Friday, May 20, 2011

That's a fine welcome home...

We have just returned from two weeks in Italy--I do not post in advance that we are going away (for obvious reasons). And yes, yes, I will post pics and a few random observations.

This post is to relate the not so welcome home.

We came home to voice mail messages--and as we waded through them, there were several from an online company questioning a purchase that had been made on a credit card. Would we please call them because the billing address (ours) was not the same as the delivery address. Hmmmm.

So, my husband called. Had we ordered XXXX ? No, we had not. Well, the company thought not, especially when we didn't return the call. SO they had already cancelled--i.e. refused to fill--the order. Thank goodness for intelligent thoughtful companies.

That triggered my husband's curiosity--so he went to the website for our credit card. Aha--another purchase, not ours. He called that company, but they couldn't (read wouldn't) cancel the order unless my husband faxed them a copy of a police report. Well, not knowing WHERE that purchase came from, how were we to file a police report?

So my husband called the credit card company. They agreed to void any sales coming in on that card--and as he spoke with them, another order popped up on our card.

The thing is--we still had the card. No card had been stolen. And we used the card only once on the trip--the timing of the purchases was such that the identity theft must have occurred before we left on the trip.

So, for now, the card is cancelled, a new one is on its way. But the mystery remains--how was the number along with personal information--address and phone number--lifted? We still haven't figured that out.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Squirrel Tales

We live in a squirrel riddled neighborhood. I always take it as a sign that a neighborhood is established if it has attracted squirrels.

When we first moved to our home 30 years ago, the neighborhood was newly built--and had no squirrels.
There were few trees--maybe that explained the dearth of squirrels. I set about planting trees, not because I wanted squirrels, but because I wanted shade. We bought about 30 trees--many of them bare root stock spindly little things--and planted them all around our property.

(Small rabbit trail--a couple of weeks ago, I was talking with our young neighbor boy, who remarked about the trees. I told him that we planted them all. This conversation took place just before Earth Day. The neighbor boy was really impressed that we had planted all those trees--whoa, he said, I can tell my teacher that for Earth Day. That made me smile.)

Anyway, now with lots of trees, and our putting out many feeders for the birds, we have attracted lots of squirrels. Their acrobatic antics have become quite amusing. They scale poles designed to defeat them, they lift the tops of weighted bird feeders so they can reach the seeds, they leap across chasms of space to get from one seed point to another. (The photo to the left--the photo is correct; the squirrel is standing upside down eating a bit of corn.)

Well, today, yet another squirrel met its fate. I was heading out of the neighborhood on my way to a meeting. I looked up to see a red tail hawk flying overhead with a limp squirrel in its talons. A small bird was harassing the hawk. In that drama of hawk and harasser the squirrel was a bit player. But of course to the squirrel, it was front and center.

A few years ago, I witnessed a similar mortal struggle between hawk and squirrel on the campus where I was teaching. It doesn't take much to distract students, so when students spied a hawk with squirrel in its grip, they all craned to look out the window and watch the death struggle. The hawk sat calmly atop the squirrel until it ceased struggling.

I did not see the denouement of today's struggle. I only saw the aftermath. When I returned home, my husband was mowing. He stopped briefly, and said he had something to show me. There, next to our sidewalk lay the dead squirrel, with gouges in its side. I am guessing the harassing bird harried the hawk enough for it to drop its prey. The squirrel was scooped up, and dropped into the recycling cans along with yard waste.

The cycle of life, death, return to earth. O, fortuna.