Archive for the ‘Rants & Observations’ Category

Panera Gift Card Hacked

January 24th, 2016 Comments off

Yesterday we decided to have lunch at Panera so I grabbed my “new” gift card to pay for it since there was only $8 left on an older card. Imagine my surprise when the cashier told me the $50 card had a $0 balance! WTF? He was going to keep the card but I took it back because I was pretty sure I hadn’t used it and I wanted to look into it further. It’s been sitting with our other unused gift cards in the house because a) I don’t have room in my wallet for all the gift cards we have and b) we don’t eat at very Panera often.

This morning I went online to check the balance and saw that someone used the card within two days of each other last month. It only shows the store # but not the location, and there’s no way to search Panera’s site by store # so I can’t figure out where it was used. I searched several cities around here and even in other states hoping I’d come across the store # (since it’s only listed in the search results) but I couldn’t figure it out.

I called Discover and explained the situation and they were kind enough to reimburse me the $45 in cashback I had used to purchase the card back in 2014. I’m glad we’re not out any money but I’d love to know who stole the # and used it. Unfortunately, it will forever remain a mystery.

I don’t know if I’ll order another Panera card anytime soon since we visit so infrequently (obviously) and I don’t want to let any future gift cards sit around for so long again. I’m guessing whoever hacked their gift card system specifically targeted cards that had been dormant for over a year thinking maybe they were lost and they could get away using them. As it is I have gift cards from Red Robin and Bahama Breeze to use anyway.

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Too Much Death

August 9th, 2015 Comments off

An aunt passed away this week and her wake/funeral was on Friday. In case anyone is keeping track, that’s four deaths in less than a year – uncle, aunt, friend, aunt. Is this what I have to look forward to as I grow older – more and more people I know shuffling off this mortal coil? It’s depressing.

The wake was held at a funeral home in Frankfort and my aunt was buried in Chicago, so that made for an hour long funeral procession. I’ve never been in such a time-consuming procession before and it made me nervous, especially since some of the public weren’t paying attention and almost hit a few cars that were continuing through the red lights as one typically does in a funeral procession.

There were more than few bizarre things that happened during this event:

1) The more I reflect on the pastor’s eulogy, the more I dislike the guy. He spoke about how everyone is going to die some day (thanks, bud, I already have a massive fear of dying and do not need any further reminders) but that our spirits will live on in heaven. He also made a big to do about how we shouldn’t forget about my uncle since he has many lonely nights ahead of him, which is true, but insensitive. In addition, the pastor said he just couldn’t imagine losing his wife of 45 years. Uh, rubbing it in much?!?! Nothing this man said was any solace to me, but maybe it helped others. I just don’t buy the whole concept that our spirits live on forever, and I was raised Catholic! All of it rings false to me. Trust me, I would love it if I could get on board with the idea because it would certainly ease my mind about not existing one day. Unfortunately, I think once you die that’s it; you go back to nothing, spiritually and physically. It will be great if it turns out I’m wrong and God doesn’t hold a grudge against me for not believing, though.

2) At the grave site, while the pastor was saying some final words, my uncle was casually leaning against my aunt’s casket with one hand.

3) After the service, as we were leaving the cemetery, I saw my uncle standing by his limo drinking a beer.

4) The place where the luncheon was held had a dove aviary in the front of the building. It was so odd. But what was funny is that I was one of the few, if not only, people who even noticed it immediately as we walked toward the banquet room. Most people didn’t notice it until leaving the restaurant.

Dove Aviary

I don’t know what any of my uncle’s behavior means, or if it even means anything; people grieve in strange ways. He was married to my aunt for 35+ years (his third marriage) but I have no idea what their relationship was like. I rarely spoke to her because we usually saw my uncle at my grandparents’ or parents’ house and he never brought her along. Her heart belonged to animals, not people, from what I knew of her – she worked at a humane society and they had the equivalent of a zoo in their homes. It only grew larger once they moved to their most recent home which had a ton of acreage and a barn. I’ve heard stories about the number of animals living on their property but the last time we were invited over was literally a decade ago, so I don’t know much other than what my cousin has mentioned. Maybe my uncle is one of those people who has a hard time expressing his true feelings. He has always been known as the one who cracks jokes so who knows.

Anyway, it was just a weird day. It was nice to see certain family members but I wish it was under better circumstances.

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April 2nd, 2015 Comments off

I love hyacinth and decided last year I wanted to keep some on the patio. But I waited too late in the season and couldn’t find any. So I jumped at the chance last weekend when Home Depot was selling them. We immediately replanted them in a larger pot and were really digging how pretty they smelled.


It didn’t last. Despite keeping them by the window to get sun and also keeping the soil moderately moist, they started to droop. I kept trying to prop them up and basically decapitated one in the process. On top of that, their smell began to change to something more sickly sweet which made my stomach turn. Today when I got home I was so disgusted by the smell that I put them outside, cold weather be damned. They’re dying inside anyway, so what’s the difference?

Look how pathetic they are now, less than a week later.


That’s the last time I buy them so early in the season. Or maybe I should stick to cactus, although I’d probably kill those too.

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December 26th, 2014 Comments off

Today has not gone at all as planned. I had trouble falling back to sleep after Joe’s alarm went off, but after taking a Xanax I was able to get almost two more hours of sleep. Once I got up I did a little decluttering and then called my old college buddy as we planned to catch up. Except she didn’t answer even though she asked me to call at that time. So I decided I’d do some deep cleaning in the kitchen in order to “earn” the ability to spend the rest of the day being lazy and streaming Hot Wives of Orlando (a funny Hulu original series) on Hulu Plus (turns out we get a free two-month subscription for buying the Google Chromecast).

But before that, I called the sleep clinic I’ve been working with to schedule an at-home sleep study to find out whether I have sleep apnea. Except they can’t schedule it until my doctor’s office sends them the information we’ve both been asking them to send since LAST Saturday.

Basically, my doctor initially gave me the order for a facility that kept putting me off and putting me off. I gave them all my info on December 2nd and scheduled an in-facility sleep study for December 18th. I explained to them I wanted to know what my out of pocket cost would be and they told me they’d know once I had my insurance info. So when I dropped it off I asked them again and was told they’d need to call the insurance and get back to me. But they didn’t. So I called the next week and they claimed, again, they’d get back to me. But they didn’t. So I called the Monday before my scheduled sleep study and was told the same thing once more. Finally I got pissed off and asked them exactly when they were planning to call me seeing as how my appointment was mere days away. They said the day before. Except when I called them that mourning they still couldn’t help me.

It wasn’t until 3 o’clock that afternoon they called me and guess what? They told me my insurance denied an in-facility study and I’d have to come down and pick up some equipment and do an at-home study.

At this point I was so annoyed that they took three weeks to figure this out that I decided to do the study through the facility tied to the hospital I see my physician through. I don’t even know why she tried sending me to the other place to begin with.

I spoke with the second facility on Friday December 19th and they told me what they needed from my doctor in ordrer to proceed. Since my doctor doesn’t have hours on Fridays, I sent them a fax explaining how I didn’t want to deal with the other place because they were less than helpful, and to please fax an at-home study order to the new facility along with the physical they were requesting. I called my doctor on Saturday to make sure they got my fax and they said yes.

On Monday I called the facility to see if they got everything, and they told me the doctor hadn’t faxed them anything. So I called my doctor and they claimed they did fax it but would do it again. In the meantime I received a call from the first facility because the idiot doctor sent them my fax where I basically said I didn’t like them; they wanted to know what was going on. So I just told them the other facility is easier to get to for me. I was so mad that my doctor would do something so stupid.

On Tuesday I called back the second facility and asked if they’ve gotten the info from my doctor yet, and they told me just the order, but not the physical. So they faxed my doctor asking for the physical.

As of this morning the doctor hasn’t sent it to them and I’m running out of time to get this done for only $50 as opposed to $300+ (thanks to Joe’s kids always going to the doctor the family deductible has been met this year and I’d only have to pay 15% of the cost whereas if I wait to have the study done next year I will have to pay for it out of pocket in full).

I’ve spent so much time on the phone going back and forth with this that I’m at the point I am going to be screaming at my doctor’s office tomorrow morning when they are back in. I don’t usually get like this but I’ve had it with the office manager (which happens to be my doctor’s husband). This isn’t the first time he has made things difficult for me. I guess I’m going to have to switch doctors after having the same one for over a decade because I’m ready to strangle this guy!

On top of that, I just had the worst experience with Petco. A friend alerted me to a deal they had online where for every $25 eGift card you buy, you get a bonus $5 eGift card. I figured I’d get $50 and a $10 bonus since I buy the rats’ litter from Petco, except when I placed my order I never got the bonus eGift card. When I called I was told that promotion expired at 3 am this morning even though it’s still appearing on their site. When I pointed this out, the guy said he could transfer me to customer service so they could do something to accommodate me, except the guy I spoke to was a total moron. He kept talking over me and not understanding anything I was trying to tell him. I will admit, I lost my patience at one point and yelled, “well maybe if you stopped interrupting me you’d get the confirmation #!” LOL But seriously, WTF? I spent a half hour on the phone with him and received no resolution. He claims someone has to call me back in 24-48 hours but I’m not holding my breath. If they weren’t so incompetent I’d just cancel the order, but I’m afraid they’d deactivate the gift card code but not refund my money. It has really left a sour taste in my mouth in regards to that place, though. Honestly, I’m a bigger fan of Petsmart, but the Petco brand paper paper litter has the best smell, texture, and price compared to Yesterday’s News so I always buy it.

Now I’m just so annoyed I can’t concentrate on the Hot Wives show so I guess I’ll go take a shower since I hadn’t gotten around to that yet today.


December 5th, 2014 Comments off

This is a very interesting article.

As much as I love(d) my Kindle, it was getting very annoying trying to find the books I’m interested in without having to resort to buying them on Amazon. Not to mention how many times I’d start reading a book only to quickly lose interest. Was it because I chose the wrong book, or something to do with the lack of involvement when reading a screen as opposed to holding a solid book in my hands?

And let’s face it, digital lending through the library is not as easy as you’d think – there’s a limited number of copies of the book you want to read and the best ones are always unavailable.

On top of that, trying to find an interesting book online is a bit difficult. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but you have to admit that’s exactly what we do when trying to choose a book amongst many on the shelves, and this type of browsing is much easier (and fun) to do in person than online. You can feel the books, open them up to read a passage or two, and come away with something tangible.

So back to the library I went. I enjoy the trip because it’s like shopping without spending any money. Now I have a stack of books on my nightstand and have been blowing through books unlike before. Long live print!

P.S. My local library recently went through a renovation and the adult section is now set up more like a big computer lab with books and digital material surrounding it. The shelves are designed in a manner that makes browsing easy – everything is displayed more like you’re in a store which I enjoy. The one thing, however, that throws me off is the vending machines for coffee, soda, juice, and snacks. These items were always discouraged, if not outright banned, in libraries. It’s amazing how times change!

P.P.S. Apparently there aren’t any photos of the completed renovation online, at least that I can find. I might have to grab some next time I’m at the library.

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