Thur. Mar. 28, 2019 – running out of March…

Cool and damp. Better than hot and damp.

We are almost to the end of March. End of the first quarter. End of winter…. It went fast.

Travel day for me. I’ll be online until about 10:00am Central then traveling. I won’t have a child with me so I expect the anal probe at security. Joy.

Lots to do still before departure, so I better get busy.

n

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29 Responses to Thur. Mar. 28, 2019 – running out of March…

  1. Ray Thompson says:

    Applied for another credit. $150.00 cash back if you charge $500.00 or more during the first 90 days. That makes it a 30% rebate. This will be the second time I have done this. First was from USAA this is from BofA. No annual fee on either of the cards. If they want to give me their money I am fine with that process. Once the charge is made to the account, the rebate posted, the final payment made, I will put the cards away in my desk and not use the cards. I guess the CC companies are really desperate to acquire customers. Credit score will take a slight hit but my FICO score is way above 800 so not an issue.

  2. ITGuy1998 says:

    You can definitely get some good rewards using cards. For those of us who don’t carry debt, they are great tools.

  3. Ray Thompson says:

    You can definitely get some good rewards using cards

    Indeed. Frequent travelers can really get some good deals that will make traveling more pleasant. I use my Costco card as much as I can, put cable bill, medical bills, cell phone bill, as much as I can on the card. Last couple of years have provided me with over $1,500.00 in cash from purchases. All with no interest and fees. Getting 3% back on airline purchases was great with my last couple of trips to Europe. I have paid no interest or fees for any of the cards.

  4. JimL says:

    43º and sunny (now), and supposed to rain later. I hope it holds off until after lunch. I hate to run in the rain.

    I went to look at a SAN presentation yesterday. It’s much different than even 3 years ago and good enough for SQL servers (or so I’m told). The nut is only 3/4 of what it was 4 years ago (the last time I went through the process). 5-year cost (the only thing that really matters when I have to propose these things, as that is when I retire servers) is comparable, and the benefits are better. We may finally make the move into the 21st Century. I hope.

  5. DadCooks says:

    Once again A.F. Branco draws a cartoon that is fact:
    https://comicallyincorrect.com/a-f-branco-cartoon-useful-idiots-2/

    Democrans, the party of waste, fraud, abuse, and lies. Now don’t get the wrong idea about my politics, the Republicrats are not far behind.

  6. Greg Norton says:

    I use my Costco card as much as I can, put cable bill, medical bills, cell phone bill, as much as I can on the card.

    I got a Citi Costco card for work travel, but they’ve already played the late payment game on me, less than six months into holding the card.

  7. Ray Thompson says:

    played the late payment game on me

    Happened to me once many years ago with Discover. My mistake, missed the payment by a day doing the payment online. I was out of the country and simply forgot about the payment until I got home. I paid the balance in full except for the late fee. I then called Discover and told them to cancel the card. Discover quickly refunded the late fee. CC companies do not like to lose customers, especially ones that have a clean record with just one little hiccup and have been a user for 20 years.

  8. Ray Thompson says:

    And speaking of CC’s and the issues. I just received a document in the mail, 22 pages, detailing a class action claim against the credit card companies claiming the CC companies charged too much in exchange fees. The card companies have agreed to pay between 6.24 and 5.54 Billion in settlement. The award to the class members will be dependent on the number of claimants.

    Of course the lawyers and the law firm will probably collect $500 million or more. The plaintiffs may receive a check for a couple of dollars.

    Why I am even involved in this claim is beyond me. It refers the fees charged between me and my customers. I have never accepted any credit cards and thus have paid no fees. I can exclude myself by writing some long winded letter and wasting a stamp. Not going to happen. Not worth my time and effort to NOT get a couple of dollars.

  9. MrAtoz says:

    Someone may have already posted on this.

    How in the World can a doctor institute a SWAT hit on private Citizens:

    Shocking video shows Arizona police officers forcing their way into a home to remove an unvaccinated toddler who had a 105-degree fever after a doctor reported his parents to authorities

    I understand the SWAT team is doing their job, but this is too much power for goobermint.

  10. MarkD says:

    I will chew off my left arm before I give Citi a dime, ever. They sent us a new card, no reason, and I went through hell getting them to dismiss the charges some Canadian fraudster rang up before we ever used the thing. It was an inside job from their credit card department, obviously, and they didn’t care. They had their one shot at me.

  11. MinnesotaDave says:

    Maple syruping going well. We have slightly over 2 gallons so far and the weather forecast looks good for at least another five days. We have been getting about 15 to 20 gallons of sap per day and the ratio is about 25 gallons boiled to one gallon finished syrup. I joke with my wife that we are watching the weather like any other farmer for syruping and gardening.
    On the political front most friends don’t want to gossip about Trump and definitely Smollet any more.

  12. Greg Norton says:

    I then called Discover and told them to cancel the card. Discover quickly refunded the late fee.

    I did that with Citi this morning because the payment was a *day* late in the mail, and I wasn’t going to eat $34 without complaint.

    I need a real credit card of some kind for work travel in addition to my green Amex. The company does not issue cards to employees except in extraordinary circumstances.

  13. Ray Thompson says:

    I went through hell getting them to dismiss the charges some Canadian fraudster rang up

    Odd. I had someone in Mexico attempt to buy gas with my card the day after I used the card at Applebee’s. Someone at Applebee’s stole the information. I informed Applebee’s corporate and the store manager. None of them cared. Citi immediately blocked the card and issued a new card. The charges were taken off my account and I had to sign a form that arrived in the mail. No problems.

    I do have give Discover credit. One Friday night at a football game the side window on my car was smashed so the cretin could steal my wife’s purse. We discovered the incident at about 10:30. Immediately called the police and all the credit card companies. None of the cards had been used. VISA took almost 10 days to get new cards in the mail, as in snail mail. Discover overnighted, via FedEx ,Saturday delivery, a new card. I had the card by 9:30 AM the next day on a Saturday. In less than 12 hours I had the new cards from Discover.

  14. ech says:

    Discover are scum.

    Sent my mom to collection without notice after my dad died – even though we were current on payments and paying it down. I took the first call from the collection agency and handled it as executor of my dad’s will. It was a law firm in Arkansas. I said I had never heard of them and how did I know they were really entitled to collect? They said they were a law firm and that we could trust them. I replied that I had less trust in them because they were a law firm. The person on the phone didn’t like that. I told them that since I had nothing in writing from Discover, I didn’t consider them to own the debt and that if they called again I would report them for violations of the federal laws on debt collection.

    I contacted the estate attorney, who was familiar with the firm. The term “bottom feeder” might have come up. He said to forward any correspondence to him and he would handle it. He then, for free, proceeded to tie up the firm with requests for information on the debt. Eventually, he pointed out that it was business expenses and as such went into the unsecured debt from my dad’s business. And the business was closed and out of cash. They got nothing. If they had stayed with my mom, it would have been paid back in about 18 months.

    A friend makes software for attorneys to track debts and do debt collection. Geared to small firms and solo practices collecting small judgements for clients. He knew that firm. They probably paid Discover 3-5 cents on the dollar, he said. Bottom feeders might have also come up in the discussion.

  15. CowboySlim says:

    I then called Discover and told them to cancel the card. Discover quickly refunded the late fee.

    I have been late several times and they have always refunded late and interest charges when I call.

    WRT, to debt collection scammers, I always tell those that think that I owe them money that I will neither pay them nor any debt collector as they will have no paper with their name at the top and my signature on the bottom….see you in small claims court.

  16. Lynn says:

    Having a total blast with the new external led lights for the warehouse. Not ! Gonna have to get some external junction boxes. Probably not to code. I cannot get to at least one of the old inside junction boxes inside the warehouse since the tenant built a meeting room in the second story.

  17. Ray Thompson says:

    Sent my mom to collection without notice after my dad died

    When my mother died she owed Discover about $450.00. Myself and my brothers had no intention of paying. Called Discover to cancel the card figuring it was probably a good thing to do for Discover. The agent asked who was going to pay the debt now that my mother was dead. I said “no one, write it off.” He said he could not do that he would have to send her to collections and ruin her credit. I said “I don’t think she will care.”

    The agent then said he could not cancel the card as long as there was a balance. I said “Fine. I will drop the card on ground at Best Buy and see how it goes.” Suddenly he was able to block the card but not cancel.

    Same deal with her cable TV provider. Called them to turn off the account and get their equipment. The agent said I had to bring the equipment to the office and pay the final amount owed. I told him that was not going to happen. The bill was not going to get paid nor was I driving to the office to return the equipment. The agent then said he would send the account to collections and add on the charge for the equipment. I told him to go ahead as I doubted the collection agency would be able to contact unless they had a backhoe. Left the equipment at the apartment front office as I told the agent. If they wanted it, come get it but I was not delivering.

    I don’t think it Discover or the Cable Company but clueless agents that want to make a name for themselves. My dealings with Discover have always been pleasant with a resolution always in my favor.

    Bottom feeders might have also come up in the discussion

    I have encountered one of those firms for a debt my aunt owed but she did not really owe. Ambulance company after getting paid by Medicare, private insurance, and Medicaid still have a balance due of about $280.00. Claimed I owed as I had the same address as my aunt. I stopped that real quick with a threat that if I found anything on my credit report from the ambulance firm there would be hell to pay and I would own one of their ambulances.

    So instead they sent my aunt to collections. She had nothing as she was on Medicare and basically non-functional. But I got the letter at the house. I responded with a short note that basically told the firm to go pound sand. Never heard back.

    There are several bottom feeder firms. My niece bought dog food at Walmart and the bag covered a tube of Chapstick. Apparently Walmart knew and stopped her as she left the store and accused her of shoplifting. No police were called nor was there a police report.

    About two weeks later she got a letter from a law firm stating she owed $250.00 in fines and if she did not pay she would be arrested. I told her that only a judge can issue a fine or arrest warrant and to completely ignore the letter. Only respond if the notice was from the court. I looked up the law firm on the web and they were on the low end of the bottom feeders. Apparently using records from Walmart, which Walmart probably sells (scum procedure) to the firm. Then using threats of legal action and fines probably gets a small percentage to pay. Victorville has a large Mexican population and the threat of being picked up by the police scares them enough to pay.

    I cannot get to at least one of the old inside junction boxes inside the warehouse

    Yep, that is a big violation. All junction boxes must be accessible. External junction boxes are probably OK to mount the light. As long as the wiring remains completely in conduit.

  18. Lynn says:

    There is no conduit around the existing outside wiring from the internal junction box, through the warehouse steel skin, and to the light fixture. The wiring may be conduit rated though if there is such a beastie.

  19. Lynn says:

    Actually, I can see all four of the internal junction boxes inside the warehouse. They are 17+ feet off the ground so I will have to use a manlift to get to them.

    Btw, the home Depot manlift is the cats meow. I could not get the job done without it. $372 with tax and insurance for 24 hours.

  20. lynn says:

    When my mother died she owed Discover about $450.00. Myself and my brothers had no intention of paying. Called Discover to cancel the card figuring it was probably a good thing to do for Discover. The agent asked who was going to pay the debt now that my mother was dead. I said “no one, write it off.” He said he could not do that he would have to send her to collections and ruin her credit. I said “I don’t think she will care.”

    I’ll bet that a surprising number of people will pay that amount.

  21. lynn says:

    BTW, I have 18 light fixtures to replace in my warehouse:
    1. 3 outside at 14 foot height (is 175 watt metal halides, 2 are dead)
    2. 4 outside at 17 foot height (is 400 watt metal halides, all 4 are dead)
    3. 11 inside at 25 ft height (is 800 watt metal halides, 3 are dead)

    I replaced one of the 14 foot light fixtures and one of the 17 ft light fixtures today. I am hanging around until after dark to see how things are. I used the same 150 watt LED fixture for both lights. I am wondering if the 150 watt LED fixture will work to replace the 800 watt metal halides or if I will need a 200 or 250 watt fixture.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077ZK6Q26/?tag=ttgnet-20

    BTW, those metal halides take about 10 minutes to start up. The LEDs come right on of course.

    BTW2, I though that my three story tall warehouse was totally metal I beams. Only the vertical supports to the ground are I beams. The rest of the support beams are kind of an S beam. All of the lights are hanging from holes drilled in the S beams.

  22. Ray Thompson says:

    I’ll bet that a surprising number of people will pay that amount.

    My brothers and myself are cheap SOBs. We argued with the funeral home over the cost. My brother told them he could get the casket cheaper and the home reduced the price to his cost. The home wanted to charge for hearse. My older brother said no, he would rent a truck from Home Depot. Home said you can’t do that, he said yes I can. We got the hearse for no charge. Argued over the items at the grave site to get it down the minimum. Did not want chairs, awnings, etc. which all cost money.

    Thus we paid nothing that she owed. Not the rent on her apartment, not the electric bill, not the gas bill, nothing. Told all of them she had no money, nothing left, send her to collections. Not going to bother us.

    Actually she had $400.00 in her checking account. Younger brother got the money and closed the account and we all went out to dinner. Gave everything in her apartment to anyone that wanted it. The rest went to the dump.

  23. Greg Norton says:

    I’ll bet that a surprising number of people will pay that amount.

    Five years after my father-in-law died, we got a call from UT Southwestern at the house, asking about a several hundred dollar lab charge that never got paid.

    I said, “Why don’t you ask [name omitted], the nurse anesthetist who offed him and cashed the check for his life insurance. She’s still on your payroll, fourth or fifth highest paid non-physician employee at the hospital according to the State of Texas.”

    Never heard from UT Southwestern again.

  24. Nick Flandrey says:

    In Chicago safely. Funeral tomorrow. Man this city is dirty and ugly before spring starts up. I forgot how bleak it is after the snow melts away and everything is covered with dirt. It was overcast but warmish. Forecast had called for cold and rain possible. Even dirty grey overcast beats that.

    Time for bed.

    n

  25. lynn says:

    There is no conduit around the existing outside wiring from the internal junction box, through the warehouse steel skin, and to the light fixture. The wiring may be conduit rated though if there is such a beastie.

    Nope, the cord on the LED light fixture is just SJTW extension cord, cut to three foot. I may buy a 25 foot cord and apportion it four ways for the four light fixtures that need a long cord. I do like the light fixture very much despite that.

  26. brad says:

    I had similar adventures when my mother passed away. The worst was GMAC (now Ally), because my mother had a leased vehicle. The son of a friend of hers was in the business, and helped me return the car and tick all the legally required boxes to terminate the lease. He also explained that a huge number of people try to dodge out of leases by claiming somebody died. So the agents are trained to disbelieve any such story, even if you lay the dead body on their desk.

    Which doesn’t help at all when someone really has died. My mother passed unexpectedly, and I took two weeks unscheduled vacation to clear everything up. Very tight timeline, but that’s what I could do at the time. The situation was emotional enough for me, and then dealing with places like GMAC? I lost it, which I never do, but I totally lost it on the phone with one of their agents. I suppose I have to give that agent credit for remaining absolutely polite while I was cussing her out. Didn’t help – I got bills, reminders, threats for months afterwards. All of which went straight into the trash can until they finally gave up.

    I did pay any open obligations that my mother had. What I refused to do was (as with the car lease) pay any future obligations. Paying current debts seemed only fair. Future obligations obviously end with death. I was still utterly shocked at the companies that offered to take payment by having me read them her account number over the phone. Not because they made the offer, but because that can even work. What an utterly shocking lack of bank security.

    Cleaning out her apartment was the biggest adventure in such a tight time frame. Fortunately, I have a cousin whose husband is a builder, and he can’t stop even in retirement. So they have the equivalent of about three houses on their plot of land, and she took most of the furniture. I sorted out what I could of the rest, and had the rest shipped home. Even though it wasn’t really too awful, there were some areas where my mother was a packrat. She had her financial papers from each year gathered together and tossed in a plastic shopping bag. There were other shopping bags with other categories of important papers. Not a very nice filing system, but at least everything was somewhat organized.

    It will be completely different for our kids. Most everything is digital, so there’s almost no incentive to clean up and throw old things away. In fact, about once a year I find myself digging through ancient archives for something I actually need, so I really don’t want to delete them. I have a one-page printed document with a list of what I think is important (along with a couple of master passwords) in our safe. But that only gets updated every couple of years, and anyway, I’m sure they will need stuff that I’ve forgotten to make note of…

    – – – – –

    On the DIY side of things: current project is to remove the rust from the mechanics of the huge-but-ancient sunshade over our terrace. I’m using a rust remover designed for ships: a gel containing phosphoric acid. It reacts with the rust and turns it into…dunno what, something silvery that apparently bonds with the metal.

    I then want to paint it, but my first attempt failed: a bunch of powder “appeared” and ruined the paint and the brush. My theory is that the gel itself leaves a residue that I’m scraping up when I paint. So I’ll try washing everything thoroughly with water, and then painting. Next attempt will be this afternoon, when the temp is a bit warmer…

  27. Greg Norton says:

    In Chicago safely. Funeral tomorrow. Man this city is dirty and ugly before spring starts up.

    We didn’t venture out beyond McComick Place and Michigan Ave. much last week, but I noticed that the neighborhoods started to look like the opening credits to “Good Times” as we ventured further out.

  28. Norman Yarvin says:

    As regards: “On the DIY side of things: current project is to remove the rust from the mechanics of the huge-but-ancient sunshade over our terrace. I’m using a rust remover designed for ships: a gel containing phosphoric acid.”

    That sort of stuff is meant to be painted over, which is not what you want for “mechanical” things, where metal rubs on metal. For those, best to remove loose rust and apply grease.

    I’ve heard the phosphoric acid stuff doesn’t work all that well even if you are going to paint it over. I believe the main problem is when pockets of rust get left underneath the dark iron phosphate coating that it produces.

    Since this was RBT’s blog, I should mention that hydrochloric acid removes rust really fast. Then it starts eating away the metal, but more slowly. Wash thoroughly to remove residual chlorides, dry, and protect the surface with oil, grease, or paint; otherwise you’ll soon get a flash of rust — within minutes, if you just wash briefly and leave the surface wet.

    But for an old creaky mechanism, just applying lots of oil and working the thing until it stops creaking is usually easiest. Keep reapplying oil and wiping up the dirty drippings. Of course if it’s locked up solid with rust, stronger measures are needed.

  29. Nick Flandrey says:

    If it’s just on the surface and doesn’t affect function, I give it a light scrub with a wire brush to knock off the loose rust, then spraypaint with a rust converter. Follow up with paint ( I like truck bed textured paint) and you are good. I mostly use a wire wheel on the angle grinder if the piece allows for it. small or more delicate pieces get soaked in something. The something varies.

    n

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