Friday, April 30, 2010


So much for my improved credit rating. Apparently Wells Fargo thinks I shouldn't have a credit card.

The form letter I received in the mail today says that the reason I was denied the card was because there's a bankruptcy in my credit history. Apparently my actual credit rating means nothing, nor does my personal history with Wells Fargo Bank. Never mind the fact that I have a savings and checking account through them, with direct deposit from my regular, full-time job.

Nope. I made some mistakes in my past and filed bankruptcy. That's enough.

This worries me. I'm afraid I'm never going to be able to get a loan for anything ever. And I'm afraid the only credit card they'll be willing to give me is a Capital One card with a $250 limit and 30% interest rate.

This new development is not helping my general mood lately. I've been struggling with motivation all over the place, and I've just been overall feeling down. It's not cool. The only thing I want to do in my leisure time these days is watch sappy movies. Oh, and plan my trip to Vegas. Not sure what's going to happen with that now that I can't get a credit card, though. I guess I'll just have to stash away more money.

At least I don't have to go to work tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Midwestern Glare

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that anyone reading this blog knows about life in the Upper Midwest. I've lived in Minnesota my whole life, and people who know me have probably visited here, if not lived here for at least a little while. I have a feeling you've all experienced or done the thing that I'm talking about today.

Have you ever been in a movie theater and been annoyed because someone behind you was talking? When this happens, do you say something, or do you just look over your shoulder and glare in the direction where you think the noise is coming from? The latter is the Midwestern Glare. Not wanting to cause any additional distraction, the generally polite Midwesterner will choose the silent approach to shutting up an annoying movie-goer.

The Midwestern Glare is not limited to movie theaters. I never knew how bad it felt to be on the receiving end of The Midwestern Glare until this morning.

I listen to my iPod on my bus ride into work. I take the non-express bus because it's less crowded and a longer ride (so I can doze off if I so choose).

This morning, I was listening to a podcast by Paul and Storm. Funny, but not obnoxious (this time). I realized, maybe five minutes into the bus ride, that I could hear hip-hop music that was certainly not coming from my podcast. The sound was emanating from somewhere behind me. Like any good Minnesotan, I looked over my shoulder and delivered the Midwestern Glare. The guy I assumed was the culprit had his eyes closed. Likely sleeping (though how anyone could sleep through music playing that loudly directly into his ears is beyond me).

Naturally, nothing came of it. I ignored it and continued listening to my podcast.

Later on, close to the end of my bus ride, I noticed at least 3 other people on the bus who seemed to be annoyed by the loud hip-hop music. Keep in mind the fact that I could hear it clearly (almost clearly enough to make out the words) while I was listening to my own iPod on noise reducing headphones. It must have been really loud to the rest of the bus. Then I realized: those people weren't delivering the Midwestern Glare to the sleeping fellow a row behind me and across the aisle.

They were giving me the Midwestern Glare.

Really, people? Do I look like the kind of person who listens to hip hop loudly at 6:45 AM? Really? Just because I'm the only one you can see wearing visible headphones (they're hot pink) does not mean that I'm the only possible source for the sound you're hearing.

I was offended. Did I get any apology glances after Sleeping Guy got off the bus and the loud hip-hop music stopped? No. So I'm also kind of peeved.

But the whole situation makes me realize that the Midwestern Glare is something to be afraid of. It hurts when you get hit by the daggers someone shoots from their eyeballs. Maybe I should think about trying another form of righteous civilian discipline.

Of course, I did ask one time for the guy sitting next to me on a bus ride to turn his music down. He said nothing, and turned down his music ever so slightly. This same person sat down next to me a month later, again playing music far too loudly (and I realized that he was using a cell phone to play the music and wasn't using headphones). I asked him to turn it down. Again, he reduced the volume ever so slightly. I could barely notice.

So, in conclusion, nothing works - at least, not if you want to seem polite. Maybe next time I'll have to try yelling. That might work. Hopefully I'll be able to turn off both my "Nice Girl" gene and my passive aggressive gene - otherwise I don't think I'll be able to be mean.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I can't believe I haven't posted here in so long! How very unlike me.

Today I did something that I haven't done in a long time. Not seriously, anyway. I applied for a credit card.

"But wait!" you say. "Becky, you can't handle money! And you're doing all that saving stuff! You don't need a credit card! Did filing bankruptcy teach you nothing?"

Actually, filing bankruptcy taught me a lot. I was legally bankrupt four and a half years ago, after building up thousands of dollars in credit card debt. My car was repossessed (it's why I don't have one now). I couldn't make my student loan payments, and I was getting phone calls from collections people while I was at work. It was not a good situation. It got so bad that bankruptcy was my only option. I learned the hard way that all those little things add up. My once pristine credit rating was shot.

Since then, I've worked hard to live within my means. I had to borrow a little from my dad at first to get back on my feet, but thanks to a steady job, I was able to pay him back everything I borrowed (which was quite a lot, in the end, and I still feel terrible that I had to stoop so low - not that it was a bad thing, necessarily, but I just felt guilty, and I felt like a failure). My savings account started to see money again - and finally started accruing interest again. I got to the point where I could afford a good place to live and other previously optional amenities - like cable TV and high speed internet. I still don't have a car, but since I don't really need one I have a hard time justifying the expense. See? I learned something.

So what does this mean about me and credit cards? I learned from my mistakes. That much I know. But I also will be traveling a lot in the next year. Traveling without a credit card can be dangerous. What if something happens when I'm in Kansas City and I need an emergency flight home? I don't have the funds in my checking account to account for something like that. You never know what's going to happen. The credit card I applied for will be for emergencies only. ONLY. I might charge the occasional something here and there, but only small amounts to help rebuild my credit rating. I will pay it off every month.

My dad's rule is: if there's a month where you can't pay the full balance on your card, then you don't use it again until it's paid off. I can live by that rule. If all I charge is $20 a month, then it'll be no problem at all. That way, if an emergency happens, it won't break the bank trying to fix it. I'll be ok.

In other news, I made a fun quiz on Sporcle over the weekend. You should try it if you haven't yet! Famous Quotes, Bad Translations!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Flying While Fat, Part 2: Planning Ahead

Did you know that the typical airplane seat is only 17 inches wide? Granted, I haven't measured my fat ass lately, but I'm sure it's more than 17 inches, especially when sitting. I think one thigh alone is 12 inches in diameter.

I'm currently planning my birthday party in Vegas (the Second Annual 29th Birthday Party, or 29th Birthday 2: Electric Boogaloo). Because I will be flying out there on my actual birthday, I thought I'd look into what it will take to avoid any potential embarrassment at the airport - and to eliminate the need for me to worry about it.

In case you missed "Flying While Fat, Part 1," I explained there how I give myself a tension headache from worry every time I go to the airport. I'm always afraid that someone will raise a fuss about a fatty like me trying to squeeze into a seat for normal people. I don't want to worry about that anymore.

Admittedly, I will be losing weight over the summer. But there's no way I'll lose enough weight by then to be able to comfortably fit in an airline seat. Therefore, I've started my research. Below are some links to a few airlines and their policies for "Customers of Size."

- Southwest Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- United Airlines
- American Airlines

I have them arranged here from best to worst. Southwest seems most accommodating and considerate for those Flying While Fat. They also state that they're able to issue refunds 98% of the time for the extra ticket purchased. Conveniently, they also have some of the lowest fares to Vegas.

Very similar policy at Frontier. They're not quite as friendly in the FAQ as Southwest, but they do state similar qualifications for refunds for the extra ticket. Like Southwest, they also have low fares between Minneapolis and Vegas.

United is less friendly and doesn't mention anything about refunds, while American is almost mean about it. They make it seem like Flying While Fat is a crime and a personal insult to the airline. United is at least generous enough to waive the fees associated with buying an extra seat the day of travel, while American will charge you in any way they can. I'd like to point out that it also took considerable searching to find this information on their websites.

Delta Airlines didn't have anything listed (that I could find) on their website related to overweight passengers or "customers of size." I sent them a message, detailing Southwest's policy, asking if they have any procedure in place for their larger clientele. According to the form-letter response, they're busy and will respond within 48 hours. I'm curious what they will say.

Unless Delta comes forward and says they'll refund my extra ticket after the trip, I'm going to go ahead and follow either Southwest's or Frontier's policy and purchase the extra seat. One of the reasons I've been saving money this year is for a comfortable, fantastic trip for my birthday. If I can eliminate the need to worry myself over the flights, I'll be a much happier person. If I do, in fact, get the refund of that extra ticket? It'll be just like a birthday present.