I'm starting to upload photos to Flickr. It's going to take a long time, because (a) there are tons of photos to sort through, and (b) the upload is very slow. With luck, I can get a set done every other day and maybe have them all up within the next two weeks. But for now there are only the photos from the 3 days in Prague.
Today my faith in humanity was, for a moment, restored. I have my own bank account out of which I pay for the Compassion kids' stuff and for what Walt and I in several years of "discussions" over purchases, came to lump together as "miscellaneous sundries at Long's," those "gotta have it" impulse purchases I would grab when picking up some household stuff at the local Long's (which no longer exists anyway). Since I started keeping my own checking account, money "discussions" have, for the most part, disappeared. Impulse purchases, charitable donations, stamps and Kindle boooks come out of my own account.
And it is pretty much a wash each month. My only "big" income is my Social Security check and then the payment for whatever reviews I do...which can be as much as $100 a month or as little as $20. I do have a little (very little) savings account cushion and try not to tap into that.
Well, as I looked over what was going to be due on my charge account and what I expected to be in my checking account after the Social Security check was deposited (especially since there would be NO income from reviews, since I would be out of the country), I saw that I was going to be about $75 short of being able to pay the whole bill. Now that little savings account cushion would roll over the money, but I'm trying to keep that at a certain level. I could, of course, pay only part of the bill, but then I would incur an interest charge for not paying the bill in full, which I always do.
But--aHA! I had an idea! My bank has a rewards program which I rarely even think about, but when I checked how much was in that account, it would slightly more than cover my shortage. I went to Europe with a clear conscience.
When I got home and went to pay the bill, I dutifully rolled over my rewards points to my account but then--oh horror!-- I realized that all it did was to subtract it from the total of my bill, which included charges that had been made since the original bill was calculated. What to do? What to do? I would have to go ahead and pay the whole bill anyway and let the bank subtract from my savings account, but I just hated to do that.
But then I decided to call Customer Service. I spoke with a lovely Indian man who made the right sympathetic sounds, but agreed that there wasn't anything else I could do. But then he put me on hold and said he wanted to see if he had any options. He came back and related that he could tell I had been a customer for a very long time (I don't remember for how long, but I think I got the account in the early 1990s) and that I had been a very loyal customer, never missing a payment and never having anything like this happen before. So, dear man, he suppressed the interest charges for this month. I could go ahead and pay what I could afford and it would trigger no interest.
Now, no fool I, I did get his name in case I get dinged, but I am feeling the milk of human kindness transfused through my veins at the moment and glad that I have not changed banks since I first got this account! Makes me want to run out and do something good for someone else, to pay it forward.
Last night we had one of those special theatrical moments that I will remember for a long time. I was reviewing The Music Man, one of my favorite musicals, at Music Circus in Sacramento. Since we have been out of the country, I hadn't seen any of the promos on TV for the show and so was surprised to discover that Shirley Jones -- Mrs. Partridge herself -- who originated the role of Marian Paroo on Broadway and who played the role in the classic movie, was playing Marian's mother, Mrs. Paroo. Her real life son, Patrick Cassidy, was doing the role of Harold Hill.
At the end of this wonderful production, when all the bows had been taken, Ms. Jones took the microphone and shared memories of making the movie with actor Robert Preston. She then sang a brief duet with her son, to tumultous applause. It was a real "wow" moment and brought down the house. Perks like this don't come along often for a theater critic, but when they do...it's magic.
Patrick Cassidy and Shirley Jones