Sunday, May 25, 2008

Banking and Phones

I haven't been in a real chatty Cathy mood this last month , so much so, that I have people calling or writing me, asking if anything is wrong . I guess that means I must talk a lot normally or something . Nothing is wrong I just didn't feel the need to do a lot of talking that's all . It could happen .

I do all the banking in our family which means I go to the bank to make the deposits or withdraws .I always find going to the bank a interesting adventure . First you have to find a place to park the car . This entails many times circling the block looking for a parking spot while trying not to get killed . After I have managed to accomplish that feat , I usually have to cross a very busy street to get to the bank . This can be VERY tricky . It is a matter of timing like a dance .

Our bank is housed in a building that was not originally designed to be a bank . So there are some very strange alterations in the building. It has crooks and cranes that you wouldn't normally see in a bank .Things aren't in the expected places and it has a back door which I find weird . Say you need to talk to the bank manager , you have to out the banks front door , walk around to the back door , knock on the door and say a magic pass word to some person on the other side of the door .They will then open the door for you . I am sure they change the password every five minutes . Now isn't that weird ?

Once inside the bank I always say hello to the guards at the door . I figure this is just good manners and also possible future insurance in case of … well , whatever , right ? When I first started going to the bank it was pretty dirty inside , especially for a bank . But then again this is Libya and some things are different here . The windows were so dirty , you couldn't see whether it was sunny or cloudy outside. The teller windows were made of glass that hadn't seen soap or water in maybe a hundred years . When talking to the teller , they were unable to hear what you said … because there wasn't a speakers opening in the glass for the sound to travel through . The counters were chipped Formica , which isn't exactly bank décor and you could never find a pen to sign your documents with when you needed one . So frustrating !!! They had sad tired old style Venation blinds hanging at very odd angles from the windows that made me think of a old black and white movie from the 1940's

This all started to change this last winter . I would walked into the bank to find that they had cleaned the windows . So much light poured into the lobby it was almost blinding . Then another time I walked into the bank and had a serious shock . The pushing shoving throngs of people were missing . Everyone was sitting down calmly , silently waiting for some thing to happen . What it was , I wasn't too sure of , but then as I stood looking , I noticed a new machine just inside the main door . It was a number issuer machine . You were to take a number when you came in and then wait for your number to be called . I didn't know what amazed me the most , the modern machine with numbers , or the fact that the people were doing what they were supposed to in a well behaved manner . The next time I went to the bank , the teller windows were gone completely . The glass torn down , the space opened up and new counter tops gleamed back at you . They posted the Stock Exchange rates from around the world on a monitor for viewing , along side currency exchange rates .Wowow !!! A real bank was evolving here before my very eyes . Yesterday the tired dirty Venation blinds had been replaced by very tasteful shades that hang vertically in sleek splendor . And …… the floor had actually been mopped !!!! What next I ask myself ?

I think those of you that are readers of my blog might remember me mentioning the phone troubles we have had starting this past September . First it was static and clicking on the line so loudly that you couldn't have a conversation at all . Then the neighbor across the street manage to have their phone wires crossed with ours some how so that when ever they dialed a out going number , it rang in our house as well . Imagine 2 a.m. the phone ringing , waking you up from sound sleep , running to answer the phone with your heart in your mouth , thinking the worst might have happened to a love one , only to hear a series of clicks and beeps of a phone being dialed . This got old fast . We talked to the phone company so many times I have my own chair there . We talked to the neighbor . We complained to the phone company . We begged the phone company and once forced a line repair man to come into the building to check the lines before our very eyes . Each and every time we were assured that all was being done to correct the situation and all would be well … SOON ! Never happened !

Last month it was time to pay the bill , so I did that and all was OK . Oh , we still had the clicks , swishes , crackles , the humming , and the midnight hour phone calls , but at least when we plugged the phone in , it worked , sorta . Things were so bad that we mainly kept the phone unplugged to be free from the unwanted phone calls by the neighbor . This frustrates all our family and friends who take our phone not being plugged in very personally , but what to do , eh ? I am constantly being accused of being anti social . Moi !

Two weeks ago we had a new development , we could no longer dial mobile / cell numbers on our land line . There was some recording from Fatima Omar telling us we had to recharge our card . What card is she talking about ? What next Fatima ??? I took this personally , very . I felt as if I was being signaled out by the phone company for some sort of harassment or something . I hadn't heard of anyone else with this problem . Moe and I went to the phone company once AGAIN , this time to ask what Fatima was going on about a card to use our phone when it was a land line and not a mobile phone that uses cards . I mean we had paid our bill on time and didn't owe money .

The people at the phone company hadn't a clue at all as to what Moe and I were going on about . What Fatima Omar recording they asked . The one on our phone that says we need a card . Hum ? Of course you don't need a card for a land line they said assuredly .Maybe you owe on you phone bill ? No , I said here is my receipt of payment from last month . And so it went for two weeks , back and worth . Then , Eureka ! Some one said we had to go to the Post Office to buy a card that would enable us to make calls to mobile numbers once again from our land line . Oh Happy Days !!! It was a new system .

OK ! So , I did that . Went to the Post Office . Talked to a guy , asked all sorts of questions and he assures me that all I need is this card and all will be good once again in phone land . I could have a cheap one , where the money will run out fast , or a more expensive one that will last longer , or a subscription with a monthly charge . My thinking was to go with a expensive one to see how long it last , rather than a cheap one where I have to run back and worth every few days to buy a new card , like I see people with mobile phones doing . As for the subscription , well I already have that with the phone company , so why make life so complicated ? Long story short , two days AFTER I buy the card and use it for five minutes , really , the time is up .

This means another trip to the Post Office for more questions and few answers . This time I make Moe go with me . Now we get somewhere . The card I bought paid the phone account up to date , since the phone bills are always three months behind , but in this case , five . I didn't know that . No one at the phone company told us that ! Then secondly , we will no longer go to the phone company to pay our bill , but rather we will go to the Post Office to buy a phone card instead and pay as we go , or call as the case maybe . All this , and we still have the crackles , hissing , swishing , humming , and the midnight hour phone calls from the neighbors . Can things get any easier ? I am waiting for the bells to start any day now.

There is some good news , my grandson celebrated his first birthday last week .My oldest daughter discovered that she is two and a half months pregnant . We are all so excited over that news !!!! My youngest daughter is due to have her first baby in a couple of months . She had a scare this last week , but all is well now , AlHumdullallah ! Moe and I are rubbing along like two peas in a pod . Hope all is well with you and your loved ones too .


ibeebarbie said...

Salam One The Edge,
I was nearly pulling my hair out with the bank story and phone story. Good grief you poor thing--life really should be more simple, don't you agree? However, on the other end of things sounds like all is going well, alhamdullilah.

on the edge said...

Thanks for taking the time to write . I was so glade to hear your mom is doing so much better .Amira sounds like a very active little girl .I am sure she keeps you busy !!I don't know how you manage to do all the things you have to do .Allah bless you .

abdullah SH said...

iam happy 2 know somthing changed 2 d best in libya like ths bank wish all other places b better than now ...

about phone story ths happen exactly `e me d prob no when in libya tll u about new changes in any site u jst discover that accedentaly !!!
bt if u want my advice let phone land just 4 land calls & mobile 4 mobile calls cuz other than that wll increase cost of ur call ...
ex; land 2 land ....0.7
mobile (liby ) 2 (liby) ....0.15
land 2 mobile ( liby ) ...0.24