice for your fellow planet dwellers today. :-)
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
I have thought long and hard about what I want my pedometer steps to count towards, and I've finally decided to start at Land's End, and walk the coast of Cornwall, England, Wales and Scotland, before hopping aboard a ferry and skedaddling to Ireland and Northern Ireland to do the same thing.
I am using www.mappedometer.com/ to follow the map and see where I go each day, always following the roads and lanes nearest to the coast for maximum mileage and (hopefully) some great shots and links for my blogs.
All my FFF steps are counting towards this challenge, so here are days 1-5 with pics. :-)
DAY 1: 2.66 miles.
I started as close to the tip of the Land's End Peninsula as I could, which is pretty much exactly where this photo was taken. The spot being where the photographer was standing :-)
And here's a great aerial view:
Then I walked to Sennen Cove:
From there, I took the Cove Road until it met up with the A30, and that was my first day.
DAY 2: 3.70 miles
From the A30, I branched off to the B3306, which runs along sections of the north Cornwall coast. I turned left at Kellynack and followed the road to the Land's End YHA (Youth Hostel Association) Hostel:
For further details, check out their website:
DAY 3: 3.55 miles
I reached Cape Cornwall - saved for posterity by the Heinz Baked Beans Company! I kid you not!
And well worth saving too! The scenery is stunning!
From Cape Cornwall, I continued along the coast road to Trewellard.
DAY 4: 2.60 miles
Leaving Trewellard, I walked to a wonderful attraction, the we Cornish are very proud of...
The Geevor Tin Mine Heritage Centre.
Once a working mine, it is now a very popular tourist destination, giving a valuable insight into the importance of the tin mining industry in Cornwall.
For further details, check out their fabulous website:
From the Mine, I then walked through Boscasswell, back to the B3306 by Borlase Park.
DAY 5: 3.95 miles (total miles so far = 16.86)
Staying on the B3306, I passed through Bojewyan, Morvah and Porthmeor (all teeny tiny hamlets), and stopped at the junction with Treen.
Looking back from the coastline near Treen to the way I've come...
Looking towards what is coming next...
I shal try and post a daily update. I'm still not used to being able to get on the computer whenever I want to, so I'm not quite back in the swing of things yet. :-) But I'm getting there.
FFFs for Day 5 (Tue):
3 = Leslie Sansone 1 mile fast walk
2 = 10 Michael Jackson dances on Wii
FFFs for Day 6 (today - Wed):
3 - Leslie Sansone 1 mile fast walk
I also walked in and out of town today, getting drenched in the process. Time to grow webbed feet and hands I think. I feel like the Woman from Atlantis!!!
I know, I know, declaring a drought in England is like washing your car - an action guaranteed to make it start raining. LOL. Mother Nature will have her little joke!
Enjoy the rest of your (very soggy if you live anywhere near me) Wednesday!
Monday, April 23, 2012
Well, today my poor Elder outside the back door finally gave up and slid gracefully to the ground. I feel happier that it gave up of its own accord, rather than the council chopping it down, but I am still sad to see it go.
Its parting shot was giving me an upper body workout in the pouring rain, because although no damage was done, it was rather blocking our way into the garden. :-)
So now my arms are aching from the sawing with a diddy hacksaw blade - all I possess, and therefore I am definitely counting it as Upper Body Workout, though quite how I fit it into my Funky Fitness Fives I have yet to figure out. :-) Maybe I'll count the branches tomorrow and see if they are a multiple of five!
I did dance to three lots of five Black Eyed Peas songs today. And that was before the Elder fell. So I've had a pretty good cardio and upper body workout, which was what today had planned. If the Elder had to go, it certainly timed it well.
And now I'm away to me bed.
Hope you have had/are having a good Monday!
In honour of the Elder, some tree LOLs:
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Here you go Shelli! One day you're on a hooping walk around the block - the next, you're hooping at the London Marathon!
Well, with a fair amount of practise and training in between, but hey, anything's possible, right? *grin*
Don't say we don't aim high for you! LOL
Oh, and here's a link to a short interview on Sasha Kenney's local radio station:
In other news...
Stormy weather on and off for a week = building up to a stonking Migraine in the middle of the night last night. Still feeling a bit wonky actually.
However, got some FFFs in. :-)
Today, between frequent breaks, I managed to dance four lots of 5 songs (20 songs in total) from various Wii games. :-)
Granted, some were a little less vigorous effort-wise than usual, to accomodate the remnants of the headache. No head banging here today folks! :-)
Otherwise all is quiet.
Except for the stormy weather...
Here's a few pics from the last few days...
Sulking or shy? Or maybe just scared of thunder? Either way, this little sign turned its back on us at Tesco extra on Thursday. LOL :-)
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Well, I tried social networking, and found it Dullsville! No offence to my friends who find it helpful, and it wasn't them making it boring. I really only joined to play Words with Friends (similar to Scrabble), and most of my friends don't play it anyway! LOL
Anyway, I'm over it. I tried, it sucked, I left.
When you deactivate your account, however, you never quite leave. Save my username and password and I can reactivate it at any time. How, um, exciting!
Anyhoo, to the friends who friended me while I was there - Thankyou! :-) Sorry I didn't stay long. I think I much prefer your company here, and through our email chats. :-)
As for FFF day 2:
I've got a total of 6 FunkyFitnessFive Minutes so far (to be edited later) by completing a 30 minute Slim Down Cardio Burn with Kendall Hogan. SOOO glad they finally put it on You Tube! :-)
I also got FunkyFitnessFive Songs with The Black Eyed Peas experience on Wii.
I checked my weight this morning, and I've dropped a pound this week. That's good, because I've been heading in the wrong direction recently, and was starting to feel it. :-)
Well, I'm off to play Guitar Hero - I think. It will be interesting to see whether all the Guitar Hero toe-tapping while playing the guitar creates a step count. LOL
Hey, if I'm as enthusiastic on Guitar Hero as I am playing Air Guitar, I've got it made! *grin*
EDIT: It didn't! 200 steps for 20 mins of playtime, is no help! I had fun though!
Enjoy your Saturday!
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