Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Rounding out one's affairs

It is a small compliment that I haven't an inordinate number of things to preoccupy me.  True, it could be interpreted as a blessing - especially as those few absorptions don't embrace anything even remotely disturbing. But saccharin is never good and lukewarm doesn't qualify for any distinction. I won't disguise what is really the overwhelming prosaic character of my life. Only yesterday for example I observed that the sum total of my worries surrounded four matters. None of them was conspicuously arresting; viz., banking (a new US account and credit card), writing (deciding whether to throw in the towel or keep going), personal adornment (jewelery) and residential affairs (settling a perch for the snowbirds for next season).  Remarkably each of them attained a satisfactory degree of containment.  There are still some loose ends but at least we're headed in the right direction.

Now, if I had - as some people are wont to promote - just sat back and patiently waited for things to transpire, I am quite certain I wouldn't have reached the same level of tranquillity which I now enjoy. The banking thing is perhaps the easiest to deal with.  Apart from the on-going issues relating to acquisition of a US mobile banking App (and the collateral matter of a US credit card) we quelled the associated concern about not being able to cash a cheque drawn on a US bank by abandoning whatever we'd done so far to address that hassle by sending the damn cheque to our new American banker and asking her to deposit it to our new US account.  Though that sounds perfectly uncomplicated - and it was - we nonetheless had to drive to a local post office, buy a "priority mail express", pay for it, address the damn thing (of course) and then communicate all of the above to the banker to be on the lookout for its arrival (which in turn precipitated an email from her, copied to the bank's Head Teller, acknowledging this bit of high finance).  Gawd!  And all this because we couldn't deposit a small US cheque electronically through our existing Canadian mobile banking App; and that the US App necessitated having a US credit card on file (not our Canadian one).  Don't get me started!  And that's the easy one!

The writing thing was a multi-level problem. First I decided sfter much dithering and prevarication  to forge ahead.  That was not a given.  For a long time I have seriously contemplated giving up trying to create entertaining prose for our local e-newspaper.  My soi-disant contributions to the paper have frankly met with less than enthusiastic response.  Advertisements for used winter tyres get more "Likes" than my tortuous articles. But I've been at it since 2011 and something preserves my tenacity in spite of everything (including having to deal with what are understandable hiccups arising as a result of the volunteer nature of the entire undertaking).  To my credit there are some readers who have been charitable and my sense of vanity has obviously overtaken me.  When I made my latest submissions to the editorial staff I figured they could tell me whether they wanted them or not.  Today I received some responses and it appears the show is still on the road.  It is perhaps healthful that I am ambivalent about the outcome.

So that's two out of three - banking and writing.  The simplest one of the four muddles was the jewelery obsession.  Oddly it had nothing to do with jewelery.  It concerned whether the jeweler had received my Interac e-Transfer.  In the past I have always received an automatic email when the recipient "accepted" the money. Not so on this occasion - even though my own bank indicated the money had been taken.  For days I stewed about this before finally sending an email enquiry to the jeweler.  He subsequently reported that indeed there had been some technical glitch with the payment but it finally went through. I was relieved to hear that because it wouldn't have been the first time our banking information had been "compromised".  So that's out of the way.

The last thing was dealing with the real estate agent regarding a rental for next season.  Unfortunately we've been royally spoiled with our historical dealings on Hilton Head Island where the property management company was superb. It has been an adjustment since our departure from South Carolina.  Dealing with real estate agents - who certainly have their strong points within their customary sphere - is not the same as dealing with dedicated property managers.  The complications began with a communication failure.  Our initial email to the agent apparently got lost in the Christmas shuffle.  Then we were tasked to complete forms which the company afterwards decided were unnecessary.  We've subsequently been asked to address replacement applications.  I made enquiry about Federal Deposit Insurance coverage to which a staff member's response was a somewhat unhelpful, "That's a good question!"  There were associated internal ruffles relating to Travel Insurance which the insurance agent - to whom we were directed by the real estate agent - advised was unavailable for people like us who linger for six months plus a day.  While we have yet to receive the concluding documentation we continue optimistic. The entire process has been far more protracted than we would have preferred.

As I said, none of these is particularly upsetting.  Irksome may be the most condemnation that is merited.  The balance is now in our favour.  Not unlike many deals, we've had some fancy footwork regrettably involving one step forward, two steps back.

By way of celebration today - and to mark what seems to be the arrival of sustainable beach weather - I cycled down S Atlantic Avenue to Ormond Beach (about 8 miles) then back on the beach.  It was an ideal day for cycling.  The crowds have materialized overnight.  There were swarms of young children and families and a large group of what appeared to be Asian students who spread like dislodged ants over the city.

The only thing I've done to contaminate this pristine state of affairs is to initiate my annual conversation with the car dealership. Like my writing it enjoys a certain ambivalence so I am not about to get myself into knots over that.  Besides reportedly the senior manager was away on holiday until yesterday so he deserves some breathing space.  I well recall the demands of returning to the office even after a short absence.

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