Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Quiet Time

I suddenly have found myself in the middle of "quiet time" which should be noted with a degree of caution because I have no idea what silence is going to do to my thought process mechanisms.

Amy is sleeping - awaiting word from one of her doctors on how to treat the bulging disc in her back. John' is still at school and Erin (our former roommate) took our other two newest roommates to a local college to help Ana with the admissions process. Erin, being a recent college student and highly organized, saw this as a task that she might be able to help facilitate - bless that girl - if we could only brainwash her into moving back in...we'd find the room. Okay I'll be truthful, we'd rely on Erin's organizational gene to figure out how to make room.

In any case, suddenly I realize I have had a nice nap, the dogs are inside happily sleeping in the air conditioning - Fall in south Texas lasts about 9 hours during one day in October or November then Winter arrives - because it's like 111 degrees outside which is only a slight exaggeration...and it's quiet.

With five people and three dogs living here these days, the quiet moments are few...heck when I got up to go to work this morning (at 1:30 a.m.) John' came downstairs to talk. The net result of that conversation was a new household rule on the consumption of caffeinated beverages - the rule doesn't apply to coffee addicts - but it certainly does to 13 year olds who have to be ready for school at 6:40 in the morning.

I really don't have any specific topic to write about today, but I didn't want to waste these quiet moments. I guess I could update folks on a few things: I finally did contact a real person at NetFlix who was very nice and promised that my name was not going to end up on a blacklist because of the various problems I had reported with missing or wrong movies. She actually knocked off 25 percent of next month's bill, and laughed hysterically when I mentioned I was thinking of trying to sell the phone number for NetFlix customer support on Ebay since it's impossible to find on their website (I'm still thinking seriously about doing that by the way). I spoke to her while driving home yesterday and of course as soon as the mail arrived all of the missing movies were there, along with replacements sent by NetFlix.

For those of you who have been bored enough to follow the financial trials and tribulations of the Main household over the past couple of years I'll pass along another number - this one has no potential value on Ebay - 708. That is my current "credit score" which is the first time we've broken the 700 barrier since I started watching our credit card companies like a hawk. I believe I already mentioned that Chase finally backed down and admitted they repeatedly lied about the interest rate they had promised me versus what they were charging. Today I got our first Chase bill since that letter of admission arrived and it shows they're actually abiding by their word, which is very cool. Unfortunately the bill arrived today but it was yesterday when Chase sent me a customer satisfaction survey asking my thoughts on how our recent issues were handled. I won't go into too much detail other than to say I essentially told them since I hadn't seen a new credit card bill yet I couldn't believe them due to their documented history of lying and their "Michael Main score" was still sub par with a lot of room for improvement. I was tempted to offer them the opportunity to get monthly updates on their "Michael Main score" for a small fee, but I didn't think they'd see the humor.

In case anyone is curious and since I'm rambling anyway, I didn't pay to find out our credit score. One of our credit cards provides that information for free which is the only reason I keep that card.

That leads me to remind anyone who might not be aware that you are now legally entitled to a free copy of your credit report - a really free one with no strings attached - from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. It's a fairly new law and you can take advantage of it once yearly. The best place to start is at

It won't reveal your credit score, but it was amazing all the wrong or outdated stuff I found on mine...Amy's was pretty wacky too - yes, anyone with credit in your household is entitled to a separate report even if there are shared credit cards, bank loans, whatever. For the identity theft paranoid, it's an excellent way to keep tabs on credit cards being issued in your name. I should also mention that you don't have to get all three reports at once - you can get one from Experian...then 3 or 4 months later get one from Transunion...then a few months after that get one from Equifax.

Okay there must be something more fun to write about - I'd hate to wrap this up sounding like someone who actually had financial sense...

Oh, I know!

We've all heard of bear hugs, but have you heard about bear kissing?

Pucker up!

The Discovery Wildlife Park in Alberta, Canada offers visitors the opportunity to kiss various bears. Really.
People pay good money to do it.
Sober people.

Of course now that I think about it, I'll bet there is a lot of quiet time there too...probably a lot of prayers being said as well.

Maybe I'm not giving bear kissing enough credit.

8 p.m. update
P.S. - To the "Loving Heart" who left the early/late "birthday" gifts for Ana on our doorstep tonight while we were at church, thank you. Ana is certain I know the identity of the gift giver, so I had to explain to her that there are so many loving people I wouldn't know where to begin.

Thank you for that too.