DIZMOMMY > April 2015


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April 29, 2015

Things That Scare Me: Getting Personal Calls at Work

“Do you want a call from an Erin Davis? She said it’s regarding a personal and confidential matter.”
Huh? I was confused. Why would I get a call regarding a personal matter at work, and what was personal and confidential, anyway? Could it be Dylan’s school? Oh god. 
“Yeah, I’ll take it.” I nervously told the receptionist. The line clicked and the call was transferred. 
"Hi, this is Rebecca.”
Erin wasted no time demanding confirmation of my identity, which I had no intention of providing. 
Hold on. What exactly is this regarding?” I pressed suspiciously. 
“I’m calling about an outstanding debt.” 
“Okay. But why are you calling me at work? Actually, I don’t care. Never call me on this number again. I’m at work and have no time to talk but if you’d like, call me at noon on my cell phone.” Yes, I know. I’m the sweetest. 

Erin agreed and at noon, she called again. 

The second conversation went something like this: “I’m calling about an outstanding Wells Fargo bank account you had from 2010. You owe $926 but we’re willing to settle today for $555 in an effort to avoid escalating this to litigation where you will incur legal fees and further interest.” 
I was confused. No bells were ringing. 
“I’m sorry but I don’t even remember having a Wells Fargo account. Can you give me more information?” 
Erin proceeded to explain that Wells Fargo bought out Wachovia and Chase bank, then hit me with, “You’re scheduled to be served with a subpoena on Friday.” It was Wednesday. 
“How can I be served with a subpoena? Shouldn't I be served with a summons and complaint first? I work at a law firm so if you need to take me to Court then do your thing. But right now, in this moment, I’m telling you that until I look into this, I’m not giving you any money.” 
“I can probably get approval to hold off on legal proceedings until 8am tomorrow if you’d like.” Erin offered. 
“Okay great.” 

Though I may sound like a ball buster, I was actually very nervous. Could it be true? Could I have an outstanding debt that I’m unaware of? The girl called me at work! I quickly looked up my credit report and found no mention of Wells Fargo. Still, the threat of going to court was scary. If the debt turned out to be real, there’s no way the Court would rule in my favor. I’d be a debtor and debtors are punished, their wages garnished, judgments entered against them, sheriffs looking to serve paperwork on ‘em, and not to mention the instant inflation of attorneys’ fees tacked onto the debt once papers are officially filed. I’d be screwed. So paying the piper and avoid the stress seemed like the best option. But something didn't feel right about Erin and my intuition was going haywire. 

When Erin called the next day, I had no plan. 

“We want to resolve this matter with you but we need you to make a payment TODAY.” She emphasized. 
“Here’s the thing, you’re not on my credit report, I haven’t found any information about this alleged account, you aren't giving me the account number, so I’m done. I've decided I’m not going to pay you. Do what you have to do and don’t call me back.” 
“So you’re refusing to pay?” 
“I’m not refusing to pay, I’m telling you I can’t pay for something you can’t produce legitimacy of.”
“Didn't you get my email with the account information I sent yesterday?” Uhm….no. “I’ll resend it and call you back in a couple of hours.” YES!!! An email with something to reference! How did I miss it?

I anxiously waited for her email while fumbling with the possibility of a sheriff stopping at my office to serve me with paperwork in front of everyone. Or in the alternative, forking over $555 bucks that I didn't really have. But alas, Erin’s email came through with an attached letter that appeared pretty legit. It was written on letterhead that indicated the company was headquartered in New York, contained my personal information, and made reference to a case number. It was everything I needed to legitimize her claims. Only instead, I discovered that I was the potential victim of a sophisticated scam artist. Debunked! I couldn’t wait to let Erin know the curtain was up. That bitch almost had me.  

So I replied to her email: 


I looked into this and I am confident that you are part of a debt scam. This debt is not on my credit report, you are not listed as a collector on my credit report, there are hundreds of people online indicating that you are scammers, and you're not listed in New York's business entity database. 

If you are certain that you are not a scammer, I encourage you to send me the account number associated with the alleged debt, as well as any offer to resolve the alleged debt via USPS to the physical address you have on file. 

Otherwise, do not contact me again. Either way, I will be reporting you to the FTC. 

BAM! I felt liberated but still, they almost had me. They literally ALMOST had me. What if I didn't know a subpoena had nothing to do with initiating a legal action? What if I didn't know to look up their business on New York’s entity database? I could've easily been suckered into giving my card info to some loser over the phone who would've done god knows what with it. Normally I’m not so foolish but SHE CALLED ME AT WORK. How the heck did they know my work number? 

But now I know better. And I want you to know better too. So if you ever get caught up in a similar phone call, here’s how to debunk their claims: 
  • Check your credit report. All debts and corresponding collectors are listed. If it’s not there, it’s probably not legitimate. 
  • Ask what state the collection company is conducting business in. Once you know that, you can run a search on that state’s business entity directory. Any legitimate business will be registered as “Active.” If no results show up, that business doesn't exist (or it’s operating illegally). 
  • If you’re super paranoid or the scammer is super smart and using a legit business as a front, google the phone number their calling from. My scammers called from “unknown” but the letterhead had a number on it which revealed a plethora of online reports indicating the number on the letterhead was associated with group of scammy scammers. 
  • Google the company name for any info you can get. Do they have a website? Are they listed on the Better Business Bureau? 
  • Don’t let their threats scare you into paying them. Any offers made telephonically should also be put in writing and sent to you via regular mail. Offers that are emailed don’t hold the same authenticity as mailed correspondence. If they won’t mail something to you, red flag. If they don’t have a website, red flag. If they cant give you an account number, red flag. 

Erin has followed my instructions and hasn't contacted me since my email to her. And though I’m relieved to know I’m not going to be taken to court this week, I wish I would've held out a bit longer, played along, and taken more steps to get her exposed. But hey!!! At least I won’t pee in my pants the next time someone calls me regarding a “personal and confidential matter.” Losers!

The seemingly legit letter. Redacted and comments added. 

April 22, 2015

Isn't Anyone Concerned?

Two years into Dylan’s life and I’m just waiting for a cop to show up at the front door to arrest me for some sort of hard knock crime I'm not responsible for. I worry about the passerby who strolls past my abode and hears the shrilling screams and death calls my toddler emits throughout the day. I almost feel compelled to stick a sign in the yard with a terrible-twos disclaimer just to ward my reputation. 

You see, I've been a big supporter of the wild ride that is Dylan’s emotional flux since the very beginning. My kid has always been a super emotional brute who feels things intensely and as a result, cries. A LOT. Over many things. The normal stuff and the fussy stuff. Seatbelt too tight, wrong tone, wrong movement, wrong word, wrong snack, wrong part of the day, mom didn't catch a bird...anything at any time can  can trigger a full-blown snotty, pierce-pitching meltdown. Though I can usually tell when Dylan is teetering into a tail spinning crisis, I'm clueless as to why things get him worked up as much they do other than they just do.

His kidnap pitch is some next level shit and it isn't used sparingly because it's triggered by being misunderstood; and when you're 2, that's pretty common. Everything is a hypothesis. And even if I do figure out that yelping the word “soon” is actually a request for a “spoon,” there's no guarantee that I get to pass Go and collect $200.  The consequence for failing to understand Dylan the first ten times comes in the form of decibels that the whole neighborhood gets to enjoy.  (Sorry guys.)

Still, I'm trying. Aka I continue to play the toddler-speak version of charades and patiently anticipate the day authorities will knock down the door in response to Dylan's, “HELP! MY MOM IS TRYING TO SKIN ME ALIVE!” sounds. And quite frankly, what's taking so long?

April 15, 2015

Enlightenment Via Hot Wheels

“There’s no throwing toys Dylan.” I said sternly, trying my very best not to lose my shit in the face of a rebellious toddler. Deep breath. Dylan stared, maintaining a “what are you going to do about it?” type of look. He should’ve been cleaning up the dozens of toys littered on his bedroom floor like I asked, but the request angered him. So instead, he chucked a monster truck at my head. No respect. Exhale. 

It was one of those parenting moments when the threshold for nonsense is tested. Dylan’s insubordinate behavior was becoming more common, less surprising, and increasingly intolerable. And though the tantrums were as prevalent and predictable as soup du jour, I wasn’t hungry today and refused to be served. “Pick up your toys and put them away,” I urged, handing him a basket for his heap of plastic junk. He picked up another truck and blatantly threw it against the wall. OH MY GOD THIS CHILD WANTS ME TO LOSE IT. 

There were a lot of ways I could’ve reacted. I could’ve insisted, I could’ve put him in time-out, I could’ve ignored him, spanked him, yelled, I could’ve left him in his room and closed the door behind me with a threat or two. But today, none of that felt fruitful. There was something about being struck in the head for the umpteenth time that pushed me way past irritation and straight into a state of detached observation. So I looked around and asked myself, “Am I creating a monster?” 

“You’re not listening to mom so I’m taking your toys away.” He began wailing. Predictable. He’s only 2, but he gets it. I acted assertively, collected the bounty of playthings and walked into the kitchen and placed the basket in plain but unreachable sight. He followed me. “You can have your toys back when you start listening to mom.” He continued to cry. “It’s okay to be upset.” I said in conclusion. And then I moved on, seemingly. 

Later that night, the conglomeration of recent and ongoing bratty offenses were getting to me. Taking his toys away hadn’t occurred to me before, and in a lot of ways I felt responsible for Dylan’s intense reactions to daily life. I felt like the mom I wanted to be and the mom I was becoming were miles apart. I didn’t want to fight with Dylan, I wanted to play. I didn’t want to end the day scolding him, I didn’t want to be responsible for his misery, I wanted to keep him happy no matter what. But that’s not quite how parenting works. 

Suddenly the expression my dad’s face used to make when he punished me growing up was recognizable. It’s the face I make when I have to do something I don’t really want to do, like playing the disciplinarian. Taking away all of my kid’s toys as he sobs, begs, and calls out for “mommy” is hard on me- I’m a spoiler by nature. And though folding to Dylan’s requests feels easier in the moment, intellectually I know that there is no greater act of disservice I could perform than to nurture a perfectly good child into becoming a spoiled brat. 

And then it hit me (no, not the truck). If I eliminate the emotional urge to keep my son happy, I’m the detached observer who isn’t in the business of appeasing children into monsters. And that my friends IS the mom I want to be. So shout out to Hot Wheels for the enlightenment and kudos to Dylan for knocking some sense into me. But do not test me child, I will snap you in half.

April 8, 2015

A Week of Silence: Day 3...Starting to Go Cuckoo

Dear 2 Year Old Son of Mine,

I know you're spring breaking your life away with Grandma but GUESS WHAT? I miss you. Tonight will be your 4th night sleeping somewhere other than home and I'm going a bit crazy. I'm not kidding.  

When I got home from work yesterday, I plopped my purse right on the couch without worrying about your little grubby hands making their way to the pack of mints sitting inside of it. It was kind of nice not having to think of or act on the hypothetical outcomes toddler life produces. And after that, I rolled out my yoga mat and began leisurely stretching with no toy cars using my mat or my stomach as a highway. I was a free woman in the zone Dylan! 

But then I heard it- the wailing sounds of my only son coming from somewhere in the house. MY BABY! For a moment I hushed myself so as to focus on the cries, only to realize it was a sham. You weren't home and neither were your howls. Damn phantom baby.

Your absence is unavoidably noted by the incessant state of silence you left behind. And it's been reported that you haven't cried nor asked for me, so it's not like my mother's intuition defied time and space and tapped into your realtime weeps. Psh, thanks a lot. Though I appreciate the stress you're sparing my weary heart through your lack of "I want mom" sobs, COME ON! REMEMBER MOM!? MENTION HER. 

I'm officially counting down the days until your return and look forward to the noise you'll be bringing home with you. Cries and all! Thanks for being a good boy for Grandma *knocking on wood*! 

And by the way, I hope the phantom voices are mutual and that you hear phantom mom telling you how much she loves you. If not, you're probably not listening hard enough because my heart is always singing sweet songs of loving you. Have fun at Grandmas you crazy little spring breaker!

I love you Ding Ding!


Your mom (if you even know who that is)

April 6, 2015

A Week of Silence: Day 1

There are things I love doing that my schedule doesn’t allow me to do as much as I’d like, such as working out, yoga, reading fiction, writing, reading blogs, sleeping-in, and sitting around. Instead, my time is spent focusing on chaos management aka running around trying to keep a 2 year old from climbing atop and falling off of tables. You know, mom stuff. But this morning was different. 

In place of the typical early morning bellows, “MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMY! COME HERE!” seeping from my toddler’s room, there was silence. 

And I knew the silence was coming, that the enclosure of Dylan’s school for a Spring Break recess would result in either taking a week off of work or asking a family member to watch him. So when Grandma agreed to take Dylan, I knew he’d be in good hands and that I wouldn’t have to worry. In fact, I was a bit excited for all the free time Spring Break would allot me. But the silence? I wasn’t all that prepared for. 

Dylan’s not screaming because he dropped (threw) his truck. There’s no whining for treats or begging for candy ten minutes before dinner. There’s no stupid children’s song piercing my ears with its redundancy, no cups falling to the floor and clinking, no beeping emitting from some ridiculously annoying toy that someone who clearly hates me gifted my son, and there’s no laughter. No giggles. No pretend play, no singing, no “love you mommy,” and no good morning. 

It’s only day 1 without Dylan and I already miss my rambunctious toddler pulling at my leg and demanding I take him to the park. I even miss his sassy little “I DON’T KNOW MOMMY!” when I ask him questions he damn well knows the answer to. This is the loudest silence I’ve heard in two years. 

So yeah, Dylan’s doing fine. But Mom? She’s trying to remember there’s yoga to do, writing to write, blogs to read and free time to be had! But damn, that silence is almost too loud to concentrate.

April 1, 2015

I Refuse to Look Like a Leather Bag

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HeartYourSkin #CollectiveBias

I’m a super white California girl. This means my poor skin is constantly exposed to the ultimate aging accelerator: sunshine. Sure, a 75 degree winter sounds great when your car is buried in snow, but let’s compare our arms in 25 years when I look like a leather purse. It’s not cute. Healthy skin is obviously a concern of mine, but let’s be real….anti-aging is what I’m really focused on- I am Californian, after all. We want to be 20 FOREVA! And maybe I can be because the first anti-aging body lotion for the masses just hit the market in the U.S. and it’s called NO-AD Prevent & Repair and it comes in lotion and spray form. 

OMG! I’m all over it…or it’s all over me. Whatever. All I know is that when it comes to my skin regimen, I take every preventive aging measure I possibly can...for my face. I wash morning and night, I exfoliate, I use serums, eye creams, and smother my face in SPF containing moisturizers. But aging takes place everywhere, not just the face. And as a girl who was pretty much raised on the beach, I can tell you that one the first places the effects of time makes their mark is the chest. Not cool Mother Nature, not cool. 

But I’m willing to try anything in the name of keeping my skin moisturized, healthy, youthful, and bright. NO-AD has two different varieties of anti-aging lotions for regular daily use: Prevent & Repair and Prevent & Brighten. Both are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and SPF 15. At this point, I’m hoping my bank account isn't reading because I have to confess that I have no problem throwing down $50 for two ounces of an anti-aging product, but NO-AD body lotions are cheap! You can pick up 12 ounces of lotion greatness at Walmart for less than $10 bucks. AMAZING!!!!

I’m a big believer in this product, not just because I’m vain (though I shamelessly am), but because I plan on living for a very long time and keeping my skin healthy by lathering up in vitamin riddled moisturizers is crucial to that intention. I’m so committed to anti-aging (almost obsessively) that I would use NO-AD Prevent & Repair under any circumstances, even if it smelt like gunk! But it doesn’t. It smells like heaven in a bottle! Does this keep getting better or what? 

Wait. I do have a complaint: WHAT TOOK SO LONG?! Had NO-AD Prevent & Repair been available 10 years ago, I’d still look 16!

P.S. If you're feeling me, you can determine the store where you can buy the brand-spanking new NO-AD products here, and can even print out a coupon to save $2 to use at those stores by clicking here