Sometimes I feel as though I'm surrounded by stupid. It's not exactly fun, but it is always funny...just be glad it's happening to me, not you.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Househunting Hell

So what did you guys do this weekend? I spent mine moving from my house on Andrews Air Force Base to a house in Woodbridge, VA. I spent weeks searching out the perfect rental home...and then I gave up on perfect and settled on "livable." I found a pretty liveable place, but the road there was bumpy...and funny. And at times really, really gross.

I started my search,, really didn't find much. The few places that looked promising were quickly rented out before I could even get a call in to the landlord. I went on a several walk-throughs, but most ended in disappointment and a strong smell of old lady and cat. One, however, ended with meeting the greatest person on the planet, Morgan. She is the best freakin' realtor out there, and not only because she put up with my crazy schedule, bank issues (see last post), and taking me to see a gazillion homes.

We saw a house full of dead flies. We saw a house with a nightclub-esque basement, complete with mirrored shelves and strange lights and trendy exposed plywood. We saw toilets sitting in the middle of living rooms, questionable paint colors, mirrored walls, teal wall-to-wall carpet, a window cling sticker of the Pope (who surprised us when we opened the blinds to check out a backyard) , mint green bathroom tile, and--my personal favorite--a life-sized mural of The Last Supper painted directly onto a dining room wall.

Some houses were still occupied. We saw scarily-dirty ones that we didn't even look through...though some we checked out just to see how bad they were. One house looked nicely set up until we tried to open the closets...only to find they were jammed so full of junk that the doors couldn't slide open. At more than one house we saw the outside and we split. House-hunting can be downright scary!

For example, we had the crap scared out of us at a townhouse in Woodbridge. Morgan got the key from the lockbox and was unlocking the door when it suddenly opened from the inside, Morgan's hand still outstretched as the knob was taken right out of it. We both jumped about a mile and needed a few deep breaths before we noticed a very nice man stood in the doorway smiling at us. Apparently this place was still occupied...the listing lied! Luckily the tenant had had this happen before and let us in to look around and even answered some questions for us. But Morgan knocked on most doors after that one, just in case...

I did finally settle on a nice little townhouse in Woodbridge. The moving-in is a story for another day that's still just Tuesday (or maybe a Thursday, if my internet gets hooked up!).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Is it still Thursday?

"Hi, I'd like to close my accounts."
"Oh, we'll be sad to see you go! Are you sure you want to close? If there's a problem we could fix it for you!"

My problem is that I opened an account at Dumb & Dumber Bank. I recently moved to the DC area and figured using a local bank was a good idea, since the two other banks I used were kind of inconvenient (one being in Massachusetts and the other about to be closed due to my upcoming divorce). I figured wrong.

My first clue that this was trouble was watching the banker struggle to figure out how to put me in the computer because I'm a Massachusetts resident living in Maryland. It took two other bankers to help him enter my information into their system. I have lived in 5 states in the 5 years since leaving Massachusetts to pursue a life of Navy Wifedom and not one person has ever had trouble with that concept. Apparently that 20 minute chat about residency and the military lifestyle went in Mr. Banker's left ear and straight out the right one, because my debit card was mailed to Massachusetts...maybe. I waited a card.

Well, I gave Dumb & Dumber a call and found out what was up, changed my address, and got a new card sent out to me pronto. And what did that card say?

That's not exactly right. It's Carbone-Kubacki. This did clear up some confusion I had over why a teller couldn't find my account one day when I went to deposit a check...she had been spelling my name correctly in her search. Silly her!

So another phone call and another card later and I get this:

Really, guys? My name is so long it doesn't fit on most cards, which is why other businesses are smart enough to just use my middle initial. One bank has actually shortened it to "A M Carbone-Kubacki," which was pretty smart.

Name troubles aside, this bank is still incompetent. Last week I spent half an hour explaining to two tellers that I needed cashier's checks for a house I was planning to rent. I transferred money from Haverhill Bank to Dumb & Dumber Bank and was assured it would clear by midnight, and I could have my checks the next morning. I showed up the next morning, filled out the paperwork, signed some things, and then had a manager come out and tell me (in front of several other customers, embarrassingly enough) that I didn't have the funds to complete that transaction. Excuse me? I checked online before I left my house, the funds were cleared.
"They're pending, ma'am." She said.
"Why doesn't it say 'pending,' then?" I asked.
"The funds are available for your use, but they're not really there yet. If you want to write a personal check or use your debit card, you can."
Lady, if I could write a personal check do you think I would have come down here first thing in the morning asking for cashier's checks two days in a row? OK, OK, I'll be nice...
"Thanks,but I need certified funds, so when will my money be really and truly cleared?"
"In 3-5 days."

Three days later I emailed Dumb & Dumber Bank, asking if my funds were really, officially, truly cleared. Here's the reply I got:

Dear Ms. Carbone-Kubacki:

Thank you for using our Online Banking Message center, and regards to your question , as soon you realized a ATM deposit you can have a hold on your funds up to 24hrs or 2 business days , but in this particular case your funds are available for you to use.

Please let me know if you have any questions it will be my pleasure to help you.
Sincerely yours,
Bob the Banker

What does that even mean?

I gave up. I closed my accounts this morning. I tried really hard to be nice. The third time they asked me why I was closing my accounts I told them I didn't want to discuss it in front of the other customers. The fourth time I was asked what the problem was I rolled my eyes, took a deep breath, and...
"Grab a mirror! As soon as I walk in those doors," I cried, pointing for dramatic emphasis! "I feel surrounded by stupid. I am on my third debit card in two months and would need a fourth if I were to keep my account. I lost out on a house I wanted to rent, I've been unable to deposit checks because my name has been spelled wrong and not changed despite being told it was changed...Oh, and it's easier to use a bank 470 miles away that I can't even go to in-person. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to close those accounts now."

From there it only took about 5 minutes to close up and cash out; it's the one transaction that went smoothly.