Thursday, September 22, 2011

I am slipping

For thirty years, we used one electric company. Bob decided it would be cheaper to change, so he did. For about three months, we got the electric bills, and I wrote out checks and paid them.

We have a system. We put the bills in the basket on top of the microwave which is stacked on top of the oven, and twice a month, I get the basket down and pay the bills. It is a very fancy basket which holds stamps, and receipts to match up to our credit card statement.

Early last summer, one son was going to Afghanistan, and one was coming home from a deployment. Then our daughter-in-law of the currently deployed moved to Houston, and her mail came here while she was intransition.

When our youngest had trouble with his mail at his dorm during the summer, his mail started coming here, too. I set out sacks and boxes with their names, and would either give or mail everyone their stuff.

Then the mail stopped, and I found a tag in our mailbox saying not to deliver any mail here. Everything was being forwarded to our daughter-in-law who had found an apartment near Houston. It was not her fault. The post office decided that her new address was for the whole "family". (the clerk at our post office guessed)

I did not receive the natural gas bill---water heater and furnace---but since we don't use the furnace during the summer, and water in Texas comes out of the faucet already hot, our ATMOS bill was puny. I looked up the address online (it is NOT on the statements, amazingly) and paid ahead guessing what our monthly bill was. We got one last week, and sure enough, my balance was zero.

But, the electric bill fell between the cracks somewhere. I got a card from my aunt in Colorado that someone had used as a coaster to a leaking drink.

So, is the post office not delivering mail? are they throwing it away somewhere? or forwarding it, and because it is an electric bill---not being forwarded? It is a mystery.

The "new" electric company cuts you off if you miss ONE payment. Isn't that lovely? Needless to say, Bob was none to pleased to come home last night, open the mail and see a disconnect notice. Thankfully, we got that! What if they had just cut us off without warning? or what if the warning notice was not delivered?

Bob wanted to know why I had not paid the electric bill. I replied that I had not received it.

Now I have to watch the mail, and make sure we get our bills. I have been reluctant to pay bills online, because sometimes it costs extra, and I don't like funds removed from our bank account. Somehow you have to okay the transactions. But, I bet they involve passwords, and I have a list of passwords longer than I can remember as it is. I don't even try to access the bank account online because of the password.

We did not get an insurance bill, either. So, I need to call them today and spend time in robot phone hell.

When the post office fails, I figure I will be forced to pay bills online. Our bank seems TOO eager to help set us up with online paying. They nag me about it every time I go in. Why are they so eager?

I have had computers crash. I have lost pictures, journals, stories. Can you imagine the nightmare of losing all bills and accounts online when the next computer crashes?? when. not. if.

And what do other "old" folks do that are computer and password challenged like me??

Or, let's say, for example, that we have a power outage for weeks while the power company works to restore power after a storm like last year? Bills would come due on the computer, but we could not access them. Do we need to pay our bills a month ahead so that we have a hedge against computer crashes, storms, power outages, and post office failures?

Just sayin'

I am slipping.

There is an attitude among the American people that electricity is a right. a need. a necessity. Everything we do, all commerce, even buying milk and groceries is tied to electricity. According to Reza Kahlili, all the irians would have to do is detonate a bomb over Kansas to knock out the power of the three major grids. Then we would be knocked back to the century of horse drawn carriages. Cars made after 1980 would not start because computer chips would be fried. We would leave hour homes within weeks and months looking for fresh water and food.

Maybe the small, silly tests of not getting your electric bill is a test to give us a warning. Wake up.


Bag Blog said...

I bought a file folder years ago especially for bills that came in. But Toby took to putting other "important" mail in the folder. Now it is so full of stuff that I can't find the bills anymore.

joyce said...

Thanks Bag Blog. I think I will start a Scrabble method on the check registry. Maybe Bob can come up with a Scrabble word for the letters: WAMPUEN

W for water, P for phone/internet, E for Electricity, etc. then I can just count the seven letters in a month to make sure I am not missing an E for Electricity. Bob may look at the check register and say it just looks messy.