Sunday, December 6, 2015

Egg baskets needed

"Where is the sailor with bold red hair? And what is that volley on the bright air?
Oh where are the other girls and boys? And why have you brought me children’s toys?"

I'm spinning my wheels again. I'm on the hamster wheel of life. Making beads, trying to sell beads, trying not to buy beads, trying not to buy more glass.

I took a little more time off last week. Neil had a week of vacation, which meant that he only worked 3 days out of 9. I wouldn't say the fun factor was super high, but that's partly because we were getting ready for Thanksgiving with the kids and then having Thanksgiving with the kids.

Neil started preparations by buying 50 file boxes and pulling out all his books and boxing up many of them. He did weed some out for donation and we literally filled our giant recycling bin with years' worth of magazines that he decided to purge. He also went through his collection of hundreds of softball t-shirts and filled a bag for donation, packing up the rest.

He's really fired up about moving, even though the earliest we are likely to move is 18 months out.

I did my part by selecting about 10 geegaws and determining to part with them. I put them in a box in my closet. I've already fished one out.

I also pulled a dozen or so things of mine out of Chelsea's closet. These included the dress I wore to my brother's bar mitzvah - in 1969 - and the dress I wore to my cousin's wedding - in 1970. And no, they would not fit me now. I have no idea why I kept them so long, moving them from place to place.

I'm more sentimental than I like to admit. I also boxed up for donation all the dresses I ever sewed. I took a sewing class when I was in high school and made a few dresses that I wore in college, and one I made later, with the help of a friend who helped me make buttonholes, before I hung up my needle for good.

Chelsea actually volunteered to go through her closet and organize her things. I wasn't going to even bring it up again. She took some things back to Austin and designated some to donate, some to toss, and a few that the jury still is out on, like her high school letter jacket.

Parting with things is harder than it should be, Most of my things come with a memory, either of the person who gave it to me, or the place I got it, or who was with me when I bought it. It feels like bad luck to discard them. Some I really love, some were my mom's and those are keepers, some I wouldn't mind letting go but I don't have the motivation to sell them and I'm not sure they are suitable for donation.

I do know I don't want to pack them and take them when we move. But with a year and a half to figure it out, I have time to come up with a plan. At least I think I've finally resolved not to add any more stuff to my household. Every time I'm tempted, I just think about dealing with it when we move. Temptation dissipates posthaste.

We had fun with the kids. We made stuffed shells and Neil made bran muffins (shut up) and special pie - graham cracker crust, instant pudding, real whipped cream (shut up shut up shut up). We celebrated on Friday with Neil's kids and one of mine, and on Saturday we went to see The Martian and out for Pho with Chelsea and Rob. We also watched a three-part version of Sense and Sensibility.

A funny thing happened on Sunday, the day the kids left. Facebook temporarily locked my account. Apparently I clicked on something that a friend posted and a hostile app tried to attach itself to my account. Of course I didn't know this because Facebook simply said there was suspicious activity noted on my account offered to walk me through the steps to follow to change my password and regain control.

Except, it didn't work, I answered my security question, I identified photos of friends, I changed my password (multiple times) and returned in an endless loop to the notification that my account was temporarily locked. Maddening much?

So, it turns out there is no telephone customer support for Facebook. Nada. None. Zippo. Even their corporate site refers you to the Help Center website, which is a compilation of how-tos and discussion boards where you can ask a question and be answered by some clueless person like yourself.

There is a form to appeal if your site is disabled. You have to submit proof of your identity. I uploaded a copy of my drivers license and got an auto-response that my account was not disabled. Oh right. I forgot. Not disabled. Temporarily locked.

I aslo found a form to report "something that I couldn't see" on Facebook. So I reported this.
My account is locked. I've gone throught the security checks, changed my password, and still get the same message. My friends can't see anything suspicious or objectionabe on my page. How do I get my access back?
And predictably I got this answer from Facebook.
We’re sorry to hear you’re having trouble logging into Facebook. First, please try resetting your password.

If you know the email address, username, or phone number associated with your account, request a new password. If you can't identify your account, visit the Help Center for tips on how to find it.

If you don't have access to your login email address, you may be prompted to answer a security question or be asked to recover your account through your friends.

Still having trouble logging in? Find more information in the Help Center.
So, yeah, the robot at the other end told me to do the things I'd already done that didn't work. And the damn robot closed my case.

It's a sad feeling to realize how much you depend on Facebook. Sadder still when the Help Center discussion boards are chock full of frustrated people whose accounts have been locked for days, weeks, months, essentially forever.

I pondered my options, which included starting over with a new email address and profile. At least I'd be able to see my account - or would I? I certainly couldn't accept a new friend request, locked out as I was. But my profile is pretty much public, so maybe the new me could see the old me.

But but but. I have more than 850 friends. More than 1,000 likes on my business page, more than 100 hard won members in my fledgling group.

So on Monday, after 24 hours of being locked out of my account, I reported that my account had been hacked. You want to get Facebook's attention? Report that your account has been hacked. With much fanfare, including texting a special code to my cell phone and yet another password reset, I got back in. In the process, with my blessing, Facebook removed the offending app that I never realized I'd added.

Be warned. If you see an offer to view your top 11 most-liked photos, just say no, or rather, just do nothing.

In my absence, Facebook muddled on. My public did not seem to have missed me. The one auction I had posted before the lockdown had no bids. I had no private messages.

As the platform on which I sell my beads, Facebook has been my source of income for the past two years. Moreover, it has been a gateway to companionship and camaraderie in this solitary life I've chosen to live. It's the way I keep in touch with my real-life friends - not to mention my kids - and also the way I've made new friends around the globe.

The object lesson here is that it would be wise to find some additional baskets for my eggs.

Anyway, since unlocking my account, it's been business as usual, which is to say, not much business at all. Lots of people have been saying that sales are slow, so that "my-beads-aren't-good-enough" monkey can just stay off my back. I'm selling enough to keep bothering, and any slow day can be instantaneously redeemed, as today was, by a couple of customers buying one set of beads and then buying several more.

So I keep plugging away.

Some new beads. They really aren't so bad. Take that, monkey!

"I had a silver penny and an apricot tree
And I said to the sailor on the white quay

Sailor, oh sailor, will you bring me
If I give you a penny and an apricot tree

A fez from Algeria, an Arab drum to beat
And a little gilt sword and a parakeet?

Well he smiled and kissed me as strong as death
I saw his red tongue and I felt his sweet breath

You may keep your penny and your apricot tree
And I’ll bring you presents back from sea
From over the sea

The ship dipped down on the rim of the sky
And I waited while three long summers went by
Three long summers went by

Then one morning on the white quay
I saw a great ship come in from sea

Slowly, slowly she came across the bay
And her flashing rigging was shot away

And all round her wake the seabirds cried
They flew in and out of the hole in her side

Slowly she came into the path of the sun
I heard the sound of a distant gun
Of a distant gun

Then a stranger came running up to me
From the deck of the ship and said, said he

Oh are you the boy who would wait by the quay
With a little silver penny and an apricot tree?

I’ve a plum-coloured fez and a drum for thee
I've got a sword and a parakeet
From over the sea

Where is the sailor with bold red hair?
And what is that volley on the bright air?

Oh where are the other girls and boys?
Why have you brought me children’s toys?"

Nursery Rhyme of Innocence and Experience (Charles Causley, set to music by Natalie Merchant)

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz