Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Wow, it's been an entire week since I've written a post.  Sitting here typing everything on my laptop makes me feel amazed that I wrote my trip posts with my tiny cell phone.  I guess that means that I should pick up the pace with my posts now that I'm back.

A lot has happened in the last 8 days...

Wednesday and Thursday of last week, I flew to Philadelphia (and back) to see a few friends.  While I was there, I stopped by Macy's to pick up a dress.  When the cashier ran my credit card, that's when the fun began.

My credit card gave a message saying to call them.  So, the Macy's employee called them.  They asked her to read out my credit card # over the phone and then after getting a few other personal details about me, they asked that I call them directly.

I stepped out of line and picked up the phone to call Visa.  First, Visa asked that I read out my credit card # - 4 times.  They weren't able to hear me the first time, the second time their computer crashed, they couldn't quite hear the third time, and the fourth they got it.  Then, I had to provide my home phone number, my home address, the last four of my SSN, and my mother's maiden name.  If anyone at Macy's ever wanted to open a Visa card in my name, this was definitely the time to listen in.

At first, the rep said he wasn't able to help me because another rep was calling me at the same time and was also accessing my data in the computer at the same time.  I had to wait for a few minutes for him to ask the other rep to give him access to my account.

After verifying all of my information and getting access to my account, the Visa rep (who sounded like he was an excited detective who had just solved his first case) said, "You will never believe this! A charge just came through to your card from someone at a Macy's in Philadelphia!"  Below is the conversation that followed (modified slightly for the sake of storytelling):
Me: Yes, I'm in Philadelphia.  I'm trying to buy a dress.
Visa: But, this charge is from Philadelphia!
Me: Yes, I'm in Philadelphia. I'm at Macy's.
Visa: But, there's also a charge from NORTH CAROLINA!
Me: Yes, that was my lunch.  I had a layover in Charlotte.  Is it about $12?
Visa: Well, yes. But, North Carolina?
Me: Yes, I had a layover on my way to Philadelphia.
Visa: Well, how long will you be there?
Me: Until tomorrow. I'm flying back through North Carolina again on the way.
Visa: Well, there's also a charge from 1-800-flowers!  And it's only for $0.99!  That must be something.
Me: Those are Mother's Day flowers.  I don't know why I was only charged $0.99 so far, but I placed an order before I left for the aiport.
Visa: And there's a payment for another website!
Me: Listen, I'm at Macy's. I'm at the cashier and I'm trying to buy this dress.  Could you please just remove the hold on the account? It's me.
Visa: Oh, yes.  Okay, the charge should go through now.

So the cashier ran the card again and it worked.  Then, I walked to another section of the store to pick up a camisole and the cashier there received the same message.  I tried a different credit card and it worked.  The first ordeal took about 45 minutes and I just didn't have time to go through it again.  Luckily, the card has been working just fine since then.  Ironically, Visa never tried to shut down my card during my trip around the world.  They knew that I was traveling then (and not to Philly), but I would think that my big trip was much more suspicious than a little one within the US.


Anyway, I made it back safely to Memphis on Thursday night.  I sat next to one of those people on the flight (who are inevitably male I hate to say) that tries to dominate the seat area by spreading their legs wide to allow their feet into your space.  They also hang their arms over the armrest to allow them to be inside your chair's space.  I'm very good at staying within my space, but this behavior from another passenger really makes my blood boil.  I think these men are often trying to make a point that the seats are too small for them.  But I've got news.  My legs are longer than any man I've ever met.  Even a man who is 6'4" will typically have shorter legs than me.  I'm cramped too.  So keep them inside your own area.  It's rude and disrespectful.

Off my soap box...


Friday, I spent recovering from the day before. I took the day slow and casuel.  Around 7 PM, I drove to Bridges (a local Memphis non-profit) to check out their climbing wall.  A handful of friends went to go climbing, and despite my exhaustion, I was willing to give it a shot.  Luckily for me, I was able to see folks without climb.  They had just finished when I arrived.  I was able to hug AnnMarie and then head home for a relaxing night on the couch.


Saturday was much more exciting.  There were so many different choices of things to do that I almost didn't do anything. It was just too hard to decide!  In the morning, I stopped by the Memphis Farmer's Market.  I had eaten up all of my meat before I left town, so I restocked on different meats from West Wind Farms.  I also got some strawberries, wheat bread, coconut popsicles, and a few other things.  Later in the day, I made the strawberries into ice cream and the bread into BLTs (along with lettuce from my garden and bacon from another local farm).

Saturday night, I received a text from a friend who is visiting from Singapore.  He had an extra ticket to a wine auction at the Brooks Museum.  I immediately agreed to go and quickly switched from my sweats to a nice dress.  When I arrived at the Brooks, I met my friend and two of his friends.  They were two Norwegians who own a vodka company.  They are taking a road trip around the US to promote their vodka brand, Heavy Water.  Here's their website:

The wine auction was really fun, although a little different than most fundraisers I've been to in Memphis.  When we walked in, there were brownies and tiny pieces of duck to nibble on.  At our table, there was a big picnic basket of food.  It included cheeses, bread, crackers, salami, olives, and more.  But, everything was still in the package, so it was like a group project to get everything out and on plates.  We only had 5 people at our 10 person table, so the basket of food was enough to fill everyone up.  Just when I started to get full, a giant plate of hamburgers and hotdogs arrived.  It was probably enough to serve 20 hungry people, and we were just 5 pretty full people.  But, being a team player, I ate a hot dog.  Then two baskets of fries showed up.  I ate all these and felt very full.  About 20 minutes later, the staff brought us new plates.  Then, more food.  First, it was collard greens, then potatoes, and then a giant meatloaf.  By this time, we started to refuse the food.  It was just too much and a bit overwhelming.  For dessert, we had what appeared to be Muddy's cupcakes and more brownies.

And did I mention that there were about 5 or 6 bottles of unopened wine on the table for us to try?  We tried quite a few of the wines and they were all tasty.  A winemaker from Oregon sat next to me, and during the dinner, he would occasionally bring back other glasses of wine to try.  I think that in all, he probably brought back 4 different kinds.  The highlight for me was a wine that was bottled in my birth year.  I don't think I've ever had a wine that was bottled in my own birth year.  It was pretty cool!  All in all, the event was a lot of fun and a very good use of my Saturday night.


To keep things interesting, I'm going to continue this update on another post.

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