Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Short takes

Deb spent the day hassling with our mortgage company. We don't really have a mortgage company anymore, but that didn't stop them from taking a month's payment out of our account on a house for which they had already received a wire transfer closing out the mortgage. That, in my mind, is just plain old thievery. They will send our money back to us, after Deb called them AND sent the required email, but we bounced some checks in the mean time. Should the revolution ever come to these shores I think we should start with the bankers. I'll give the politicians, Wall Street Insiders, and Corporate Honchos a day or two head start in running for the hills in exchange for some Banker Bounty. On the other hand, should the revolution come when I am miles and miles away, I think I'll let the young folks have at it. Chasing bankers is for the fleet of foot and young of heart, neither of which describes me these days.

That being said; Edward Jones gets a pass. They were instrumental in helping us have a alternate plan to keep from living under a bridge when Corporate America threw both Deb's and my job away. They have also gone several extra miles to help straighten things out when mortgage companies (and other ne'er-do-wells) play the system to their advantage and our disadvantage. Kudos to Craig and Linda for helping watch out for the little people on the planet!

I keep rotating a picture of one of the grand kids as my background on this computer. Every time I turn it on I see one of them, think of all of them and their Moms (and Dads) and say, “Never forget that Grampy T loves you.” It isn't much, but it helps.

The solar panel install is going surprisingly well so far. Not sure what glitches might lie in wait but the Bimini frame rebuild is nearly done and looking good. Rains forced an early halt to the day, with work stopping at around 1800. I love living on a boat (good thing since it is the only home I have) but I don't remember ever working this hard, this long, or having to bull through this kind of heat. It isn't quite as bad as last summer's slog in Florida, but it's close. Then again it will probably lead to me getting that “Old Salt” look of tanned leather, even though I'm not one.

I spent the day drilling holes in stainless steel tubing. My wrists are going to demand payment before the night is out.

Much as Oak Harbor has been good to us, getting off the dock after more than three months will make my heart sing. Making such good headway on the solar panel install has that day getting closer and closer. Soon we will be back to cruising, working on the boat in exotic locations. More exotic than a boat yard on the Chesapeake anyway.

Time for a beer and a shower...


Allan S said...

Chrysler Credit did the same thing to me. My problem was that they took two payments out in one month while I was at sea (Navy) so everything bounced causing me $90 in NSF fees ($10 penalty per NSF cheque in those days). To top it off, they had my Jeep repo'ed. Took nine month to get my money back. They wouldn't even consider the tow charges or the NSF fees.

Robert Sapp said...

But to be fair, the Government's just as bad (worse, actually). Even though I gave them over a year's written notice of my pending retirement (which consisted of filling out an impressive stack of paperwork), it took good 'ole Uncle Sam four months from the day I retired to cut my first official pension check. Fortunately no personal checks bounced, as we had stockpiled cash to get us through. People tell me we were actually pretty lucky that it only took four months. Some have gone six or eight months before finally getting their pension. It's one of the major reasons we elected not to get underway this year - we had no idea how long it would take to get my retirement squared away, and I didn't relish the thought of trying to fix problems from a phone booth in the Dominican Republic. Not that there's any customer service number to call with problems. The Government doesn't do customer service. Anyway, if it only takes a month or two to get what you're owed, then private enterprise is beating the public sector in a major way.

Robert & Rhonda
S/V Eagle Too

TJ said...

Robert my friend, you really need to check your default position of thinking that all evils come from government, and all good things come from business. Even at that, all I did was give the politicians a day or two head start over the bankers. Politics in the US has failed because the politicians have sold themselves to the bankers and business honchos. Corruption, like many things, takes two; those who are willing to corrupt, and those equally willing to be corrupted. I would throw both in jail with identical sentences, though I am open to the argument that the corruptees are even worse excuses for human beings than are the corruptors.

Also, I did give a free pass to Edward Jones; which is a pretty large financial institution. And, to be fair, our ex-mortgage company apparently does monitor their customer service phone calls. The day after Deb called and very politely (which is why she made the call and not me) logged her complaints, the Manager of the division called us back to make sure the problem was resolved. So they get half a kudos after all.

On the other hand, the government, which you so routinely dismiss as utterly useless, does keep the navigation satellites in orbit and operates the weather forecasting, which is better than most people want to admit and will show an incoming hurricane days in advance. They set out the navigation buoys, update the chart information and, occasionally, make some effort to keep the really drunk and dangerous powerboat drivers from doing even more damage. Where government fails is exactly at the intersection of business demands compromising the public good, and buying what they want anyway.

Which is why, when it comes to corruption, State governments are far worse than the Federal government. And why every time I hear the words “States Rights” I know the bad guys are talking.

Robert Sapp said...

I just call them as I see them based on my personal experience. The part of my pension that's managed by a private contractor was paying me within weeks of retirement. The part the Government managed took four months. When I want to go to the doctor, I call my private physician, who will see me the next day, rather than the VA, who might return my call in six to eight months. Or not. That's why free markets and private enterprise are such wonderful things - competition focuses attention on customer satisfaction. Edward Jones knows they're not the only place where you can park your 401k. Unfortunately, the Government isn't motivated by such concerns, as they have the governance market cornered.

Seriously though, congratulations on finally moving the condo. I know that has to be a great relief, and will let you focus on distant horizons with fewer reasons to have to constantly look over your shoulders.

Robert & Rhonda
S/V Eagle Too

TJ said...

Thanks Robert, oddly enough it still feels a bit weird not owning a house somewhere, even though we have been on the boat for two years and the condo was a constant hassle. We have been "all-in" since our jobs went away so one would think we would be used to it. But now we are "all-in all-in". It is a good think, but different.

With the condo gone and the last two this-summer's-boat-projects well underway, we hope to be looking over our shoulders at a retreating shore line soon.

Hope to see you soon.


Robert Sapp said...

Rhonda still struggles sometimes since gardening was her favorite hobby, but I'm surprised at how well I've adjusted to no longer owning a home. I have a funny blog post to write someday though about how challenging it was to get a driver's license that listed the boat as my permanent address.

So the plan now calls for us to sail out of here next April for the Keys, work along Cuba's northwest coast to Mexico, and then south from there. There's a lobster festival in Placentia, Belize in late June that we want to go to, and then we'll duck around the corner to Guatemala and spend the height of hurricane season tucked into the Rio Dulce. If you winter in the Bahamas, you two should head west in the spring and come join us. Just imagine the fun we could have sharing a dock for three months on the Rio Dulce!

Robert & Rhonda
S/V Eagle Too

Bob Carlson said...

AT&T took an additional payment after I closed my account on the phone and had assurances my account was closed. I called and they very cheerfully acknowledged the mistake then sent me a physical check to the old address. Since they take a direct withdraw, it made no sence to send a check. Luckily it was forwarded to the new house.

Deb said...

@Bob - I completely agree with you Bob, but then nothing that big corporations do makes any sense at all. At least they cheerfully acknowledged. The mortgage company made me prove it by sending them copies of my bank statements, overdraft charges, etc. It was like I was the criminal trying to steal something, not them.

@ Robert - a lot of cruisers are doing hydroponic gardening. Here's one example but if you Google it you'll get a ton more: