Jess seems to be having fun in London. A few emails from her and she's happily going along. The one problem is that her bank card that we got set up for her doesn't seem to work at all anywhere in all of England.
She took $100 over with her which translates to £50. (By the way, I've always wanted to HTML up some Pound symbol action. That's hot!)
That went pretty quickly. Her bank card has $700 on it and she's not a big spender so we figured she could withdraw £100 and that would be a nice amount of spending money and wouldn't drain her account and would leave lots of money for her trip to Germany.
The bank gave her a debit savings account, even though we wanted a checking account with the little Visa logo on the card, because that's accepted inside shops and is accepted pretty much everywhere. But due to her age they told us she couldn't HAVE one of those accounts. They assured us that she was all set for international banking at ATMs all over Europe with this perfectly cromulent account, and they got her ATM card to her in plenty of time. We tested it here, she withdrew money, she learned how to use it. Doug educated her on making sure she didn't use it in shops and didn't try to use it as a checking account withdrawal. She understood and merrily went on her way.
Well. It doesn't work.
The system says her account doesn't exist. She emails, I call bank. Bank says she tried to access Checking according to their records, which, as mentioned, she doesn't have. Her account is a Savings account. So I email her back tell her "you silly goose, pick savings" and figure it is all done there.
Still the bank card does not work. Bank says there is nothing they can do, everything is set up just right on her end. She goes INTO a bank, asks for help. They tell her that her card doesn't work, call her bank.
We looked into wiring her money via Western Union but the fees were just stupidly outrageous. She is now moneyless. Which could be worse, she could be traveling alone... but her meals and hotel and tickets to shows and all are completely paid for. She just doesn't have any shopping/fun money. So she's frustrated.
Doug and I both bemoaned the fact we didn't hand her money and have her change it over there. I didn't trust her not to lose her fat wad o'lolly somewhere on the streets of London. I pictured her taking photos of something and some Oliver Twist bastard sneaking up and pinching her wallet from her bag. Hey! Come back here! You filthy orphan! Street urchin! Bastard!
We should have just trusted her with the dosh. But no. We had to be all "this is better and if you lose it, we can cancel it before anyone uses it blah blah blah." Dumb bunnies we were.
Keri ended up loaning her $300, and on the same day I went over to one of her fellow traveler's parents' house and gave the mom $300 so she could put it in her son's account and her son could give Jess £150.
So now I guess I get my $300 back from Bank Of Ross and give it to Keri.
I felt frustrated and angry for the better part of four days. I can only imagine how Jessica felt... which then made me feel panic and fear. Which provided no sleep and rest for me. I do hope she's having a spectacular time, because I'm a headachy ball of stress right now.
I'll be happy when she's home.
Geoff will be coming home this evening or tomorrow morning, depending on how he answers our email to grandma. We decided to let him make the decision. Do you want to come home tonight or do you want to come home tomorrow morning. We'll see what he picks.
Grandma took him to see Gammy down the Cape and they went to a stamp collecting store to get more sheets for his book. I got him a freecycle book for stamp collecting and it had 3 sheets in it. Turns out those are coin sheets, but Geoff filled the slots with stamps. He likes them where they are so he kept the stamps in the coin sheets, and now has the official stamp sheets to fill up.
When he brought his collection down to my parents he had filled up all the sheets but still had about 200 stamps that needed homes. He needed to soak and peel and dry them, and I told him that he should do that when he was bored instead of playing video games. He showed my dad his collection, and my dad went out to the shed and pulled out these two huge binder books filled with stamps. He'd pulled them out of the trash in the early 1970s back in NY when he was at the dump one day. There are all these Hitler stamps and all kinds of crazy pre-WWII stamps. It is quite the collection. So my entire childhood he had these books, and I had no idea! The fact that he kept them and moved them up here with him is extra funny. After like 30 some odd years, he still has them.
Funny what you can learn about your parents.
So the week without children is almost over. I've not done anything productive or interesting with my kid free time. Doug and I did go out to dinner last night when I got home. That's about it.
It is weird not having them here and it occurs to me that in 10 years this is most likely what my life will be like all the time. The house will be way too big for us, we'll probably have fewer dogs so maybe we can buy a great condo in Newburyport and live there what with all our fabulous wealth... so it is a little disconcerting for me to start thinking along those lines. Who knows, perhaps I'll need to keep this house and make a room downstairs for one of my parents if the other should pass and one needs kept here. I don't know.
Don't hardly necessarily want to think about it either really. Right then. Off to work.