Friday, March 5, 2010

Choosing my religion

THAT is one thing I missed about blogging, being able to drop song lyrics and titles into "conversation" on a regular basis.

Last year at Easter Mo and I each decided that we needed to find a church. So we agreed to take turns picking a church and trying it out together each Sunday until we hopefully found the one that felt like home.

I was raised Catholic and have left the church for personal reasons. I've always been curious about different religions, so I thought this was the perfect way to learn a little bit more about how other people worship and also find a new church in the bargain.

Let me tell you, it was an eye opening experience. The first church we went to turned both of us off because the pastor spent a good part of the sermon making fun of various people she had come across during the week who didn't understand what Easter is all about. That left a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe instead of making fun of them, or belittling them for not understanding, you could try inviting them to attend the service and help them figure it out. Just a thought. Also, there was a woman who was knitting during the service, and her ball of yarn was easily the size of a basket ball. At one point it got away from her and rolled a good way down the aisle toward the altar before she managed to reel it back in. No one said a word. I thought that was strange. Maybe she was knitting for Jesus, but I don't think it's necessary to carry that on in church myself.

The next church we went to was a Unitarian church. We realized after being heartily welcomed and assured that they accept people of all sexual persuasions that they assumed we were a lesbian couple. After being raised a Catholic, the lack of ceremony in most services feels a little strange to me, but this one took the cake. People actually took coffee into the service. Seeing McDonald's and Starbucks mugs on the floor at people's feet in church was.... strange. Also, this particular church has a large glass window behind the altar, and the garden behind this window is beautifully landscaped and contains several mature trees. One tree directly behind the pulpit had a bird feeder, and three squirrels spent the entire hour playing grab ass and hanging upside down from the tree limb by their hind feet to steal the bird seed. I could have ignored these things if I'd liked the feel of the church, but everything felt just a little too loosey goosey for me. I don't want pomp and circumstance, but I'd like just a little more formality than that.

One church we attended left me feeling very angry because in a PowerPoint presentation that was shown during the service I was informed that I am "the devil's reject" because of a certain belief that I hold. I almost got up and walked out, but stayed out of respect for Mo.

And there was the church where we walked in very close to the time for the service to start, so the pastor waited whilst name tags were made for us and then personally escorted us into the church to sit among the other 5 attendees. I have been to some small services before, but 5 was a little uncomfortable. Especially since they put us on the spot as part of the service and asked us to introduce ourselves. And this is the point in my life where I realized that it's ok, I can stand up and talk in public. So we were honest. We just told them that some people go on pub crawls... we are on a church crawl, choosing our religion.


Why you should write checks with a Sharpie Pen

Because apparently acetone won't remove the Sharpie ink.

Saturday, for the first time ever, we mailed our bills from our home mailbox and put the little flag up to indicate outgoing mail. Saturday, while we puttered around in the house, someone drove by and stole our mail. They took our mortgage payment and a credit card payment and "washed" them.

Washing involves using acetone to remove the ink in the "To" line and the "Amount" line, and rewriting the check out to another individual, usually at a higher amount. Like say, several thousand dollars.

One of the great things about using a small bank is that the tellers recognize me, and recognize my face. So when this person went to the bank and actually had the brass balls to walk in to the bank and sit down in front of the camera to cash my check, the teller sensed something was wrong and tried to call me. IF I had up to date information on file with them, the worm would have been caught then and there. But we had cancelled our home phone last year and moved to using our cell phones for all calls, and neglected to let the bank know that fact. Oopsie. So when she wasn't able to reach us, and could find nothing physically wrong with it, the teller cashed the check.

Then, because this worm, this slime on the bottom rung of humanity, is apparently fairly intelligent, they took the next check to a different branch and wrote a contact phone number on the check for the teller, who this time did not recognize or know me, to call and verify the check.

So, several thousand dollars later I have learned a couple of new lessons. Never, never, never, no matter how busy you are and how convenient it may seem, never mail bills from an unlocked box. Make sure your credit card and bank have your up to date contact information. And also, use Sharpie pens to write your checks because the ink cannot be washed. Sharpie makes a very nice pen which I love using anyway - it will now become the only pen in our desks.

Oh, and a note to the slime herself: Not only is your face on camera at the bank, honey, but you left a nice fat fingerprint on one of the checks! And taking mail out of a mailbox is mail fraud, which is a federal offense.

Note to the universe: I think I've learned enough lessons this year! Couldn't I have some time off for good behavior?