Saturday, June 23, 2012

Traipsing Through The Juvenalia

Well, I did it! My entire body is stiff with aspirin-proof soreness, my arms and legs speckled with bruises, my palms covered with blisters ripening into calluses, but all of my tangible material possessions are in my rented Virginia townhouse: my partner and I moved or discarded ten years' worth of accumulated crap in just a little over two weeks, and except for the part where I aged 15 years in 15 days it was totally worth it.

I'm probably on another terrorist watch list due to the vast quantities of poison I've bought these past couple of weeks: the backyard is a veritable antopia, and while I don't mind ants crawling through the dirt I DID mind the ants crawling under the siding or foundations of our house (for fear they'd find a way in). So I bought several cans of Raid, and noticed that each can of insecticide has the words "Johnson: A Family Company" prominently displayed on top. Which is great, because when I buy deadly toxic substances I expect them to reflect solid traditional family values; there will be no illegitimate-bastard poisons in MY household, by Zod.

Speaking of bastards (tho' not necessarily illegitimate ones; I have no idea if his parents were married or not), kudos to the uptight asshole from the HOA who couldn't be bothered to issue my parking pass in a timely manner; thanks to him, my first morning in my new home cost me $150 and a trip to the local towing facility.

But back to the poison: in addition to being family-friendly, each can of Raid claims to smell delicious. You can get lemon-scented poison, ocean breeze poison, forest-glade poison, each option more asinine than the previous one. Look: if I'm spraying insecticide throughout my household and you, my human guest, happen to catch a whiff of it, I do NOT want you to say "My, that smells nice!" and take deep breaths of it; I want you to wrinkle your nose and say "Eeew, that stinks!" so as to avoid inhaling even more. (Unless you work for the TSA, in which case let me remind you that if your house smells funky, Lemon Fresh Raid is a much better option than Febreze. Be sure to keep your doors and windows tightly shut, so none of that fresh-scented goodness can escape.)

A couple of days before leaving Connecticut for good, I experienced mild panic upon realizing "Oh, hell, my bank does not have branches in Virginia; WTF am I to do with my life's savings?" So I quickly opened an account with a certain national bank -- won't say the name for privacy reasons, but it rhymes with "Hell's Cargo" -- which had a branch near my old Connecticut apartment and also near my new Virginia one.

After going down to Virginia, I went to my local Hell's Cargo office to make sure my New England bank check had cleared (it had), and the Hell's Cargo lady tried telling me I absolutely had to sign up for online banking. I told her no thanks; I don't trust online banking for fear of hackers and identity theft.

She assured me Hell's Cargo's databases are extremely secure. "I'm sure they are," I said. "So were the taxpayer databases for the state of Connecticut, and the database for whatever company bought the student loan I'd paid off several years before, yet they still sent me letters warning me to check my credit report because they lost my information. I do not want to do any online banking so that when the Russian Mafia inevitably hacks into my account, I can honestly say 'I have never done any online banking transactions; thus, every one of these is fraudulent'."

But the Hell's Cargo lady insisted I had to sign up for online banking anyway. Under ordinary circumstances I would have argued the point, but that morning I was just too damned tired, what with having spent the past couple weeks as an overburdened pack animal, so I just sighed, slumped my shoulders and said "I hate having to close a bank account that isn't even two weeks old."

That's when the Hell's Cargo lady remembered that online banking isn't mandatory after all. Nor is it mandatory for me to answer her questions regarding what I pay in rent, what I earn in income, where I work or who I work for. (Although, if someone tries to get this information from me next time I go there, I plan to tell them my monthly rent is a hundred dollars and my monthly income fifty. Let their computers chew on that for awhile.)

I'm now in the process of unpacking boxes, and have been finding some horribly embarrassing juvenalia. Apparently I tried writing a musical about Anne Frank, including one song sung to the tune of MacArthur Park (or, more specifically, to the tune of Weird Al Yankovic's parody Jurassic Park). Here's how it starts:

I recall the time the Nazis came into our country
and before long, we were suffering abuse
The fact that we were really good and kind, upstanding people
didn't matter, 'cause they knew that we were Jews.

CHORUS: Dear family, I think we'd better hide
anti-Semitism's running wild
Hitler's starting pogroms up again
I don't think that we can take it
'cause we're Jews and we can't fake it,
and they're gonna try to kill us all again

I have built a hidden Secret Annex
where we'll hide for the duration
with our good friends the Van Daans ...

Methinks me smoked a tad too much Mary Jane back in the day. I wish I had some right now, to make my muscles less sore and unpacking less boring. For now, though, I must get back to work.


Anonymous Artor said...

Your little kerfluffle with Hell's Cargo is only the beginning. Everyone I've ever known who has done business with them has regretted it, often with horror stories about lost deposits, mysterious overdrafts, and recalcitrant tellers/ branch managers. Find a good local Credit Union quick, before it's too late!

7:55 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

*Sigh* Yeah, I've had other people tell me unpleasant things about Hell's Cargo too. I admit I did no research at all; I had no time, what with trying to pack or discard all our stuff, and I picked Hell's Cargo solely because it's the only non-Bank of America bank I knew of with branches close to my Connecticut AND Virginia addresses.

So I know I need to get the hell away from Hell's Cargo, yet have no idea what bank I should try. I like PNC Bank because one of my online anti-TSA friends said they refunded credit card charges for a flight that was missed because the ticket purchaser refused to be groped -- however, others have warned me they're notoriously fee-happy.

I don't think I qualify to join any local credit unions; the only time I've ever been a credit union member was when I was still young enough to qualify as my dad's dependent, and thus could join a CU for military people and their families.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

kudos to the uptight asshole from the HOA who couldn't be bothered to issue my parking pass in a timely manner; thanks to him, my first morning in my new home cost me $150 and a trip to the local towing facility.

Just the HOA's way of saying Welcome to the neighborhood. Oh, and be sure to keep current with your dues. Afterall, they need that money - to retain lawyers - to sue you when you fail to pay that money they need - to retain lawyers...

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Radical Hick said...


Credit unions have much looser requirements than they used to. The one I belong to had the requirement that you either "live, work, or worship" in a particular county. And they don't actually check that you do any of those things.

I noticed another credit union whose name implies you have to be in a certain profession (Teacher's Federal CU) is now advertising that anyone in some geographic area is eligible.

Whether this is different in Virginia, I don't know. but the credit union does have lower fees and pays out better interest. Plus their customer support was flat out better than the big bank I used.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

. Oh, and be sure to keep current with your dues

Those, at least, are the landlord's responsibility. I already knew long before this that I'd never buy into an HOA. Although it looks like in this area, the only non-HOA houses are either mansions I could never afford, or shitholes. So be it. I'll buy a piece of land and stick a trailer on it before I'll buy into an HOA. Even renting in one is turning out to be a huge pain in the ass.

8:29 PM  

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