Financial Institutions

I’ve hated banks for as long as I can remember. Lots of the stupid shit they do is required by overreaching government regulations, so I excuse those things. Unfortunately, they keep finding ways to piss me off that can’t be blamed on .gov.

I have yet to find a bank that hadn’t managed to annoy me. Each of the following is the reason(s) for a different bank, explaining why I’ve closed (or am closing) deposit accounts in the last year alone:

  • Placing a ten day hold on a $6,000.00 check deposit made from another of my personal accounts. The account to which the deposit was made had been open for over a decade with zero overdrafts and in fact had an average balance of over $10K during the preceding year, and had several times that amount in the account at the time of the deposit. Two days would’ve been reasonable. Even five wouldn’t have caused me to pull my business. But ten days? Nope. Bye! (Bank of America)
  • Their credit card side offered a promotional balance transfer deal but decided not to include the fee in with the promotion, meaning that I had to pay the prevailing interest rate on that amount for two months until I was able to pay enough to make it go away. Yes, it was disclosed, but I’ve done dozens of these deals in the past. No other bank pulled that. Bye! (Fifth Third Bank)
  • Their credit card side did funky shit applying payments and calculating interest. Most credit card companies will exempt new balances from interest charges as long as they are paid off by the statement closing date. Not these assholes. They require that it be paid off by the payment due date, which is a week earlier. Nope, fuck you. No more business from me. (Chase)
  • Two minor issues that combined to be too much. First was the incoming ACH transfer limit of $100 total per week. If outgoing, I might understand, but incoming? Weird. Then their bill pay service only gave the option of selecting the date to initiate the payment. The payee might get it the next day, or it might be a week later. And even for the same payee it wasn’t always the same amount of time. Everyone else lets you pick the payment date. You know, the day the payment will be delivered. I’m not going to pay everyone a week early just because the bank can’t figure out when they might deliver the money. ¡Adiós! (First Horizon Bank)
  • These assholes have a reasonable funds availability policy, like everyone. But they said that I needed to stop spending money that I deposited in the account as soon as it posted. They claimed I was spending it before they could collect it. I told them that their policy said it was available so I was damn well going to spend it if I wanted to. They closed the account. No great loss. (Wachovia/Wells Fargo)
  • I use a VPN service for most of my internet traffic. These pricks won’t even load the website or open the app when my VPN is active. Other banks either don’t give a shit, or require secondary security protocols, but don’t completely block access. When I contacted them about this, they kept bouncing me from one person to another, none of whom actually read enough of my complaint to even know what I was unhappy about. Fine, fuck your incompetence. (BBVA Compass)
  • Guns banned in local branches. (First Citizens Bank, Fidelity Bank)
  • The credit card side delayed processing of a convenience check that I deposited until after the associated promotion had expired, causing me to incur additional fees and interest. Credit card side stupid = I close my deposit account. (USAA Bank)

I just opened an account with Navy Federal Credit Union. The account opening process wasn’t encouraging. I couldn’t use my normal username, because they forbid use of any part of one’s email address, first or last name. Okay, I have one backup that I can use that I will remember.

Then the password requirements. Sweet Shivering Shiva! Must contain at least one

  • Uppercase letter
  • Lowercase letter
  • Number
  • Special character (but only certain ones – # * ^ and a host of others are verboten, and my password manager kept selecting at least one of the forbidden ones when generating a password.)

But it couldn’t contain any part of my

  • Username
  • First or last name
  • Email address
  • SSN
  • Birthdate
  • Offensive words or phrases

That meant that after it kicked ten generated passwords, I got frustrated and started using passwords that included profanity. It kicked those, too. Finally, I made it happy and got through the process. I’ll forgive that bit of stupidity as long as they do everything else right. I give them 90 days before they have me bank shopping again.

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Plague

Well, the supreme lord-emperor of my realm decreed that all us peasants are under house arrest as of 1700 on Monday, 30 March 2020 – except for “essential business” activities. Which means that we can go to the grocery store, pharmacy, convenience store, golf course, liquor store, etc., but we can’t seek preventative medical care, go to church if there are more than ten attendees, or go to the gym. Also, many (most) manufacturing plants, including mine, are considered essential and operating pretty much as usual. I have my travel permission slip in case the Gestapo challenge me.

I took Wednesday through Friday off last week. I simply had to get away from the stupidity, if only briefly. Oil changes were done, felled trees were cut up and relocated over the property line 😈, fertilizer and grass seed were spread, tractor implement stands were fabricated and put in service, lattice was cut and hung, generator load tests occurred, and some minor reorganization took place in and around my storage building. This has left me with little to do while waiting for the grass to start growing. Ordinarily, that would be a good thing. These are not ordinary times, though.

It’s already Friday, and I only have a couple of possibilities for weekend projects. There are lots of trees that I could cut, but the fork mount for my tractor front end loader is out of service. I have found it to be an exercise in frustration to try to move logs and branches with a bucket. That’s why last week the tree got pushed over onto my neighbor’s property instead of being properly processed. I guess I’ll be reshaping the ditch that runs along the front edge of the property, next to the road. A slight rise has developed about fifty feet from the driveway culvert, just enough to cause water to pool there after a rain of any significant duration. That shouldn’t take but a few passes with the plow, and then some cleanup. I’ve considered going deeper, then putting in a perforated pipe and covering it with gravel, but I’m not sure that is necessary. It’s steep in places, but I’m not sure that it is steep enough to warrant that much expense.

I have several scoops of topsoil left from my last dump truck delivery and I’m not sure what to do with it. There are a few spots in the back yard/field that could use it, but overall the raking that I did to prep it for seed smoothed out things pretty well. And I don’t want to go there until the grass establishes itself, assuming that it does. I mean, it rains every day for six months, then as soon as I put down grass seed, it stops. The area is too large to water without commercial irrigation equipment, so I’m stuck with a temperamental Mother Nature.

As luck would have it, as I was writing this, Lady messaged me asking if I could do their driveway again. I have since learned that it’s her father who runs the trash service – the same guy who wrote the check and ran me off last time. I have yet to lay eyes on her. I probably never will. Disappointing. She was half the reason why I low-balled the price first time around. Whatever.

I agreed to come back but only at the same price as the first time. There are two major problem areas, both of which are every bit as bad as they were before I did any work last time. The rest has held up okay. So, I should be able to do a better job with those this time around without spending more time there than I did originally. I would’ve worked them more the other weekend, but dude seemed to want me to go. So I left. I guess this means that I now know how I will spend my weekend. I just hope that I’m more satisfied when the job is done than last time.

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Slow Week

I’m sitting at work, practicing Social Distancing. Mostly, I’m avoiding assholes. Then again, that’s what I do every day.

My workload has been light so far this week. I rebuilt a pump on Monday because some dipshit closed a valve that is never supposed to be touched and I didn’t notice until the newly rebuilt pump didn’t work either. Everything else has been non-problems.

“The board on this crate is loose.”

“I think the reading on this power supply is too low.”

“Is the gap in this rail right?”

You get the idea. The idiots with whom I share the planet are getting on my last nerve, and I want the weekend to be here so I don’t have to be around them or hear about their latest displays of insanity. Sure, time seems to pass more quickly when I’m busy, but I haven’t been the least bit motivated all week.

Actually, I’ve been looking forward to next weekend, when I have a three-day weekend scheduled. Well, had scheduled.

I have a subscription with the local-ish massage joint. They charge me a discounted amount every month, and in exchange, I get to come in for a 50-minute massage once per month. It’s a good deal, since they carry over if not used. I think I have five on the books now.

Two weeks ago, I tried to get an appointment with my girl for this Friday, but she was fully booked. So, I scheduled my vacation day and a double slot with her for next Friday when she did have appointments available. Yes, my girl. She’s awesome, and the only one I’ll see. If she quits, I’m canceling my subscription.

A brilliant idea hit me a few minutes ago. Since the entirety of Earth’s population, minus like five people, have completely lost their minds, maybe a slot has opened up for this Friday with K. Because our lords and masters who are decreeing lockdowns left and right will probably get around to closing all non-essential businesses (as defined by them) by next week. Like they have the right. Anyway.

As luck would have it, not one slot, but two back-to-back slots were available with her. I had them cut and paste my appointment from next Friday to this Friday. As soon as I hung up, I reached out to my boss and rescheduled my vacation.

And it’s going to be in the low 80s Friday. So I’ll get to enjoy a gorgeous day on the tractor before heading to my 1600 appointment with Miss Magic Hands. Who isn’t at all hard on the eyes. Win. Win.

On Saturday, I have my third paying job with the tractor. Second, really. I did some work for a former boss several weeks ago supposedly at no charge, but the stubborn fucker insisted on paying me. Anyway, I have a quarter-mile dirt/sand driveway to grade. I went and looked at it yesterday. A trash hauling company uses it, and it’s rough. Chick says she wants someone out at least once a month to maintain it, maybe as frequently as bi-weekly.

I told her that it really needs some fill material, and then some sort of topping (ABC, gravel, something), but I’d do the best I could with what’s there. I under-bid heavily, for two reasons. First of all, I enjoy working on the tractor. Probably twenty of the almost 190 hours on it were doing shit for other people for free. Second, I’m not a pro, and it’s a very small tractor. It’ll take me all day to do what a full-sized tractor with a professional operator can do in an hour. And after all day, mine won’t look as good, both because of the equipment and the operator. Amateur results = amateur rates.

Technically, it’s a compact tractor, which is the second smallest class of “real” tractor (not a glorified lawnmower), but nobody uses less than a mid-size if they’re going to be doing paying work with it. Sorry. I keep getting distracted.

I’m honestly not sure that I want the ongoing contract. We’ll see how much time and effort it takes on Saturday, and how good I can get it. Then see how quickly it deteriorates under the truck traffic. I’m not going to spend four hours un-fucking it every month for fifty federal reserve notes. However, I wouldn’t mind spending up to an hour and a half every two weeks for the same fifty bucks. Plus, if her book of faces profile picture isn’t outdated or heavily photoshopped, she’s kinda cute. I’m not one to turn down an opportunity to be paid to observe nice scenery.

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Idiots, Morons and Stupid Motherfuckers

I’ve often made fun of the people who empty the stores of bread and milk ahead of a snow event or hurricane. That behavior pales in comparison to the insanity that has infected the entire fucking planet over this Wuhan Flu virus apocalypse plague thing. It just boggles the mind. Then again, I was like the only person who thought that it was stupid to ground all air traffic in the wake of 9/11.

Maybe I’m just too fucking stupid to have a clue. I don’t know. This panic has the market tanking and borderline martial law all over the place. And for what? Yeah, if people get together, they might catch something from someone in the group. So, what? That’s always been the case. Yeah, this bug is worse than the usual stuff we deal with, but it’s not like it’s a death sentence except for a few categories of people. Those should probably self-quarantine until this shit blows over. The rest of us? Live life as normal. If you catch it, you’ll be miserable for a week or two and then it’ll be over. Life carries risk. Deal with it. Just don’t do so in a way that fucks the rest of us over.

And the government can just go fuck off. You’ve caused most of the problems that have ever existed, and those you didn’t cause, you made worse trying to “fix” them.

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Update

It has been a while since I posted anything here. I’m sorry about that.

Work is work. I’ve been in the technician role for eight months now. I’d been out of the game for a decade, and my experience was more specialized and limited than my current responsibilities, so they offered me an obscenely low hourly rate. How low? I was making more per hour in 2004. I wasn’t completely sure how well I would do, and I really missed turning wrenches, so I took what was offered. I’ve since surprised myself and proven my abilities. My boss has been promising to get me bumped up to a less insulting rate for three months, but so far no change. Oh, well. I’ve developed a case of laziness, from which I have no intention of recovering until my compensation improves.

About six months ago, I tied the knot with the lady I’d been seeing for almost three years. Yes, marriage number five. Whatever. It’s a comfortable if not very romantic situation. We have plenty in common and get along well. She’s not a gun person, and she voted for the bitch in 2016. On the other hand, she doesn’t have any issues with my gun ownership, has accompanied me to the range and even shot a few magazines through my Glock .22 conversion. She’s not particularly political, so that’s not a real point of contention. I did buy a Trump 2020 hat this week just to piss her off, but it got little reaction. For the record, I didn’t vote for him in ’16 and I may or may not vote for him this year. But I definitely won’t be voting for Slow Joe.

I’ve put 185 hours on my little Kubota since I bought it last March. I thoroughly enjoy spending time on it. I’ve done driveway work, land grading and leveling, tree removal, yard preparation, and lots more. The property barely resembles the piece of land that I purchased just over four years ago.

I’m doing a keto diet for the umpteenth time, and am down about fifteen pounds since the beginning of the year. I only need to lose another ninety pounds. I wonder how long until I give up and balloon back up. Probably another ten pounds or so.

Well, those are the high points. Y’all take care.

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Adventures in Tractoring

I bought a Kubota B2601 compact tractor back in March. I paid the dealer to do the 50 hour service, but decided to do the subsequent ones myself. Well, I hit 100 hours last week, which was my trigger for the next service.

I over-maintain everything that I own, and the Kubota is no exception. I decided that I would do an oil and filter change, and change out the HST filter. Well, that last part turned out to be a lesson that cost me almost a hundred fifty federal reserve notes.

Kubota uses a single four-gallon reservoir for all things hydraulic. This iincludes the transmission, the PTO, and the traditional hydraulic system (hitch, loader, etc.). There are also two filters on this system. One is called an HST filter, and the other a transmission filter. The HST filter is smaller and easily changed with minimal fluid loss. The other allows 90 percent of the reservoir contents to pour out immediately upon removal.

Guess which one I pulled off. And dropped into the drain pan. Yep, the big one. For which I had no replacement, much less the four gallons of really expensive fluid that came pouring out.

I promptly brushed myself off and headed over to my local dealership. I arrived at 1209. To find out that their parts department closes promptly at noon on Saturday. I called the next two closest dealers only to learn that the practice of closing at that time is an epidemic.

That left me to finish the engine oil change and wait until the $27 filter and the $115 of hydraulic fluid could be acquired. My bad day didn’t end there.

As is my normal practice, I poured slightly less than the published quantity of oil in and started the engine briefly to circulate it through the system. After less than a minute, I shut it down, let it settle, checked and added as necessary.

Only to find out that the fill cap had vibrated down into a trough between the oil pan and the radiator. At least I assume that’s where it went. It wasn’t where I set it, and it wasn’t on the ground. Said trough is about the only place it could’ve gone. Add another line item to the list of stuff that I must have before I can put it back in service.

Glad I finished mowing before starting the service work.

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Underbritches

This probably falls into the TMI category, but here goes. I absolutely LOVE my new David Archy underwear. I’m fat, and given the activity level of my new job, I sweat profusely. When I sweat and my thighs rub together, moderate to severe discomfort is the result. (No, that’s not just a fat girl problem. It happens to fat dudes too.)

I switched to the old FOTL boxer briefs that I bought the last time I had this problem. They have “briefs” in the name, but there is very little package support. While they eliminated the thigh problem, the lack of support allowed things to rub together a little higher. Same result, slightly different location.

Enter David Archy boxer briefs. Yes, they cost over thirty federal reserve notes for a set of three. I’ve never paid anywhere close to that much for drawers before. But they are worth every penny. They are made of the softest material that I have ever touched. And they have a real, built-in pouch to hold things together. One word:

AWESOME!

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Diets

I’ve been overweight most of my life. I’ve also tried most of the basic dieting ideas out there. Ultimately, body weight is the result of a simple equation: calories consumed vs. calories used. There are factors that impact how many calories your body will use for a specific activity, and how your body manages storage of any excess. But ultimately, if one uses more calories than they consume, they will lose weight. And the reverse is obviously true as well.

All “diets” have different selling points.

UPDATE: This wasn’t supposed to post yet. I was going to go into the many different things I’ve tried, what did and didn’t work for each, and generally whine about still being fat. But it’s probably just as well that the accidental upload spared you all that.

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Race Day and Liberals

I’m on the way to my first race for 2019. It’s a 5K called Run for the Roses. I haven’t ran since October of last year, mostly due to foot pain. I expect to do very poorly.

Ladyfriend’s sister and niece flew in last night from Michigan for her birthday on Wednesday. Y’all know me, guns are laying all over the place. Sister examined the visible ones from a distance, as if they were poisonous snakes that might strike without warning. At least she didn’t make any rude comments.

Then this morning after her shower Niece puts on a rainbow flag Beto for Senate t-shirt. I kept my mouth shut. A twenty-five year old sexual assault therapist from Detroit is pretty much guaranteed to be cluess.

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Car Struggles

My 2004 BMW 325xi has been sporting an intermittent Service Engine Soon light for almost two years. North Carolina law requires no active faults in order to renew one’s annual registration. Last year, the renewal was easy enough to manage, since the light would come and go seemingly at random. This year was trickier, because the light has spent more time on than off, but I was able to get lucky and catch it off long enough to get it to pass. I knew that next year was going to be a problem, so I started troubleshooting.

There were two codes, one related to temperature and the other a lean fuel condition. The temperature could have been a thermostat/housing combination, a secondary thermostat, or a temperature sensor. The lean fuel condition could be one of four oxygen sensors, the fuel filter, the fuel pump, the mass air flow meter, the injectors, or a vacuum leak.

I started with the lean fuel condition. A new fuel filter didn’t fix it. Not that I expected it to, but it was the cheapest option and past time to be replaced. Then I threw a set of oxygen sensors on it. No joy there either. Then I took it to the shop to have the professionals look at it. They claimed that one of the year old oxygen sensors had failed. I knew they were wrong, but agreed to have them replace it. Of course the light popped again. They couldn’t find anything obvious, so they started concentrating on the temperature problem.

The thermostat housing was the first attempt to fix it, but the light popped again. The shop then said that the temperature sensor was also bad. I balked at the $600 they wanted for that, but they’d been unable to find anything else wrong that was causing the lean fuel code. They said that it could be a vacuum leak that couldn’t be easily found but would be found and corrected by the removal of the intake necessary to replace the sensor. So, I approved the work.

The fucking light is back on, less than a hundred miles after leaving the shop. I wonder what they’ll tell me this time. Whatever it is, I probably won’t fix it. Because that won’t be the problem either, and at some point I have to draw the line. This will probably be my last year of driving this car.

While all this was going on, my 2003 F-250 decided to toast its injector control pressure sensor, making it idle erratically and cut off without provocation. Said sensor is on order, and once replaced, the car will go back in for one more round of diagnostics.

UPDATE: As of 01 December 2018, my county will no longer require the OBD test in order to renew the vehicle. If I had only known before spending all this money. It’s not like the car is suffering any performance issues.

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