So yesterday was Thanksgiving, which means that we are now in the middle of the holiday season. Our Thanksgiving was pretty low key. I vacuumed the house while Bill made a cherry cheese pie. Then I made macaroni and cheese, mainly because Bill made me want it. Finally, Bill made a chicken pot pie. We went with the chicken pot pie because of Bill’s dental trauma. He just had an implant installed and is healing, complete with stitches.
We had part of a chicken that needed to be eaten, so I suggested that he make a chicken pot pie. So he did, and it turned out great. I was especially happy about the pastry, which was perfect– flaky and tasty. The pie was less successful, because he didn’t use US products with his US recipe. He didn’t have cherry pie filling or American condensed milk, which is sweetened.
Anyway, it wasn’t the fanciest meal… and we didn’t even break out the good china for it. But it was tasty and filling, and there was no fighting or weirdness. We had good music and good company. So Thanksgiving was a success, in my book.
While we were eating, I heard some Christmas music. For once, I didn’t change the song, because– hey– it’s holiday time. And because today is Black Friday, I started shopping for gifts. Actually, today I bought cheese and chocolate, as well as a few essentials for the house and a couple of gifts for Bill. Naturally, that activity made USAA’s fraud detection bots go nuts.
They sent me a message on my USAA app, but when I tried to verify my identity, the app decided I was taking too long. Then I got an error message. So I had to call USAA to get them to unblock my card, and I had to do that on my cell phone, using their local number. I was supposed to call them collect, but I don’t even remember how to do that. I haven’t made a collect call in decades.
I spent several minutes on the phone with one lady, but since she was dealing with credit cards, and the charges in question were on my debit card, she had to send me to another operator… a heavily accented fellow who sounded pretty bored with his work. Gone are the days when I’d call USAA and they’d address me by name and thank me for my many years of membership. USAA really sucks now, but they are among the few banks that will allow American expats on SOFA status to have an account while living abroad. Crazy that they didn’t seem to have a problem with charges from Armenia, but I do some transactions on Black Friday, and their damned bots go nuts.
In any case, the issue is sorted, and my cheese and chocolate and other stuff is successfully ordered. But one other issue came up. I turned on my VPN so I could navigate to a site that kept giving me the geo block. I forgot to turn off the VPN before I signed into my email account, so I got an alert for that, too. And in the process of checking that, I saw a bunch of people or bots or whatever, from around the world, trying to log into my email account. Fucking scammers. They need to get a real job.
I never knew what Black Friday was, even though my parents were retailers who depended on the Christmas season, until I worked in retail. I had a boss who got upset with me because I wanted to go home to my family’s homestead for Thanksgiving. I seem to remember having to race back to Williamsburg, Virginia from Natural Bridge on Saturday to go to work. I’m glad I’m not in that world anymore.
I completed another post for my Armenia series on the travel blog. I may do another later today, if I feel up to it. Or maybe I’ll just do another musical number. Or maybe I’ll take a nap and watch YouTube. I don’t know. I sure am not as physically active this week, as I was last week! That’s for damned sure.
I am shocked that it’s time for the holidays, though… 2023 has flown by. Maybe 2024 will bring a new dog into our lives. I am definitely ready for one. Hopefully, the weather will improve. There’s a wine stand tonight, but it’s cold and rainy outside. I have a feeling we’d rather stay home and drink wine in front of the fire.