Dear BofA,

By the time you read these lines, I’ll be gone.

Now that that song is effectively stuck in your head, allow me to continue. Bank of America, I’m breaking up with you. It’s not me. It’s you. Sure we had some good times. Lots of good times. Remember all those good times? You were my first bank when I opened my very first savings account in 1996. I thought I was big stuff then, all official with my bank book and everything. In 15 years, you were the only bank I used. Well, that’s not completely true. But I had to open up that local Comerica account so I could pay my bills while I was in college. They wouldn’t take an out-of-state check! You know this!

Things were going really well. I never had to worry about finding a BofA ATM because there was always one nearby. And I loved how you started the “Keep the Change” savings program because then it made it so much easier to balance my checkbook since I could just round up the numbers for all my debit card purchases, and there was a lot since I became too lazy to go to the ATM whenever I needed cash. Easy peasy. Oh, and did I mention the 8% interest rate I had on my credit card? You were, in a word: awesome.

But then, then you started to change. First, you raised the interest rate on my credit card. It was a slight increase, but one where you didn’t really give me much say in. Basically, I had to accept it or cancel my card. That was harsh, and I wasn’t pleased. Especially after you admitted I wasn’t the kind of customer you like because I paid my balance off every month and you didn’t make very much money off of me if any. You even said I shouldn’t worry about the increase because it’s really only a couple dollars worth of interest in the off chance that I do keep a balance.

But the principle! There was no real reason to increase my rate simply because other people were defaulting on their payments. I tried to fight it but eventually just accepted it. It took some time but we finally worked out our differences and moved on. And then, then you started charging my account without notifying me. For three months you charged an account fee without every once notifying me that I was no longer meeting the basic requirements of my free account and would be charged. It wasn’t until I noticed my checkbook wasn’t matching what my balance said online that I found out what was happening. I wasn’t able to recoup the fees but was able to switch my account type to hopefully avoid future fees. That was annoying.

And yet, I stayed. I was otherwise happy with you and the perks of being your customer. You made everything so simple.

Then this happened. Imagine my surprise and horror when I heard you would be charging me $5 a month to use my debit card. $5 a month? To spend my money? My own money?! That was outrageous. It was stupid. It was the last straw.

Bank of America, this is it. There’s not talking yourself out of this situation (trust me, one of your bankers already tried). I’m tired of being nickeled and dimed like this and having to take it. I know you think $5 a month is a nominal fee and I should just make sure to carry cash instead of reaching for the debit card, but why should I pay for the convenience of spending my money the way I want? Methinks I shouldn’t.

And you know what? I don’t have to accept this. You might not hear me complaining on Twitter or even on this blog, but I know how to reach you in a convincing way: I closed my accounts and joined a Credit Union. Not only can I now go to a branch to do my banking without incurring a fee (something I wasn’t able to do with my other account, though admittedly I can count on one hand the number of times I actually went to the bank in person), but I also have access to a whole network of Credit Union ATMs without any surcharges, and I get to use my debit card for free as well. Oh, and did I mention that I’m now earning interest on my checking account? Because I am. Isn’t that all kinds of awesome?

So thank you, Bank of America, for finally getting me to realize that I do have a say in how and with whom I choose to bank with. I don’t need to jump through a bunch of hoops and oh how wonderful this realization feels.

It was a great 15 years but every good thing must come to an end eventually right? Hope the $60 was worth losing another customer.

Smell you later forever,

Me

Dear blog,

I miss you. Really I do. At the moment, I’m doing battle with my term paper [well, not actually right this VERY moment, since I'm obviously using you to distract from that hot piece of mess]. You know the one I should have started a month ago but didn’t? No, not that one. No, not that one either. The other one. No…okay, okay. I do this A LOT.

But I’m going into the last week of school [FOREVER!] and things should start to settle down a bit soon. Just hang in there. I’ll be back soon. I promise.

No, this time I’m for real. Okay, so you’ve heard it all before. Just be happy I come back at all.

Wait, I didn’t mean it like that.

Dear Kotex,

Your recent marketing blitz for your newly redesigned product really caught my attention. I always appreciate the value of a rebranding campaign, as I am a little bit of a marketing nerd, and I love breaking them down but I must say that I almost fell for yours. Almost.

Your concerted effort to make your target market aware of the ridiculousness and almost cookie-cutter like propagated by other tampon commercials made me laugh, think, and notice these visual signatures in your competitors’ commercials. A bit of an a-ha moment.

But upon further investigation thanks to the promotional pack that was sent to me, I was disappointed to find that this slick rebranding effort resulted in nothing more than brightly colored packaging. And I love good packaging [hehe]. The product is obviously still the same: the liners worked like normal, I didn’t like the regular pads, and the little tampons that I was excited for because they were compact [great for secreting away into the bathroom] were very disappointing. If you slide the plunger even a millimeter too far, it falls completely out and then you’re left fumbling with the applicator. So in essence, the neon colors did not make up for the overall product dissatisfaction. Fail.

Now, I know the greater good is for “empowering girls and women to take control of their health and bodies” which is a noble and fantastic goal, especially so for the young girls who are beginning their periods and are completely awkward about the whole thing, but really? You couldn’t do this without the brightly colored wrapping paper? And did you focus so much on the packaging that you failed to make sure your product stood up to practical use?

Look, I understand the power in embracing being a woman and all that it entails and I know having my period every month is not a big deal. It happens, big whoop [it would be a bigger whoop if it didn't happen]. But that doesn’t mean I want to broadcast the fact that I’m on my period to the world every time I need to make a change. Seriously. Especially not as a teenager.

I was awkward enough dealing with the whole period thing in junior high and high school [yes, it took me a while to come to terms with it] and there is no way I would have wanted to use a product that draws attention to itself because it’s brightly wrapped like candy. It screams “Look at me! I’M ON MY PERIOD!! I’M BLEEEEEEEEEDING!” I don’t want that. I want to be able to discreetly handle my business. No need letting everyone else know. I’ve never been the type of person who openly complained about the effects of my period [mainly because I don't have many that are newsworthy] because why would I want people to know? Why would people want to know?

Wanna know what helped me? Going grocery shopping with boys in college. There was no way around it. I had to buy the stuff so I owned it. And it didn’t involve anything brightly colored. Thank goodness. But I don’t fully knock your effort. It’s definitely novel and gets us talking [look at me, I'm talking about my period on my blog! Say what?!] but the florescent colors are just not my style. I’d rather use a product I can trust that isn’t fantastically packaged than a smartly packaged mediocre product.

Sincerely,

Me

Dear boys that came before,

Hi. I know it’s been years since we last seen or talk to each other. I guess this is kind of an anti-Valentine, or un-Valentine to you, but I don’t wish ill on any of you for anything that’s happen. I actually want to thank you for all that happened. It’s taken me a while to get to a point and think back to my past relationships and understand the lessons that were embedded in each encounter. You know what they say about hindsight and getting wiser with age and stuff.

But I just wanted to take the time to say thank you for everything you did. I know most of it was pretty crappy and I was pretty much left in tears after almost every experience [save for one] but it was all for the best. No really, it was. I’m a better person, I know it’s completely cliche, but it’s true.

So to the boys in high school: you were only the start of my boy crazed days, where I had a new crush roughly every school quarter. You taught me to have the courage to actually stand up and say, I like you, and own my feelings and not just sit around and be some giggly mess.

Oh, and to the other boy in high school with the crazy jealous girlfriend: thank you for that extra drama. Because you didn’t tell her the truth about your dating past, I had to learn how to deal with someone hating me for no other reason than the fact that I existed. From you, I learned how deal diplomatically with this person and the artful skill of putting someone in their place without so much as raising my voice. Just like in the movies! It was awesome. Plus it was a hilarious story that played out for weeks in my favor so again, thank you!

To the mixed boy: thank you for showing me that I am a desirable person and could be more than just the “friend” or the “sister.” But I also learned that there are just some things that you can’t overlook; there are some core values that, no matter how you try to downplay it, they will always be a big deal. We would have worked well together on the surface but there were so many important things that we did not see eye to eye on that it would have ultimately been disastrous, so thank you for breaking my heart when you did and not waiting. I didn’t understand it at the time [and told you as much] but I see the value in the early exit.

To the boy…oh goodness, this boy. Let’s just leave it at that. To that guy: I’m not really sure why we even happened. I know I was kind of in a weird place but I don’t even know what was really going on there. Anywho, what happened, happened and there were some nice lessons to be had from that experience. Thank you for making me feel so stupid about what I was doing that I vowed never to do that again. I know even now when I think about it, I cringe and shake my head because it was such a dumb thing to do. We’re all granted at least one “what was I thinking?!” moment and you were it. Thanks for showing me that I suck at playing “the game” and that I should never ever try to do that again. Also, I should never lower myself and my standards; they are high for a reason. I need those standards and I will never abandon them again.

From my dealings with you all, I learned that I there was someone out there best suited for me. That part of my life was supposed to be spent trying on all the wrong things just so I knew what the right thing would feel like. You gave me the motivation to keep searching for the right man, holding onto the hope that I deserved love and that I would one day find it. And when I did find it, I would do everything in my power to make sure I kept it.

So thank you for being so wrong for me that I was able to find the guy that was so right for me.

Signed,

Me

My dearest blog,

Hi dear friend. How are you doing? What have you been up to? Okay, okay, I know I would know that answer if I were a much regular poster like I used to be but I do think about you. A lot. And I do miss writing. Really, I do. I even checked in practically every day and you look good. Really, you do.

I know what you’re thinking: I come here all happy, talking about how things are going to change and things are good for a few weeks and then I disappear. And then you get your pretty dress taken from you and given pauper robes. I know, it’s not fair and I’ll see when we can pretty you back up again.

There is so much to catch you up on. It’s been almost four weeks and I’m still working out about three times a week. I know! I’m just as shocked as you are. And I’ve been cooking! I’ve made a Caribbean seasoned steak [next time I'll stick to the salt and pepper seasoning. Can't go wrong with that], an insanely easy tomato sauce, a homemade chicken pot pie and a turkey burger with oven fries. I even made my own breadcrumbs. Yeah, I know. All kinds of crazy.

I celebrated Jacki’s 29th and jumped around to the fabulous Wonderbread 5. There are even pictures [taken by the band]!

[source]

I started school again this month and I’m having a pretty good time. I have the same professors that I had over the summer, both of whom I enjoy though there will be a lot of work I’ll have to do. I have to write two research projects but as daunting as they both sound, I’m kind of excited by the proposition. There, I said it. I’m a nerd.

I also went shopping for this cute sweater that made me feel not so cute. And sad because I really wanted to buy it but that button looked like it was holding on for dear life. Oh why do you have to be so mean, green sweater?! What the heck did I do to you besides want you?

What else, what else. Oh! I still need to tell you about the weirdness and fun of interviewing for a new position at your old job. It was fun and quite possibly my best interview to date but…well, I’ll save that story for another day. And the fun of going to the employment office you formerly worked at to learn about the services they provide. Yup, say it with me, fun. And the fun in job hunting.

And you know the bf will be here in a few short days! So…that’ll mean I’ll be away for a bit but I promise I’ll return. And if it makes you feel any better, I always neglected the weddening blog as well.

Anywho, I hope you accept my apology for being such a lame blog owner this month. I hope you will forgive me.

Love,

Me

Dear State of California,

I love you. A lot. I spent the majority of my life here and I’ve been very blessed, to say the least. I ski your slopes, surf your waves, cruise your highways and byways, and relish the warm, balmy weather. And because I love you so much, I feel like I can tell you this honestly, even though it hurts to say.

But this whole budget thing that you’ve managed to tangle yourself into is really…I can’t even come up with the words for it. I’m upset that the collective feet of the legislature has been dragging for years; that the people keep electing you fools [yes, myself included – I really need to pay more attention to the voter’s guide] every year, that instead of trimming the fat from the top [yeah, YOU] you go for the bottom and take money that is definitely needed more than anything else from those who can’t afford to lose a single penny. You refuse to make reasonable concessions and instead of humbling yourselves in a time of great financial distress, you play chicken with each other. Except instead of you staring down that quickly approaching train of doom you put the people in there in your place.

I know there is no single quick fix that will fix the mess that we’re in; it will be a combination of things but let’s start with the simplest: reduce spending. See, whenever I run into a budget issue I stop spending on the luxuries. It works quite splendidly. Gotta make my student loan payment? Stop going to the movies for a little bit, hold on the Starbucks runs, bringing lunch instead of buying. I do what I can. But you? You call for everyone to make sacrifices: for state workers to take a few days off without pay so you can avoid the cost of having an office open, for students to be crammed into even tighter classrooms with even less available resources, for the elderly and disabled to stand going a couple days without access to valuable health and social services all the while you go cruising the streets in your state-financed cars and your reimbursed expenses. What sacrifices are you making? It’s time that you take on some of the work you’ve been asking the rest of us to handle.

Enough with the ego trips. Get in there and find a way to agree on something other than “the budget needs to be fixed or we’re screwed.” Quit pointing fingers at each other and start working with each other. Make some creative moves that don’t require you keep taking from the poor. Leave them alone, they’re always disproportionately affected more than anyone else. Do something substantial and real. The state needs stitches but you keep bringing us band-aids.

We have great sources of industry. People will kill for the chance to live here. And we pay one of the highest state income tax rates but there’s no money in the coffers? And you want to tax us more? For what? You’ve cut back everything to the bare minimum even in good times and then ask for more money. And now, in effort to slow the fall into statewide insolvency, there are rumors that the state may withhold paying state tax refunds until later. I mean come on now, you already take a lot and now you won’t give me the small percentage that you pay back? Sure it’s usually only $30 but still. THAT’S MY THIRTY BUCKS.

Sigh, but honestly State of California, if anything, you’re making it really hard for me to plead your case for the bf to come and live here. Don’t you want me here anymore? Don’t you want to keep me from moving to Texas?! Yes, I don’t know that I’m moving there for sure but it’s probably looking better with you in shambles the way you are.

Please, State of California, I don’t ask for much, besides a reasonable tax rate and affordable housing, but I’m begging you. Please don’t make me move to Texas.

Dear Rich Rodriguez,

Hi, hello and how are you? Fantastic so look, I have a few things I wanted to discuss with you.

First off, I guess a sort of congratulations on in order. Oh, no, I saw the year this football campaign turned out to be so I’m not congratulating you on a job well done, or even on a job done, but I’m congratulating you on MAKING IT OUT ALIVE. That is an impressive feat in and of itself.

I know this is your first year and all so it wasn’t like I was expecting miracles. I spent the year defending your results, after all, you have a different coaching scheme than Coach Carr and you were playing with his kids so it wouldn’t be for at least a year until you could actually go and recruit your own players that any kind of effect would have taken place. I took “Psychology of Sport” with Dr. George so I totally understand the inner complexities of coaching. Or at least the superficial complexities [the class was only a semester long after all].

That said, even I can’t defend the worst performance in 129 years of Michigan Football [the football team hasn’t been that bad since they went 2-7 in 1962 –YOU WEREN’T EVEN BORN IN 1962!]. Three wins? That’s all you could chalk up? Sure you had some hard teams to play, like JoePa’s reinvigorated Nittany Lions [and hey, can we give them a WOOT! for beating the team down south AND for keeping them out of the Rose Bowl? WOOT WOOT JoePa!] but losing at home to Toledo? Really Rich? Toledo? How do you expect I explain that one away? Because it’s really hard to do.

There have been some flashes of brilliance over the course of the season, like that game opening interception during the OSU game this weekend, but those have been outshone by the general ineptitude of the team later that very same game. Like the second half of the OSU game.

But again, first year, new coaching scheme, same players…not much can be done until you recruit the guys that will work best under your guidance, which can’t happen until after this season is done. And even that, it will still take a few years to get everything smoothed out and in good working order. That’s what happens in a rebuilding year. I got that.

However, ahem, what I can’t really get behind is your public exclamation that some Michigan fans should “get a life.”

And this is where I break character: DUDE! You can’t say THAT! Not out loud! And especially not to the papers for the world to see!

I know what you mean, trust me: sports fans are an entirely different breed onto themselves but no amount of rhyme, reason AND logic will get them to see straight. What can you say to a person who is convinced that their team lost because they weren’t sitting in THEIR CHAIR for part of the game? Seriously Rich, what do you tell them, because I need something to tell my sister for all those years of banning her from the room during Yankees playoff games. And even though I know that doesn’t matter, I still stupidly and doggedly follow my made up superstitions. Team starts to lose while I’m watching? I’m turning off the game, not because it’s too hard to watch but because maybe it’s me that’s jinxing them. And I’m otherwise a fairly rational person.

Those of us on the inside know there are more important things going on besides a game but you can’t tell the fans that, no matter how true it is and definitely no matter how much you want to tell them. You just can’t. It’s unfair and stupid but that’s the way it is. Leave that for the columnists and talking heads to take care of because otherwise you make yourself that much bigger of a target.

Let me hip you to a few things Rich:

Continue reading

Letters to people I don’t know, who probably don’t read my blog…

Dear Non-Fastrack Users on the Carquinez Bridge:

Hi. Hello. How are you? Fabulous. I just wanted to talk to you right quick about a disturbing and annoying trend I’m happening upon. The best thing about having Fastrack is the awesome ability to bypass the lines and breeze through the tollgates on the bridges [well, except the Bay Bridge on most days]. I love it. Plus, I don’t have to fumble around wondering if I have $4 to pay the toll.

But this is the thing, I’m sure you’re not blind since you are driving so I’m left to assume that you either don’t pay attention or don’t care, because I certainly don’t want to accuse you of just being plain stupid. Because that’s mean. However, there is a reason why the clever people at CalTrans placed TWO OVERHEAD DIRECTIONAL SIGNS on the bridge [the first being at mid-span and the second right at the end] so everyone knows what side they should be on: Fastrack on the left and cash on the right. It’s so simple and did I mention there were two signs? Along with words on the farthest left lane in paint saying it’s a Fastrack only lane? Because, with all of these warnings and signs and people practically hitting you in the face with this precious information, do you insist on waiting until you’re at the tollbooths to start making your way across 5 LANES to get to the cash tollbooths? Why? And why do you insist on doing this in front of me?

I mean, not only is this incredibly dangerous and stupid but you had plenty of time and warnings [remember the signs I talked about earlier] telling you where you needed to be but you wait until the last possible moment to realize, hey, I shouldn’t be here. I should be over there. And by “over there” you mean 5 LANES OVER. Ugh. Then you’re stuck trying to merge because other drivers have to slow and let you in and/or try to avoid hitting you and you suddenly inconvenienced everyone and put us all in danger because of your ineptness. Thanks.

Jerks.

And while I’m on the random ranting tip…

Dear Ipod and/or other personal music device listener:

Hi. Hello. How are you? Fabulous. Let me ask you something that’s been on my mind lately. Why in earth am I able to clearly hear what you’re listening to from five feet away? Don’t you know what you’re doing to your eardrums? One of these day’s you’ll …..missing…. ….and then….everyone will be laughing and……………..hate……….. You know what I mean? But really, if you’re just going to be blasting your music anyway, why not just carry around a ginormous boombox. It would just be easier. And fashionable. You know how people LOVE to bring things back. Thanks.

Signed,

Me.

Now that I’ve written this down, it’s premeditated…

Dear Dad,

I get it. Michigan lost. To an unranked opponent. At home. But that HAPPENED YESTERDAY. Just because ESPN and Fox Sports and every radio sports talk show will be talking about it ALL WEEK DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO AS WELL. And honestly, the way you’re STILL joking about it isn’t even funny anymore. It’s annoying and I’m thisclose to cutting you with whatever I may have in my hand at the time. I just don’t care anymore.

But I swear, if I have to watch that damn Appalachian State – Michigan replay one more time I’ll kill you both. In cold, cold blood.

You and Duck big fat jerks. I NEVER take my taunting THIS FAR. You say your respectful of other people’s feelings but I already asked you to stop last night. Obviously you’re just a liar. I wish you’d grow up already. It’s not like YOU went to Appalachian State anyway.

Willing to pummel you to death with my tiny fists of fury,

Me

Dear DHL,

I just wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoyed being kept up to date on the going ons of my packages. It was a joy to know that a package I needed to be delivered by 10:30 yesterday was in the sorting facility since 11:30 WEDNESDAY night. And that now you don’t know where it’s at. You guys rock.

I’m also pleased to know that you couldn’t deliver a package to an address, that you have delivered to before with no problem, because the company decided to change one word in the name. I can totally understand your confusion. Thanks for taking the time to check with me on that “undeliverable address” so I could make the correction.

I am SO TOTALLY SCREWED.