Monday, July 17, 2006

Makin' Hay While the Sun Shines

I have heard that the third trimester sometimes brings a burst of energy for "nesting" purposes. I think that's what I experienced today. And since I had a prenatal appointment in the middle of the day, I planned to not get much done as far as coding my surveys, so I actually did some other things. As it turns out, a lot of other things.

I weeded the garden plot (in the morning before it got up to 97 degrees, that is) and was pleased to discover some little budding tomah-toes, a tiny sweet pepper, as well as jalapeño blossoms (and later, one little hidden green jalapeño!)

Then, as the culmination of a few days' worth of virtually re-arranging the bedroom (via that old $5 design application) to accommodate some baby furniture, I felt compelled to actually do the rearranging in real life. So compelled, in fact, that I couldn't do anything else until I had completed this.

Thanks to some furniture sliders more or less like these ones, it was actually possible for a 7-months pregnant person to move the giant behemoth of a bed that TheLimey has had since he moved into this place. (Which reminds me on a complete tangent, a bed larger than a twin was one of the signs that I was looking for in a man, as it indicates that he has outgrown the "guy" or "bloke" stage. A man with a small bed is generally not ready for a commitment. Just FYI.)

Aside from some general straightening and organizing, the other big thing I did was this: I called one of my credit card companies and negotiated vastly better terms.

This is an account that bore a usurious interest rate (23.99%) and also had an annual fee of $59. Now, I am one of those people who have a hard time asking for anything from anyone, and I also really dislike being on the phone, especially for business. (it's one of those tasks I'll procrastinate forever.) However, we are now on a budget and saving hard for next year when I'll be on internship and we'll have a baby, so getting a random $59 fee in the post for really no reason at all was a thorn in my poor husband's side. I guess my guilt trumps my phone-anxiety, so I called them up.

It went just as it was supposed to, according to financial advice columns. The first representative told me she couldn't do anything, the next one told me he could do only a small portion of what I wanted, and the third person offered me great rates (1.99% initially and then 11.99%) and best of all, the thing I wanted most: no annual fee. It pretty much went exactly as you'd read in any financial-advice column or magazine.

Rep #1: Good morning, how are you today? [pleasantries exchanged]
Me: I would like to see about getting the annual fee on my card waived, as I have several others with much better terms and interest rates and can afford to prune a few of them out.
Rep #1: Please hold while I review your account [files nails for 90 seconds]. I'm sorry, there are currently no offers like that for your account. Those are the terms you signed up for.
Me: (pleasantly) I would still like to see about getting the annual fee waived. Is there someone else I could speak with?
Rep #1: Let me transfer you laterally to someone I will pretend is my supervisor. [transfers]

Rep #2 in distant country: Good morning, how are you today? [pleasantries exchanged]
Me: I would like to see about getting the annual fee on my card waived, as I have several others with much better terms and interest rates and can afford to prune a few of them out.
Rep #2: Please hold while I review your account [refills teacup, adds milk]. There is an offer available for your account: we can reduce your interest rate.
Me: That would be great, but I'm still most interested in getting the annual fee waived.
Rep #2: I'm sorry, there are currently no offers like that for your account. Those are the terms you signed up for.
Me: That is true, but terms often change over the lifetime of an account. Is there someone else I could speak with?
Rep #2: Let me transfer you laterally to someone I will pretend is my supervisor. [transfers]

Rep #3 in US South: Good morning, how are you today? [pleasantries exchanged]
Me: I would like to see about getting the annual fee on my card waived, as I have several others with much better terms and interest rates and can afford to prune a few of them out.
Rep #3: Please hold while I review your account [takes brief nap]. There is an offer available for your account: we can give you an introductory rate of 1.99% for three months that will change to 11.99%, and there would be no annual fee.
Me: That sounds perfect. Thank you.
Rep #3: You should receive your paperwork in the mail in 7-10 business days.

After that success, I was bursting with pride for hours.



I will leave you with my escape plan should things get any worse, politically speaking.

5 comments:

Judy said...

About that prenatal appointment: Did you get a new ultrasound? Got pictures?
The fans are clamoring.
Clamor, clamor clamor, clamor, clamor, clamor, clamor, cla...

liz said...

No, they pretty much just do one at first to see that there's a baby there and not a molar pregnancy or something, and then they do the 20-week one to see that things are progressing as they should. (Unless there's a problem.)

Apparently there's a lot of new research showing unusual fetal cell activity for a while after being "ultrasounded", and they don't yet know what the long-term effects are (the first crop of highly-ultrasounded babies is just now reaching adulthood.) Their little cells are all so malleable and mutatable at that stage.

There could be reproductive problems, for example, as girls already have all their ova before they're born, or...who knows.

Anyway, we don't get to peek any more given that everything seems to be going fine and uncomplicated for us. (Unless you're Tom Cruise and heedlessly buy your own machine for untrained home use.)

But I do wish I could look again. It was really cool to see it hopping around!

Tim said...

Just on the off-chance that your ears have been burning, Liz and I have been wondering how all things pregnancy-wise were going. It's good to hear that all's well.

We were also wondering if you'd have to move for next years internship? As both of us thought that would suck big time.

The escape plan is hilarious. I'm not 100% sure I won't try to use it either. Am I the only one who sees Bush/Cheney trying to pass some legislation through Congress in order to tack on an additional term?

Liddy said...

Why is it that the reps who always do things for you are in the South? I'm convinced that it's a brilliant PR move to require charming accents for customer service staff. Who can stay mad at someone who is serving you vocal peach pie?

liz said...

Great--now I'm hungry!