In recent months, two friends have told me they used to pay their bills online but they’ve stopped and gone back to snail mail.

I was completely taken aback when the first friend mentioned this. He said he had recently completed getting all of his accounts offline and he was so glad it was over. He said paying bills online had been one problem after another.

So I wasn’t as surprised when another friend said the same thing awhile later but still some surprised. Was this a new trend?

I’ve never gotten organized enough to pay my bills online but I’ve assumed I should. I ought to at least get non-bills – regular account statements – online to save the hassle of extra mail and paper to file or toss. It’s on my mind, so when I bought an iPhone last fall and had to open an online account with my phone carrier in order to set it up, I almost starting paying my monthly phone bill online right there. But there was some trouble with their website and, just as I expected, after about ten minutes I had no phone service at all. So I figured I’d wait on paying the phone bill online — Let’s just let them screw up my phone service today, they can screw up my bill another time.

It was still on my mind a week later when I noticed an envelope on the floor under my desk. It was a utility bill. It was due the next day. I decided to see if I could pay it online right then. I could. But I had to open an online account. So while I was at it, I set it up to pay online every month. Of the choices available, I picked the one where they send me the bill by email and then I click in the email to go to their website and pay the bill online by credit card. I chose this over giving them my bank account info and paying automatically. I figured this way I’d be more likely to look at the bill and see that it made sense.

I felt good about getting one account setup, thinking it would get me rolling on going online with all my bills. But I was busy for awhile and then the holidays were coming and…ya know?

However this procrastination has caused me to think more about what my friends said and what I know now, first hand. For the past few months, this has been my online bill paying experience…

Each month, like clockwork, on or about the 13th of the month, my wife receives an email from this utility company telling her that our bill is past due. And each month she comes home that night and asks if I’ve paid the bill. And each month I try to remember exactly what the hell happened the last time I visited their clunky website – because every visit involves making multiple attempts at whatever it is you are trying to do and trying to remember one month later exactly what you were able to accomplish – and how you found a way to do it when the way they tell you to do it didn’t work over and over again…and now, a month later, I log back in, after looking up the password – “Why doesn’t it remember the password?” – and clunking around looking to find the status of my bill…and in the end finding that I’d done this for no reason at all!…


Each month, like clockwork, on or about the 13th of the month, my wife receives an email from this utility company telling her that our bill is past due. And each month she comes home that night and asks if I’ve paid the bill. And now each month I remember to do nothing…


Each month, like clockwork, one or two days after my wife receives an email from this utility company telling her that our bill is past due, I receive an email from this utility company presenting me with my new bill. Which is current and payable thirty days later.

We have at no time been past due. But this company hassles us every month. Like clockwork.

…for the past few months, this has been my online bill paying experience.

It’s the 21st century. I expect everything to work. I should know better. But it’s the 21st century.

It took a few months to get used to the fact that I should ignore a notice that my bill is past due. Remember to ignore that notice. Check. However, I’m not so naive that I’m stupid enough to contact them and try to straighten this out. I know a waste of time when I see one.

How many of these situations do I want to have? I know it’s not going to be the only one. Remember that Bob Dylan song, “Everything Is Broken?”

When I add my own limited experience to my friends telling me they’ve stopped paying their bills online, I start to wonder…should I pay all my bills online or should I quit while I’m behind?


Is Max A Lap Cat?

Today I was asked, “Is Max a lap cat?”

In the broad sense, yes. He will curl up in your lap if necessary but he prefers that you put your feet up and he stretches out over your legs…which are preferably covered with a blanket.

He will let me hold him in my arms, standing or sitting up – but not sitting back, no! This can go on for five to ten minutes…or twenty if he falls asleep.

No one else may hold him in their arms. Except for Diane but only on rare occasions and for no more than 30 seconds.

Note: Holding an 11-pound cat for twenty minutes while standing, is not recommended.

“We don’t care, we don’t have to…”

i was saying earlier that once my iPhone arrives, in less than ten minutes i expect to have no phone service at all.

my friend laughed as if i’d made a joke. i’d call him now to say i told you so but i have no phone service.

Phone Co. Website: To activate your new phone, Click Here.
Me: clicks
Website: We will now send you a Text Message with a one-time code. Enter the code on our website and your phone will be activated. What phone should we text it to?
Me: The one you just deactivated, numb nuts.

i hate technology

one step forward, two steps back…

today i upgrade my phone
tonight my PC is out of order
maybe a virus. dunno, never had a virus before

so i had to get the laptop out of its box in the closet where it’s been sitting since February
then i had to begin updating every program i needed to use
numerous projects are now on hold indefinitely
tomorrow i’ll call or email somebody

i hate technology

The Fenway Experience

I went down to Boston for Wednesday afternoon’s Red Sox game. It was an awful game. Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner even said so on the radio.

But it was not an awful day. It was a nice September day at the ballpark.

This morning in my email, I had a note from the Red Sox management, thanking me for attending the game. The Red Sox management is very thoughtful.

They also asked for my opinion. They wanted to know all about my “Fenway experience.” I clicked all the buttons for all the survey questions and I gave them high marks for everything from the cleanliness of the ballpark to the friendliness of the staff to the wait time at the concession stands to the quality of their “entertainment” program.

High marks all the way through.

They do a good job.

But they did ask for additional comment about their entertainment program – which I repeat, I gave very high marks to for the quality of its individual elements – and so I took the opportunity to assess not the elements but the whole…

“i’m there for baseball, i don’t care about the entertainment bells and whistles. i do wish there were fewer of them and it was not a constant barrage of stuff from the moment i take my seat. but other than the number of items on your program, i won’t complain. your program of non-baseball stuff is carried out in a way that is not annoying – i love the Celtics but i don’t like going to their games because the “entertainment” portions are overly loud. i’m a middle-aged guy who has no problem watching beautiful women dance but i can’t wait for the Celtics Dancers to sit down and get out of the way of the game…and get out of the way of the downtime in the game. it’s not just the players who need time outs, the fans need breaks too. the Celtics DEMAND my attention and FORCE their show on me. at Fenway, i do not feel that i am under attack. However, you do cram in so many pre-game promotions and presentations that it becomes very easy to tune it all out. i know you are trying to make those individuals happy and i know that is good business. but it’s bad business to present it in a manner that causes the audience to ignore it. You just can’t do EVERYTHING. well, you can – you do – but it doesn’t work. it can’t. it becomes one big giant mishmosh of stuff that we have no idea what it is because we’re not actually paying attention. sure, we want to applaud the little kids and the valiant war vets that you honor…but we don’t know who we are suddenly applauding because there were so many others we weren’t listening to any of it. it really borders on being a disservice to the people you are trying to honor. and finally, you have taken away completely the most wonderful part of entering the ballpark early: the quiet, interrupted by the sound of batting practice hits and catches and the sheer wonder of Fenway itself. i know you do realize how special Fenway is and you have absolutely made it a better experience. but you were doing a better job of that before you ramped it up this high. i mean, i love ice cream but i don’t want you to bring me a new dish of it every minute for a whole hour. that’s too much of a good thing. which turns out to be a bad thing.”

The Storm

water coming in through the windows in the den and bathroom, the ones under the gutters, between 10 and midnight. gutters have just been cleaned too. i think they need to be reset, realigned. towels used to soak up the water. towels on the floor in the den and the bathroom, towels in the window sills. towels in the dryer (next to the bedroom where Diane is sleeping i hope) so there will be more towels for the next shift when heavy wet towels are grabbed up and brought into the bathroom and thrown into the tub. dry towels into the window sills again, “Is this floor still wet? Hmmm. This rug is going to have to go outside tomorrow.” wet towels from the tub get wrung a bit, doesn’t help much but i do it anyway, and into the dryer they go.

sump pump started running about 10p. kicking in every minute, runs 20 secs or so.

if i didn’t know better, i’d have thought i was hearing the ocean at high tide. but it was sheets – no, waves of rain hitting my house. constantly for over two hours. then it stopped for awhile and then did it some more.

been monitoring the cellar since about suppertime. first sign of wet floor was around 7p…but only the two spots i knew to check first. but just wet in those two places, small. considering its been raining all day, could be worse. probably will be.

by 2a, about 1/3 of the floor was wet. the floor is uneven, so there’s probably an inch of water in a couple spots. we have everything off the floor because we’ve had two other serious rainstorms in the two years we’ve been here. so we know. but this one is a new record, they say.

had one good laugh (may not translate): with water in the cellar, I had to bring the litter box upstairs and then close the cellar off to the little furry boy. when i shut the cellar door, Max went running down the hall like there was no tomorrow.

i always close that door (his escape route) when it’s time for his medicine.

and now at 4a…sleep.

man, i am not used to being awake all night anymore. i’m gonna be hurtin’ tomorrow.

oh, that’s actually today, isn’t it?

Family Alert – the email about Saturday was supposed to go out last night. but i’ve been busy. 12:30. details to come.

Teddy, don’t call early.

have a day.


Related Link:

Record Rain Storm Causes Life-Threatening Flooding, Power Outages in Southern Maine