Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Videos and Scams

Jeez M. Crow, I can't belive it's been over two weeks since I've posted here. That's what happens when you actually do work when you're at work. Of course it could just be that I've been busy looking at other weird things on the net. One of the more bizarre things I've seen in a while just left me sitting there looking at the computer wondering if someone just slipped me some acid. This link will take you there.

On a totally unrelated topic...this past weekend at work something rather odd happened. I got a phone call early Saturday afternoon, and the call display showed some area code I was not familiar with. On the other end was a man with a very thick accent. He asked me if we carried 32" x 40" glass, and asked me the price. He then told me he needed 80 sheets, and wanted to know how soon he could get them. The connection was bad and we wound up getting cut off. In the meantime, I did some checking on the area code, and discovered he was calling from
Baltimore, MD. Why on earth was someone from Baltimore calling my little shop here in Canada for glass, let alone 80 sheets of it? When he called back, he gave me two Visa numbers and asked that I split the total between them. Why did this guy have two Visas? I asked when he planned to pick up the order, and he then informed me that he would be contacting a shipping company to pick up and deliver the glass to Africa where it was to be used to build a church. WHAT!? Baltimore to Canada to Africa. Okie doke. All sorts of alarms were going off about this. He wanted me to process the payment while he was on the phone, but I was feeling very uneasy about the whole thing. I thought I'd put him off for a bit, so I paused for a minute and told him that the first card wouldn't go through, and after another pause, I told him the other card wouldn't work either. He then gave me two more Visa numbers to try. What the hell!? How many cards did this guy have? I decided to process the cards, and sure enough they worked. He told me that when I e-mail him the authorization codes for the transaction he will contact the shipper and have them pick up the order. Something still smells of a scam of some sort, so I checked in with someone at my bank, but they weren't able to help. I called our bank card terminal people, again, no help. I called Visa, they gave me another number to verify the card, but the recording there keeps asking for the billing address for the card, which I don't have. So I have been trying to contact this guy by phone and e-mail. No luck yet.

The money is in our bank now, but before I order in 14 cases of glass that I'd rather not get stuck with I need to make sure this isn't as fishy as it smells. I'll keep you posted.


I got another call from the dude with all the credit cards, and he really didn't seem to want to provide too much information. I told him that the bank had contacted me and requested the name on the card and the billing address before they would clear the purchase. He finally agreed to e-mail me the info, and then he continued to phone me immediately afterward. I told him it might be a day before they get back to me.

I called the Visa confirmation line and entered the address and zip code he provided, and guess what? They didn't match. Go figure. So I decided to call in the police to look into this. I had a visit by a very nice young police officer who tried to make sense of the whole ordeal, and she was just as dumbstruck as I was. Baltimore...Seattle...Canada...Africa? After about an hour or so here, she headed back to the station to check in with the fraud unit and do some investigating. If the dude calls back, she has requested that I get from him his name, DOB, home address and phone. We'll see how it goes.

More to follow, I'm sure.

Update. February 1....

Got another call from the scammer again this morning. But not from the Baltimore phone number. Oh no...this one was a 760 area code. I did a number search and it came up from Carlsbad, CA. Called the cop shop and left word there for the investigating constable to give me a shout when she starts her shift this evening.

That's it for now...stay tuned kids.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Taking A Test Drive

The second week in February, Weezie is going on vacation for a week. Her mother is going to look after Zoe, and I'll have my little baby Brynn who will be seven months old then. That time seems to be speeding toward me and I'm getting a bit terrified. As it turns out, The Squeeze, who was going to take the week off with me, can't get the time off work, so I'll be looking after her on my own during the daytime.

We've had her for a few overnight stays, but the anxiety and fear that I'm going to totally screw up is overwhelming, and I can't seem to wait to return her to her mother and finally be able to exhale. The plan was to have her for a weekend at some point between now and then, to see how I make out and to see how she handles being away from home. I discovered this past Saturday that our next couple of weekends are booked for different functions, leaving only that weekend to try this out. So I said, "why not?". Weezie said "OK", and that was that.

Saturday after work The Squeeze and I drove over to Weezie's to pick up our little bundle and her accessories and bring her back to our place. When I got her into the house and out of her car seat, she looked around the room and clearly realized she wasn't at her own house, but she didn't freak out. So far so good. All we really had to do that first night was to play for a while, feed her dinner, give her a bath and put her to bed after her bottle. Things were going well until bath-time. For whatever reason, about 30 seconds after getting into her little tub in the kitchen sink, she looked up at me, got this sad look on her face and started wailing. Tears and everything. It broke my heart. So out she came, wrapped and bundled in a nice warm blanket as I tried to console her. Diaper, t-shirt "onesie", sleeper: check. After much cuddling and calming and she was fine. Bottle, burp, bed: check. A couple of hours later, I was up in my own bed, knowing that she often gets up around 5 or 6 for a bottle.

I think I got a few minutes of sleep in before The Squeeze came up to bed. After he strapped on his CPAP machine which allows him to breathe through the night (damned sleep apnea), he discovered that his sinuses were stuffed up, so the machine was a no-go. What did that mean to me? Well, the CPAP keeps him from snoring, that's the big plus of that thing for me. So obviously, it meant that there would be snoring. And there was. Plenty of it. Since I had to be sure to hear a crying baby, the ear plugs which I often rely on during CPAP-free nights were out of the question. Around....oh I don't know...12 or 1, I finally lost my mind. I hadn't slept at all at that point and I weighed my options.
Ear plugs? Oh, good.
How about the guest room? No, that's where Brynn's crib is, and I don't want to wake her up and be a distraction in there keeping her from sleeping.
The sofa downstairs in the living room? Nah, I probably won't hear her down there.
The pull-out sofa in the office upstairs? Oh wait...our bed is IN the office while the master bedroom slowly gets renovated.

Desperation forced me to take the cushions off the pull-out sofa and use them as a mattress amidst the construction debris on the floor of the master bedroom. After much tossing and turning, I think I finally managed to fall asleep. And then the cat began to wail. Those who know her know all too well the blood-curdling sounds that come from that frickin' cat.

At one point in the night, The Squeeze came in to get me and tell me the decongestants he took are working and he can wear the CPAP again. So I dragged my sorry ass back into bed and I think I slept about an hour until the baby woke up around 3:00. God help me! Luckily I was able to walk her for a few minutes and put her back down without a fuss.

She was having a pretty good day. Lots of laughing, especially when she was laying on her little mat on the floor and I was doing the ol' "I'm gonna eat your toes, tummy, fingers, neck" thing. She loves that. She just squeals and laughs when I do that.

Because she got up about an hour earlier than usual, her schedule was off for most of the day. I tried to get her straightened out by the time bedtime rolled around, but that didn't quite work out. Again, she sobbed during bath time and she refused to take more than about an ounce or two. When I tried to put her to bed a few minutes after her usual 7:00 bedtime, she just screamed. Back downstairs we came, I tried to entertain her for a while, let her sit in her jumperoo, tried the bottle (no dice again), and finally took her back to bed a few minutes after 8:00 since she was beginning to nod off in my arms. A few minutes of crying and she was asleep. By this point I was a basketcase. I was having an emotional meltdown. "How am I going to do this for a week when I can hardly handle it for two nights?! I'm a failure." The Squeeze offered some kind words and reminded me that I was running on no sleep. Again, he is the voice of reason. I also realized that I only had about a half of a chicken breast and less than a cup of leftover Chinese food all day. So I managed to grab a bite to eat and took a minute to de-compress.

I dragged myself up to bed and crashed until about 5:30 Monday morning, feeling refreshed and vibrant again. I had a great morning with Brynn until I had to return her to Weezie's house and carry on with my usual "day-off" chores. I had mixed feelings when I got home. There was the usual exhale of relief knowing that I didn't have to keep worrying about keeping the baby happy, following a schedule and screwing up, but the house seemed so empty.

It's going to be a strange week when I have her, but I can't imagine what I'll feel when I return her after her mother's vacation.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Scary Christmas

The Squeeze and I went to Weezie's on Christmas morning to visit Brynn and Zoe and take some gifts that we had for them. At the time, Brynn was just two weeks short of being six months old, so she was more interested in chewing on the wrapping paper than understanding what was inside it all. Nearly two-year-old Zoe, on the other hand, was all about tearing open the goods to see what was hidden within.

The first gift that Zoe opened was a little Fisher Price "Little People" set with a prince and princess with a dancefloor and horse and carriage. That held her interest for about a second because, hey, there was another big box for her. She tore open the wrapping and discovered the box holding TMX Elmo - the toy that I stood in line for in the early, early morning rain a couple of months ago.

Weezie helper her free Elmo from his cardboard prison, and I hit the power switch and pressed one of his tickle zones to put him into action. Weezie, The Squeeze and I were very excited to see her reaction to lovable Elmo as he giggled, laughed, rolled on the floor and righted himself after his laughing fit.

A look of sheer terror came across her face as she threw herself into her mother's arms and trembled and sobbed. Ya, Elmo wasn't an immediate hit. Weezie tried to ease Zoe's fears by saying how Elmo is laughing because he got tickled. "Isn't he funny?" Uhh....apparently, not so much. Zoe kept her eyes on him from a distance and refused to go near him. We tried again a few minutes later, laughing along with Elmo to show her that it was a funny thing, and not a scary thing. Again, it had the same effect. Back into Weezie's arms, more crying and shaking.

I felt like such a heel. Nothing like making a child cry on Christmas morning. I had a flashback at that moment. This wasn't the first time I've done this. About a thousand years ago when I was around 8 years old and my first nephew was about the same age as Zoe, I bought him a huge stuffed Big Bird that I figured he'd love. He tore it open, found this huge yellow bird taller than he was, and began shrieking in terror. I recall my whole family looking at me like I was sprouting another head, as if I had predicted this outcome. Again, heel.

It's been nearly two weeks now, and Zoe is still as fond of Elmo as she was Christmas morning. Weezie and I joke that she'll have to get Elmo out in order to make her stop misbehaving. Ya, I know, but it cracks us up.

I just wish I had a video camera going when she opened it. I bet it could have won me some cash on America's Funniest Home Videos. It's almost worth putting up the tree again and re-wrapping Elmo and having Zoe open it again so I can capture it on film.

But that would be cruel.

Wouldn't it?

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