...the Journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

This is the last of Ned & Marta's magnets. Look for a new guest refrigerator door tomorrow


Someone suggested I add a discussion board, so I have.

If you have anything to discuss, go to this link. Feel free to start a new discussion on anything.

(of course I'm adding this right before I go out of town for 2Ĺ weeks!)


A Heartbreaking Work
of Staggering Genius

by David Eggers



That's it for today!


2 May 2001

It seemed like a great idea.

We wanted to get a wool coat for Jeri, who mentioned that she liked the long wool coats women wore in Boston. But itís the end of winter weather here and of course you canít find winter clothes. Peggy pointed out that itís heading into winter in the southern hemisphere and all the winter line was in the Australian stores now and that she could get the coat there and send it to Jeri. What a great idea!

With SuperShopper on the job, I knew Jeri would have a top notch coat, and Peggy not only found the perfect coat, but she found it on sale. With the current exchange rate, even adding the postage, the coat would cost us less than if we bought it off the rack here.

She mailed it off to Jeri, gave me a final calculation of the cost, and said that when she sends money here, she goes through the post office in Australia.

So off I marched to the post office this morning. What could be easier? And apparently it was very easy. Just went up to the counter, told the clerk what I wanted. She said they couldnít do the conversion for me, but I had a rough idea of how much it was going to be. She said it would take 6-8 weeks for the draft to be written, but I figured that was OK. Peggy wonít starve between now and then.

As she was writing it up and preparing to charge my Visa card, I happened to look at her screen and saw she was writing it up for Austrian currency. I pointed out the error and told her it was Australian.

She went back to her machine to calculate for Australia and then turned and said "Iím sorry. We canít do Australia currency."


I pointed out that it was a real country. A rather large country. A continent, in fact. And that as far as I knew, we were on friendly terms with the government. Surely she remembered the Olympics. It was in all the papers.

But apparently the post office doesnít recognize Australia. She suggested I go to a bank.

So I got back in the car and drove to my friendly Bank of America.

Now that you can do just about everything at an ATM machine, I never go in the bank any more and was surprised to discover that the staff was cut to practicaly nothing. No familiar faces any more. And of course there were no customers waiting in line because they were all out at the ATM machines.

I stepped up to the desk and greeted the clerk, who looked like she was pretty new. I explained what I wanted.

"You want to wire money?" she asked.

I explained that I didnít need to wire money. I just needed to get a draft, a money order, a whatever they want to call it so that I can send money in Australian currency. This obviously was a request sheíd never encountered before and she went off to ask for help. She was gone for a long time, and came back with another employee in tow.

Now I had two people trying to understand what I wanted. Finally one of them told me that they didnít do that at the bank. I would have to call the customer service number, where they would take the information, debit my account, and somehow miraculously get the money to me so I could send it to Peggy. They directed me to another corner of the building where I could find a customer service phone.

I found the phone and called the number, which Iím sure connected me to a phone in Nebraska or someplace like that. This, of course, necessitated several voicemail menus but at least I didnít have to wait on hold. The guy who answered (why donít people on the phone sound "professional" any more??) said that yes, they could do what I wanted...and they would only charge me $40 to write the draft.

FORTY DOLLARS????? Thatís ridiculous.

So I was back to square one. I wasnít sure where to go next and I sure wanted to avoid paying a $40 fee, which was only slightly less than half the money I wanted to send in the first place.

As I got in the car, I remembered the journaling community. Annaís (of Lucidity) husband is in Sacramento right now, and will be returning to Australia very soon. I immediately sent off a "HELP!" e-mail to her

She wrote back with the phone number where her husband is staying. He called and says heíll be in Davis tomorrow evening, so weíre going to meet and I can give him the money. Anna will send Peggy a check. Problem solved! (Not only that, since he travels to the US occasionally, they can use the US dollars, so there wonít even be any conversion fees.)

And people think that Iím wasting time reading about other peopleís journals on line!

Thanks, Anna, for letting me borrow your hubby.

One Year Ago:

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 5/2/01 by Bev Sykes