Life is Too Short to Have an Affair

Today is my 7th wedding anniversary.  I love him even more today than the day we married.  My respect for him as a husband and a father have grown exponentially.  He is a good man.

He  would never cheat on me.  This I know.  He has way too much integrity for that, and his rock-solid integrity is one of the things that attracted me the most.

And I’d never cheat on him.  This I know, too.  I’ve never been unfaithful in any committed relationship.  Ever.

Because fidelity isn’t about the other person in the relationship.  Ever.  Fidelity is a personal issue, between me and me. My feelings on fidelity were formed at the age of six, seeing and living with the aftermath when my father left my mother for another woman. Over the years, seeing the unnecessary pain and hurt caused by those who cheat cemented those beliefs.  Unshakably.

Even if  Husband wasn’t a good husband, or  a good  man, I would not cheat.  Bad behavior on someone else’s part does not excuse self-destructive, dishonest behavior on my part. There’s just no room for it in my reality.

I could never understand why unmarried people don’t just break off one relationship before starting another.  Are they that insecure that they can’t spend a moment alone?  Do they have so little respect for their partners and themselves?  Or is it just the thrill of doing something dark and dirty?  “John, I don’t want to see you anymore.”  It’s really  not that hard, folks.

Married  people, especially those with children, deserve a great deal of censure for infidelity, in my opinion.  Is an orgasm worth ruining your life?  Your child’s life????  Are you really going to justify your behavior by saying that what they don’t know won’t hurt them, or your spouse doesn’t understand you, or they cheated  first?   Do you really buy the lie that children are resilient?  Are you that selfish to think that your needs should come first?  Do you not understand what a VOW is?

What is so alarming to me is that having an affair is no longer a sweaty secret, forcing participants to put themselves out  there and risk rejection of their spurious advances.  There are people now that capitalize on this market, previously untapped by all but street prostitutes, escort services and pitiful personal ads.  It’s now in the bright light of day, given an aura of, dare I say it, faux respectability.

Because now there are dating services that cater to those looking for a little on the  side.  The tag line of one such agency says  it all:  “Life is short.  Have an affair.”

Really?

Despicable.

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Sometimes I Can’t Even Get Past the Headline

This Sperm Donor sucks.

I didn’t need to read the article.  I never will.

Off to hug Son.

Saving You Money So You Can Buy More Toys

There’s a commercial airing for Progressive Insurance which is extremely irritating to me, so of course I’m blogging about it.

Progressive’s current campaign involves people shopping for insurance in a store setting, while the cashier exclaims about the great deals and free services that come with each policy as the customer pays.

This particular commercial shows begins with a woman walking over to her husband at the checkout lane. She sees a cartful of insurance in the cart and says, “What’s this?” as she’s reaching in. Looking at each one in turn she says, puczzled, “We don’t have a motorcycle. We don’t have a boat. We don’t have an RV.”

The husband sheepishly admits, “Yes, we do.” The announcer then says, “Saving you money so you can buy more toys. Now that’s Progressive.”

This ad bothers me on so many levels. First, there’s the obvious dishonesty in this pretend relationship. What kind of man keeps the purchase of a motorcycle, a boat and an RV from his wife? This isn’t funny, and it’s not even all that unusual. It happens. This type of thing is why financial differences are the number one reason for divorce. If Husband ever did anything like this he’s have to sell the boat and the RV to pay the medical bills.

The other thing that bothers me is Progressive’s laissez faire attitude about money management. The propagation of the idea that “He who dies with the most toys wins.” If we can save you $20 on your insurance you’ll be able to buy that $20,000 boat. Why save? Spend! So what if you can’t afford it? So what if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, or just barely, or almost? You need more toys!

Is it any wonder that our country is in the financial and economic mess we are in? That credit card debit is at an all-time high? That the sub-prime mortgage fiasco and uncontrolled spending is responsible for 1 in 11 homes in our country being in foreclosure? One in eleven!!!

I don’t expect mega corporations to discourage people from spending money. Their job is to make money, and I understand that. But can’t they do it a bit more responsibly?

In my opinion this ad is a disservice. Progressive is using these ads to get people like you and me to call them for quotes and buy their policies. Irresponsible advertising like this will always have the opposite affect on me. I can tell you, Progressive, that even if you did save me money I wouldn’t come near one of your policies with a ten foot pole. Not even on a motorcycle. Or in a boat. Or an RV.

How Do They Sleep at Night? Part 4 – Banks and their Usurious Fees

My Dad went to Las Vegas last week and did a wee bit of winning. When he got back to his L.A. home he deposited the money, about $9000 (woo hoo!), into his business account there.

He was very surprised to discover that his bank had charged him a service fee. Apparently, he deposited too much money with them.

Yeah. See, they charge .30 per $100 for any deposit greater than $5000. Apparently “their exposure is greater.” Whatever that means.

A bank. That’s using his money to make money of their own. Charging him for the privilege of allowing them to do so.

Those are some pretty huge, green kahunas. And that got me thinking about other bank fees that really get my panties in a twist…

My husband walked into a branch to cash a check a friend had written to him. The teller told him there was a $5 charge to cash the check because he didn’t have an account there. “But this check is written on your bank! Why should you get my money to cash your own check?” After listening to the woman spew the company line he turned on his heel and left.

Another bank here charges you to talk to a teller. Indeed.

I’ve read that other banks are charging fees to deposit or withdraw from accounts and to transfer money between them. There are fees if you dip below a certain balance, and fees if you write too many checks. There are fees if you write too few checks.

I’ll bet some  have pay toilets.

They charge three times as much to order new checks for you than you’d pay yourself by ordering through a secondary vendor like www.checksunlimited.com.

Don’t  even get me started on credit card fees

I understand that banks are businesses. I don’t have a problem with every fee banks charge. I’m aware of and even support fees for bounced checks. We’re all responsible to know how much money we have in our accounts, and if we blunder we need to pay the price. At the same time, a $25 charge for a $3 overdraft just seems usurious.

I’m also not completely against banks charging fees when you use an ATM that isn’t in your network. You’re paying for the convenience of not having to travel far out of your way to find your own bank. Fine. You save money on gas, so it’s almost a wash.

Apparently, though, we’re supposed to understand that the banks are also victims of the sub-prime mortgage crisis. They must raise their fees to try to make up a portion of the money they don’t have since they lost their shirts making bad loans.

Boo-hoo.  My heart breaks for ya.

Like this post? Read the other posts in this series!

See the Stretch Your Dollar Page for other money-saving ideas.

Win a Date with Drew and You Too Can Disappear!

Drew Peterson’s wife Stacey disappeared in late October and hasn’t been seen since. The court of public opinion, right or wrong, has already decided that he killed her. As an ex-police officer, he’s a good candidate for the almost-perfect crime.

Most of America has been appalled by his behavior – hamming it up for the cameras, making jokes and exhibiting all kinds of horribly inappropriate behavior. Even if he were not responsible for her disappearance, she is the mother of his children and she is missing. A little decorum, please. And consideration for your children, for goodness sake!

He hasn’t been in the news recently, and then today he was.

Apparently, he and his attorney suggested to a Chicago Deejay that Drew appear on his program for a “Win a Date With Drew” promotion. Excuse me while I vomit.

Really, could he be any more arrogant?

Thankfully the station put the kebash to the idea.

But you know the worst part? There would have been women who participated. In fact, I’m willing to bet he gets at least some love letters. Heck, lots of men on Death Row are married to women they’ve never touched (lucky for the woman), who have convinced themselves of the man’s innocence in a misguided attempt to find the love they never got from their daddies, or something.

Women can be so stupid. It’s so embarrassing.

You Don’t Have To Be Gullible To Be a Victim of a Check Scam

There are lots of news items and articles about Identity Theft, and for good reason. It’s the fastest growing crime in the US, and the more technological breakthroughs there are the more ways there are to steal your identity.

Scary.

Identity theft isn’t the only thing to be wary of. Thousands of people have become victims of Check Scams, and the numbers are growing every day.

Back when I was dealing with InfectionsRUs, I got to watch a bit of Judge Judy and the People’s Court. I was surprised at the number of people who were being sued because they got a friend to cash a check for them, and when the check bounced (it was counterfeit) they didn’t reimburse the friend. As I was sitting there, coughing up lungs all over the place, I couldn’t help thinking that all of the litigants were idiots. Come on! Who is that gullible?

Well, today I got a warning from my bank about it, and I realized the problem is more far-reaching than I thought. Some of the scammers are so clever you don’t need to be all that gullible.

Who are the victims?

  • Ebay, Craigslist and other online sellers. Someone overpays us for an item “by mistake”, then asks us to wire-transfer them back the extra money. Then we find out the check was counterfeit – and we’re out the item AND the money.

I was selling a large ticket item on Craigslist and got contacted by more than one person trying to scam me. I actually set up a meet with one guy before he balked at my cash only requirement, which clued me into the scam he was trying to pull.

  • They tell us they want to buy or rent our home. They give us a check that’s too much, then ask us to go ahead and cash it and wire them the difference.

This almost happened to a friend of mine who was doing seasonal rentals on a property she owned. She e-mailed me the info and asked what I thought. I agreed with her – a scam. She didn’t fall for it, thank goodness.

  • We get notification that we won a lottery or sweepstakes. They tell us to deposit the check, but then ask us to wire them some money to cover taxes or fees or whatever else their crooked brains can come up with.

This one, to me, should have red flag written all over it. Unless you’re a professional sweepstakes and lottery enterer, you’s KNOW you didn’t win any lottery.

  • We sign up with a work-at-home company, and they send us a check or money order to deposit and ask us to help “process payments”. We’re told to keep a percentage of the money and wire-transfer them the rest.

This one is a reach for me, too. But I can see how it could happen.

  • Someone we meet in a chatroom or on a message board asks for a favor: deposit their check and wire them the money. Or they claim to be in love with me and want to come be with me – can I please cash this check?

It took me over two years of near daily communication to be willing to meet in person someone I’d met online, so there’s no way I’d have gotten into any large financial deals with them, wonderful as they may be. I’ve built friendships with people that over time turned out to be friends-not-so-much, but at least I didn’t fall for this scam.

How does it happen?

The basic premise is the same even if the details differ. Someone sends us a check or money order. They ask us to deposit it into our account and then wire them the money. They sweeten the deal by telling us to keep part of it for our trouble.

The Result Is The Same

The check or money order turns out to be counterfeit. It gets returned to our bank unpaid and the full amount will get deducted from our account. We’re responsible, because we are responsible for every check or money order we deposit to our account.

Why Did the Bank Allow You to Withdraw the Money?

Excellent question, which my bank was kind enough to answer. Federal law requires banks to make funds we deposit available within 1 to 5 business days. Just because we can withdraw cash from our account shortly after making a deposit doesn’t mean the deposited items are valid. According to my bank it can be WEEKS before a check or money order is discovered to be counterfeit and returned to our bank. By them the scammers are long gone, and we’re left holding the bag. The empty bag.

Weeks? Weeks! I wonder how many Ebay sellers have gotten checks for merchandise, even made out for the correct amount, thought they cleared and then had them bounce weeks later. Egad!

Why Didn’t the Bank Know the Check Was Bad?

Well, according to my bank their job is simply to process our financial documents. The employees may not be able to determine if a check is valid. That makes sense, really. How is our local teller supposed to know that a check written on an account thousands of miles away was written on a valid account, and signed by the rightful account owner? It’s just logistically impossible.

So, the buck starts, and stops, with me. And you.

How Do We Avoid These Scams?

From Looks Too Good To Be True: An interesting point about fraud is that it is a crime in which you decide on whether to participate. Hanging up the phone or not responding to shady mailings or emails makes it difficult for the scammer to commit fraud. But con artists are very persuasive, using all types of excuses, explanations, and offers to lead you — and your money — away from common sense.

Well, that’s makes sense. We educate ourselves. And we choose not to participate. Ever.

Politics is a Big Pile of Moose Poopy

I’m pretty disgusted with politics. But that’s nothing new.

Let me put in a little disclaimer that I am about as far from an expert on political science as it is possible to be. Someone starts talking politics and my most frequent reaction is to leave the immediate area as soon as possible. I’m politically naive. I don’t watch Meet the Press, I don’t read The New York Times, and I’m not a Young (or old) Republican or Democrat. The following words are purely my opinions, a large dose of speculation and probably some misinterpretations. I’m okay with that.

Growing up in one of the most liberal Jewish households on the face of the earth, I proudly registered as a Democrat as soon as I turned eighteen. A scant 10 months later, amidst the nausea-inducing rigmarole surrounding the 1984 primaries, I saved my sanity by completely abandoning party politics and changing my preference to NPA – No Party Affiliation. I just didn’t want to be associated with any of the bozos that were running, or the political machines that were running them.

Not much has changed.

In the years since I’ve voted every which way, usually for the lesser of the presented evils, and have never regretted my decision to keep as far away from any political party as possible. I have most certainly gotten more conservative as I’ve gotten older, which was quite surprising to me. Perhaps I was more idealistic in my youth, perhaps I’ve gotten more fearful in the face of the world’s problems. Perhaps it’s that I see now the prices we are paying for some of the choices we made years ago. But I digress…

Living in Florida (Home of the Hanging Chad), I don’t get to vote in the primaries. Florida isn’t like New Hampshire, where they let you choose a party for the primary and then immediately (before you even leave the polling location) switch back to NPA. I’m not sure which way is sillier.

So.

There are a few politically-related things that have been swimming around my brain that I want to put down on virtual paper.

The Electoral College

There are many arguments for and against the Electoral College. I don’t even really understand the complexities of this system. I’m sure there were good reasons for it at the time, but in our modern world I just don’t see the necessity.

Besides, I just can’t understand why the popular vote doesn’t decide the election winner. Even given the fact that many people really have no clue about the positions of the candidates (casting their vote based upon the candidate’s race, gender, the color of their eyes, what a pundit says, the order on the ballot or because Oprah or some other celebrity says so) it seems to me that it’s only fair if every American gets a vote, and majority rules.

But what do I know?

Anything to Get Elected

There are debates. There are public appearances. There are hundred-page-long platform papers. There are interviews. There are written question-and-answer articles. There are websites. There are phone calls and commercials. There are millions of words written by, for, and about the candidates.

The only problem is that it means little. The Washington Post profiled each of the major candidates (another topic I’ll cover), and asked each the same questions on the topics of Health Care, Social Security, Iraq, National Security, Energy, Immigration, Affirmative Action, Economy, Budget, Education, Gay Marriage, Abortion, Poverty, Gun Control, Stem Cell Research, and their Top Priorities. Terrific questions. Important questions.

After reading the profiles, Kate, in a post over at One More Thing, commented that the candidates don’t differ much, and she’s right. They don’t. The answers are snazzily produced and heavily edited. They say what they, and their political machines, think they need to say to get elected. My cynical self can’t help but wonder how far their actions if elected would differ from what’s coming out of their mouths on the campaign trail. How much they will compromise their own beliefs (if they even recall what they are) in the name of progress. And you and I know that they surely will.

Sigh.

The Candidates, The Debates and Media Coverage in General

Mike Gravel. Dennis Kucinich. Alan Keyes. Ron Paul. Rory Frank. Heather Johnson.

Did you know they were running for President? They’re Democrats and Republicans, and even if you’ve heard of them most don’t know they’re running this year.

I’d tell you to forget about William Hale, Albert Hamburg, Dennis Hanaghan, David Hollist, and Todd Clayton, but you can’t forget about people you’ve never heard of before. For all you know they could be porn stars. They are Presidential candidates. Really.

We know nothing about Independents, Green Party candidates and those with No Party Affiliation. The media completely ignores them. Except for Ralph Nader, of course.

Did you know that 252 people have formed or announced a Presidential exploratory or campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission or filed a statement of candidacy? Two hundred fifty-two. Yowza.

I’ll bet 90 percent of the country doesn’t. That’s due, in large part, to the media almost completely ignoring anyone who isn’t Red or Blue, or has enough money to buy their way into coverage like Ross Perot and Michael Bloomberg.

Televised debates are only for the top candidates. Last week Ron Paul was not permitted to take part in Fox News’ Republican candidate debate, and he’s not the first. Fox isn’t the only news organization choosing who can participate, who can get the type of media exposure necessary to contend. Where do you draw the line – and who should draw it?

Don’t even get me started on the liberal slant the major networks have steadily moved towards over the past twenty years. Media executives broadcast and story decisions are slanted based on their own truths, their own political views, and what will bring in the most money. Liberal? NBC is for you. Conservative? Fox News or AM radio will be your source. Conspiracy theorist? There’s a zillion websites for you, my husband’s brethren.

Whatever happened to objective journalism? Is it even possible for it to exist? Did it ever?

Responsible voters will learn as much as possible and make the most informed choice they can. It’s our responsibility to do so. Words cannot describe my frustration with people who…don’t. I’m not saying you must spend three hundred hours researching, I’m just saying please don’t choose based on whim.

Sigh. I’ll stop talking. For now.

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