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Monday, May 06, 2019

The Payment Princess

I guess you could call me an online bill pay snob.  If I get a bill and it doesn't have an option for paying online, I curse them. In fact, I boycotted my dermatologist bill for awhile. I saw the bill. Then I saw that I have an appointment coming up in a few weeks. So I thought to myself, I'm just gonna pay it at my appointment. I'll show them. If a sophisticated, modern dermatologist office with three locations can't find a way to offer online bill pay (and I have complained about this before), then they can just wait for their money. 

But then I got a nasty letter. Something about being overdue and some more verbiage about a collection agency. So I paid the damn thing. Sent it in the MAIL. Like it was 1993 or something. 

Then I got another nasty letter which told me that--surprise--the mail takes awhile. Their threatening note and my belated payment must have crossed in this archaic system. I called the derm office just to make sure they received my payment. They did. Naturally I had to tell them why I was tardy or else what was the point of my protest? 

The lady on the other end said they are ALMOST finished finalizing their online bill payment system. She said she was VERY excited about this. I told her I was too. Cause this white girl visits the derm pretty often. So often, in fact, that one day when I had an appt with my regular doctor, I accidentally went to the derm instead. Like on autopilot. They were all, "You don't have an appointment" and I was all, "Yes, I do. It's me. Elsa." And they're like "Oh, we know who you are. Your suspicious moles and mysterious rashes are what pay for our vacation homes...that is, when you pay your bills on time." 

So once my derm gets their online bill system set up, I don't think I will have anymore medical practices that don't offer it. 

But let's talk about people. 

I happen to be in a position where I often collect money from people. The invention of PayPal and Venmo has made this AMAZINGLY easy. I have to collect money for teacher gifts, classroom supplies, coach gifts, bus driver gifts and sometimes just pizza for a group of people at the pool. 

I am getting to the point where I pretty much ONLY accept PayPal and Venmo. I don't want your cash. And I REALLY don't want your check. (Although BofA has made check depositing SO MUCH easier now that we can take a pic of it. Amazing. It blows my mind.) 

So now that I think about it, RECEIVING checks is not all that bad. I more just question a person who is under the age of 50 who doesn't have a PayPal or Venmo account. 

The worst is when I owe someone money and they don't take one of the above. If someone asks for a check, I say, "Seriously? You REALLY don't have a PayPal or Venmo?" And they say, "Um...don't those things charge fees?" And I'm all, "No. It's this super efficient and magical system in which friends pay each other for things. It is so much easier and faster. Also, if you are collecting money for a group gift, you will receive much more money than if you make everyone write checks." And then they say, "Um, could you just write me a check?" And I say, "Ok fine. I'll write you a check like this is 1997. Can I give it to you next time I see you?" And they're all, "You can just MAIL it to me." 

"Great," I say. "I will send it via snail mail right after I write the check, find an envelope, put it in the envelope with a paper around the check for security and a written explanation of what it is for, put a return address label on it from the Humane Society (you're getting an ugly cat one, btw), find a stamp which I may or may not have, put it in the mail, you should have your money in about 22 days." 

Then my hypothetical non-online-payment friend says, "Cool Beans. I'll send you an email when I receive it. What is your email address?" 

And I say, "" 

"Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!! You still use a Hotmail account?? Wow, it really is 1997!!!" 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Leo Spielberg

I remember seeing an interview with Steven Spielberg's mom once. I recall that the interviewer asked Ms. Spielberg if her son had shown an interest in movie-making when he was a kid. His mom nonchalantly responded with something like, "Oh, he sort of created things in the living room. I mean, he made a dolly to roll a camera on..."

The interviewer was like, "Um, I think if a kid makes a dolly and pretends to film movies in your living room, that's a sign he is pretty interested in filmmaking."

Now Leo has taken an interest in filmmaking. No, he hasn't made a dolly for a camera, He doesn't have to. He has an iPad. And it has an app. And he has created two movie trailers that are now sweeping the...cul de sac?

Gus asked him if he had turned his trailers into movies yet. Leo rolled his eyes and said, "No, Gus. I couldn't make a movie that quickly. Movies take HOURS to make."

Here is his first trailer:

And here is his second. Typical sequel, not quite up to the standards of the first. But that is to be expected. I mean, how could he top SUPER SMITTY?

I look forward to my interview one day. "Ms. Simcik, did Leo show an interest in movie making when he was a kid?" 

"Oh, I don't know. He used to follow our dog around and film him and create these elaborate movie trailers." 

"Um, all kids did that. They used apps and iPads. Your kid is not that special. Why am I even interviewing you?" 

"Because Super Smitty is the number one movie of 2034!!" 

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

A Hall of Butts

The conversation at dinner had me laughing so hard that I thought it worthy of posting here on my blog, which I see I have been neglecting for over three months. I am sick right now so laughing actually hurts but these boys had me in stitches. It went like this:

Leo and Gus were talking about the different types of drills they have at school--fire drills, tornado drills and intruder drills. (Btw, I asked them about intruder drills and they said they all cram into a closet and lock the door to the scary! Glad they didn't ask me why they needed to do intruder drills).

Gus: But tornado drills are the worst! You have to get down like this (crouches down, curls up and puts his hands over his head).

Leo: And the teachers don't have to do it! They just walk down the hall and our heads are all facing the wall so it is basically a HALL OF BUTTS.

(This is when I started giggling...which just encouraged them to go on).

Gus: And sometimes, people's pants come down a little bit when they're crouched like that so you can see their underwear. But you're crouched too so you actually can't see it.  (He gives a disappointed sigh.)

Leo: Well, sometimes I stand up to protest the torture and I DO see people's underwear!

Gus: You do???!!!!

Leo: Yes! And sometimes their pants come down so far you see a little bit of their butt cracks.

Gus: Like half their butt crack??

Leo: Sometimes it's like three-quarters of their butt crack! It's like a hall of butt cracks!

Then, as you can imagine, the two of them got really carried away and inappropriate and I had to shut it down.

But today, every time I think the phrase "it's like a hall of butts," I can't help but laugh.

Hmmm...maybe I need to get out more...

Or stop hanging out with my seven and ten year old boys.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Off the Grid

Remember how I told y'all that I was taking a break from Facebook? Well the break continues and I love every minute of it. Well, I don't LOVE every minute of every day. That would be something fake that someone might post on Facebook. But I do love life without social media. That's right. I don't Tweet anymore either. Not that I really was a big tweeter. Or that anyone ever read my tweets. But I liked to glance at the Twitter every now and then. Not anymore. The one thing I still pop onto is Insta. It's just pics and I can be insta on and then insta off. 

Sometimes I'll think, "I wonder what's going on with so and so" and I'm tempted to check Facebook but then I think, "Do I really care? Do I really need to keep up with so many people? It's exhausting." And sometimes I'll think, "It's my amazing child's birthday; I should post about it" and then I think, "Why do I need to post about that? I know it's his birthday. He knows it's his birthday. He doesn't even have a Facebook account. And honestly, he's really not all that amazing. I'm not sure I even love him to the moon and back.

This is what life off the grid looks like: 

When I'm in line at the grocery store, I read the magazines instead of my phone. I had missed "Stars they're just like Us!" 

If someone's bully, bratty kid wins an award for something like kindness, I don't have to be totally annoyed because I don't know about it. 

When I hold the plank (I'm up to 3 minutes, 20 seconds! Come on, I have nowhere else to brag about these things now!!) I don't look at social media anymore. I look at Zillow. 

I used to look at social media before going to sleep which would inevitably cause me to have strange dreams about random people from high school. Now I just have strange dreams about people I see in real life. 

Not only do I not really know what's going on with anyone else, but nobody knows what's going on with me. I'm like a woman of mystery. Did she go on a trip? There are no pictures. Does she work out? She didn't check in at the gym. Does she eat? There are no food pictures. Does she pack her kids' lunches? There are no boastful bento box pics. Does she have political views? She has no rants. And boy, would I like to know when it is her amazing kid's birthday!! 

It's kind of like being in the witness protection program. Except I keep the same name and look. And I'm really not in danger. Actually I am probably in less danger because people don't know when I am out of town. 

And since I'm not posting pics (except every now and then on my acquaintance Insta), I'll put a few of my precious children here and it's not even their birthdays! 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Summer 2018--Blink and you'll miss it!!

The summer is flying by! Or maybe it's just that the summer actually is comically short. These poor kids only get a few weeks off and then BAM it's middle of July and here come the back-to-school sales and school supply lists! As much as I enjoy them being in school for most of the day, I seriously feel bad for the dudes. Can we just HAVE JULY?? Come on!! Anyway, I wanted to give a quick recap of our summer so far, highlight-reel style:

  • Leo went to sleep away camp for a week. He had fun but he did very little sleeping, showering, changing his clothes or brushing his teeth. So next year we'll focus on hygiene a little more. This year was more about survival. 
  • We went to Pittsburgh to celebrate Nana's 90th birthday. Did a skit. 
  • The kids used their passports for the second time and went to Mexico for the second time. We loved our eco-friendly resort with water slides. Leo learned he loved snorkeling. Gus learned he loved ping pong. Frank and I learned that we love resorts with kids' clubs. Wait. We already knew that. 
  • Gus did swim team. Leo didn't. 
  • We had a fun 4th of July at a neighbor's house, complete with bouncies, a water slide, video games, a band (Frank was in it!) and fireworks. Oh, the best part--port o potties! 
  • We hung out at a lakehouse near Dallas so I could catch up with sorority sisters. We all developed a love for Jet Skis! 
  • The kids spent a week in Houston while Frank and I spent a glorious kid-free week back at home in Atlanta. I organized the pantry--highlight of my summer so far!! 
  • The kids flew from Houston to Atlanta by themselves! Leo's third time as an unaccompanied minor and Gus' first!! 
  • Oh, I almost forgot. Gus had a birthday this summer as he does every summer! His 7th. He did a joint party with his buddy Luke. And Frank had a birthday too! 
  • A few times this summer we have packed lunches for kids in our community who need them. The kids are best at decorating the bags and dropping snacks in, assembly-line style. 

And here is the photo evidence of our fast but fun summer! At press time, we have three weeks left which is sure to be filled with lots of pool time and ugh school supply shopping. But one week prior to the first day, we are checking out the new Great Wolf Lodge (just south of Atlanta!!) with friends.