We are approaching “Day 365” at speed. I’m mentally going over what I want to do or say at the one-year mark. I need to sum up, and maybe close this down, or decide how to continue it.
I took care of a little business this morning, paying for my next six months of car insurance and filing that receipt in the appropriate folder. Then I had a little panic session because something wasn’t where I remembered it.
Two days ago, I applied for an Apple Card. Just for fun, really; I already have three perfectly functional credit cards. The Chase Sapphire has the longest history, and Chase has been very good at fraud detection and alerts. The Hyatt card is another Chase one; I got it a decade ago when we were planning a trip to Europe and I found it was the only card (at the time) that did not charge a fee for currency conversions. I still use it primarily when traveling; I used it probably 15 times for small purchases on the recent Greek trip, and on the latest bill, there are all the transactions in Euros and converted to dollars.
The third card is a BofA card branded by Alaska Airlines. We got one each at Marian’s insistence, when we were traveling often on the west coast for SWBB away games. You get extra Alaska miles for purchases, and once a year, each card could be used to book a flight for two with the second traveler getting a flat $100 fare. After Marian died, I canceled her card but kept mine, for no very good reason. I hardly use it, although I have tended to use it for online purchases, because if it were picked up by scammers, I would not be discomfited at having to change its number and get a new card — as I have been when the Sapphire card had to be changed. So I’ve been using the Alaska card strictly for online purchase when I can’t use PayPal.
Anyway, I applied for and got an Apple Card. And then found out that I can’t pay my Apple Card bill the way I do all the others, using my SFCU bill-pay app. They just flat “don’t support bill-pay” — said the person who replied to my text query.
The only way to pay an Apple Card is to give them the routing and account number for your account (in my case, the SFCU checking account), and then they initiate an EFT to debit my account for the amount I want to pay. That’s just the opposite of what I am used to, where my bank initiates the EFT when I tell it to, via bill-pay.
Two things wrong with this. First, payment has to be immediate. You open the Wallet app and initiate the payment on your phone screen. It uses a very smooth, colorful UI, but I have to do it manually, and the funds are transferred right then. With bill-pay, I get a bill, then I tell the bank when to do the paying, and then I can forget about it; the money will be sent on my chosen schedule a couple of days before it’s due. If I want to pay off the Apple card a couple of days before the due-date, I have to personally remember to initiate it on that date.
Second, I’m trusting Apple to keep my routing and account numbers secure, and to not reach into that account and debit itself any amount except what I tell it. I suppose that Apple (and their contracted agent, Goldman Sachs) are about as trustworthy as anyone, but still. When I learned that, I very nearly decided to cancel the thing. And still may. I will cancel one or the other, the Alaska card or the Apple one.
On the side of the Apple card: It is not associated with BofA, a company I trust only slightly more than I would Wells Fargo. Apple charges no fees for the pleasure of having the card. Apple doesn’t give “points” that you have to redeem in some complex way (I can’t tell you how many Alaska miles, or Hyatt points I have, or Chase ones, but I remember trying to figure out how to redeem such and being confused). It simply gives you 1% cash back. Finally the physical Apple Card, the stiff white piece of titanium that came in the mail yesterday, doesn’t show a number on its face. There is a standard 16-ditit number, but you have to go into the phone to see it; and they will change it for you anytime you ask them to.
So probably the Alaska card will go, next time I get a bill for it. But I still don’t like the Apple payment system.
OK, so there I was at my desk, paying this shit and filing that shit, and where shall I file the white titanium Apple card? I don’t expect to use the physical card much, just the iPhone app. Well, the same goes for the Alaska card, I don’t carry the card, I just use LastPass to fill its values into online purchase forms. Where do I keep it? Aha. I keep it, with some other things like my Palo Alto library card, in a 4×6 manila envelope, labeled in Marian’s neat printing, “LITTLE USED CARDS”. Where is that?
I was sure it was in my fireproof storage box, along with all other important but rarely viewed papers. But it wasn’t. I could see that envelope in imagination; I could remember handling it when going through the fireproof box last; but it wasn’t there. I looked other places, then I fretted for a while. And then, I had a vision of myself having put that into a pendaflex folder. Which one? I had already flipped through the pendaflex folders in the file drawer. But I went back and went through them one by one and… the very back-most folder was labeled “Card Info”. It was formerly (and still) for pieces of paper about card accounts. But when rationalizing the desk file drawer a few months ago, I had decided to move the envelope of seldom-used cards to that pendaflex.
Perfectly logical. Sensible, even. Panic over.
Finally it was 3pm and time to leave for the SWBB game. On Tuesday, I’d given a ride to Lennie and we casually said she would drive next time. I emailed her and she was riding with a friend, Carol, and I’d be welcome to ride along. So at 3:15 I went out the front door and there was Lennie, and minute later Carol rolled up and we were off to the game.
This was a game against the USA Basketball team, including Stanford alum Nneka Ogwumike along with other famous players, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Sylvia Fowles and on and on. Players I’ve seen a number of times each over the years.
On the way to the game I said I expected Stanford to get beaten by a lot, the way Stanford beat Beijing Normal earlier in the week. But in fact they did extremely well. They took a lead in the first quarter and stayed ahead of the national team until late in the third quarter. They were down by only 6, mid-4th quarter. At the end they lost by 15, but that is a highly respectable result. One factor is that we have four very talented freshmen, and all played and did well. Tara’s strategy appeared to be frequent, rapid subbing. In part that gave everyone experience playing against top-notch competition (and can you imagine how excited the freshmen were, on the floor with women they’d seen on television since they were in grade school?). Every available player had at least 4 minutes; 8 of them had double-digit minutes. This was also meant, I’m sure, to deliberately tire out the older women by making them defend a steady stream of fresh 20-year-old legs. After all, Sue Bird is 39 and Diana Taurasi is 37.