Comfort in a Bagel

Mercury is not in retrograde.  I checked.  It will not be in retrograde until March 23rd.  So, be thankful: it’s just the Malcolm house spinning at a different pace than the rest of the world.

A rep from our wireless carrier called Bill and me while we were on top of a mountain in Park City.  It was extremely important that the individual knew how we would rate our service as improvements were being planned in our area.  I only answered the call because it wasn’t a number I recognized; I needed to be sure it wasn’t the ski patrol trying to reach me to set up a rendezvous point to meet one of those injury sleds being ushered down the mountain. 

Cell coverage at our house is a sore point with Bill and me.  We have anything but “mobile” phones when at home.  Remember the commercials asking “Can you hear me now?” as a person is swinging from a tree outside their home?  Bingo.  We did get a little gizmo to plug into an outlet in the living room; it’s supposed to throw the signal a bit farther within our house, but I still find that anchored by a window is the best place to get coverage on my mobile device.  Given this, we both paused longer than reasonable in the middle of our vacation to give the rep a piece of our mind.  Then came a texted pin number that the person wanted us to enter onto our phones.  Ugh... Scam.  The momentary relief of venting disappeared when I realized that.  We ignored the pins.

Over the last several days, more calls and more hang-ups from our carrier.  Then yesterday morning, the carrier sent emails and texts prompting me to click a link to check on an order I had placed.  I ignored them thinking the link would take me to a dark place.  With a congratulatory email last night saying that my account had been charged over $1,000 and that my new iPhone 10 was on its way, I decided to investigate. 

A half hour wait on the line resulted in a rep finally confirming that someone had accessed my account and ordered the upgrade – to be delivered to Union City, NJ.  She transferred me to the fraud department.  A 45-minute wait on the line.  I hung up.  I called the fraud number I found online.  Ten minutes later an international rep confirmed I needed to talk to the fraud department; she happily transferred me.  While waiting for twenty minutes, I called FedEx on the landline to stop the shipment. The next international carrier rep confirmed I needed to talk to the fraud department; she gladly transferred me.  Both asked if there was anything else they could help me with.  Obviously not.

I looked up the fraud number again.  Zip, bang, “Fraud department.”  The order was canceled.  Suggestions were made: change your passwords on all emails; update your pins on all accounts; set-up 2-step security where possible. 

This was at 9:45 p.m.  For those of you who don’t know me, I am not a night person.  However, what more could these yahoos do if I didn’t get some security in place immediately?  Mm-hmm.  I needed to be a night person last night.  That’s how I arrived at four different passwords as easy to remember as yabbadabbad00z1e44. Ah, but I needed caps: YaBBaDaBBaD00z1e44.  And a character.  YaBBaDaBBaD00z1e%44.  Bill will scream when he asks for the password to any monetary or email account.  Which reminds me, Amazon…

I cleared cookies and erased a login and a password that auto-filled on one email; I didn’t have those memorized.  My 2-step set up locked me out of my personal email on my phone.  My 4-digit pin numbers of years and random favorite numbers swam in my head.   My Google calendar app crashed on my phone.  (I seem to have  lot of free time today!)  Would I remember my third-grade teacher’s dog’s name? 

As I went along, love and respect for my carrier dwindled.  “Have you called FedEx to cancel your order?” prompted me to make that call.  But first I told him that it was his problem as someone had broken into their system to order under my name.  Then, it finally dawned on me.  I was experiencing identity theft.  I’m a slow thinker after 10 p.m.

I wanted to get the exact address of the anticipated delivery and send the police to arrest the guy.  Then, in court, I wanted to pull the guy’s ear and ask him if his mom knew what he was doing?  And ask him if he was this flipping smart, why didn’t he get a job?  I settled for FedEx intercepting the order and the carrier reversing the charges.  I can’t save the world after 11 p.m.

I woke up this morning to find an email from an online retailer telling me strange activity was found on my account.  I can’t remember when I last used that account.  This weasel will take some chasing.

Earlier in the day, the darnedest thing happened when I was parking at the mall.  I opened the door and a remnant gust from last week’s storm yanked the door open, whacking it against the rearview mirror of the car beside me.  I heard plastic break, but the other car had no damage.  The collision had broken my door handle.  If I pull the right hand broken piece, I can still get the door open.  I'm doing this very carefully so as to avoid stitches in my fingers.

The broken plastic on the left matches that on the right where I clipped the rear-view while reversing out of our garage to take Will to school a couple weeks ago.  Normally, I can maneuver that two-inch space between the mirror and garage frame quite nimbly, but I think I was talking to Will as I reversed that morning. That’s the weird story I thought I would be writing today.  Comparing my van to my phone, I can problem-solve fixing the van much easier than I can work out how to resolve black hole mysteries.

Early this morning, I pulled out the bread drawer and smiled when I saw this:

Finally, something predictable.  I found great comfort in that moldy bagel, much like a consistent mountain of laundry centers my being.