Citibank Banksters

Some people are offended by remarks that I post concerning my issue with Citibank. Maybe they have friends or relatives who work there, and my apologies to them. I know not all employees of Citibank are BAD people, some just work there because it’s a job, a paycheck, and they have bills to pay. Most of the people that I’ve met who work there, the ones with a conscience, eventually get out of there. They go on to work for Property Management companies, or law enforcement agencies.

The others are the ones I feel sorry for, the ones who cheat, lie and steal from customers, just to keep their jobs. If one believes in Heaven and Hell, well, they know where they are going. Cheating, Lying, Stealing, I believe are all addressed in the 10 Commandments.

Today is Sunday, the “Day of Rest”. I’d love to be able to rest, but I can’t. I work 3 jobs during the rest of the week, in order to pay off a debt that never should have been. A debt that an 85-year-old woman with documented dementia was booked into, encumbering her house. The house now belongs to me, and if I don’t pay off that loan, I lose the house.

I have to take care of a house and a yard. I don’t have automatic sprinklers. I COULD have, if I didn’t have this huge debt to pay off, pissing thousands of dollars away per year, paying off a debt that was never proven.

I can’t afford a gardener, so I have to do it myself. I do not have a green thumb, and my lawn is shrinking. Should I just let it all die, and just have patches of dirt in my front yard? I can’t even afford to plant cactus and have rocks, like a desert scene, because that costs money, money I have to piss away each month, going towards nothing.

I have to buy my food at warehouse stores. “Organic”? Ha Ha…what’s that? Buying “‘generic” and lower quality produce (i.e. exposed to chemicals) probably has a lot to do with the fact I can’t lose weight, and am having liver problems….my body is full of toxins.

Weekly trips to the “Dollar Store” where I buy my generic cleaning products and laundry detergent. I “brown bag” it to work. Going out to lunch-or even coffee-with a friend, is a “splurge”.

I often think of those Citibank employees, driving their new cars, and riding their Harleys (Like Mr. Rogers), while I have to plan routes to work and stores, so that I don’t waste gas.

A friend recently asked me “What do you do for entertainment?” meaning “How do you afford entertainment?”. Easy. I just go to things that are free, or stay home and watch DVDs I check out from the library. Finally, someone bluntly asked me “How do you afford to go to the Emmys?”. Well, that’s not “entertainment”, that’s a “business trip”. It’s not exactly a “write off” (yet!), but in hopes of selling my script about my Citibank ordeal, I go to the awards shows, because everybody (producers, directors, other writers) are all there.

I’m hoping and praying that someday, someone, somewhere, will make Citibank “pay” for what they’ve done, not only to me, but to probably hundreds of thousands of people. I’d love to be a witness for the prosecution. Every one of the evil people I had to deal with in my Citibank issue would be implicated. It would make “Operation Rezone” look like child’s play….

Free Appraisal of your Looks

Twice a year, a local Medi-Spa has an event I’ll call “Girl’s night out”. It’s where they offer great prices on things like Botox, Facials, goop that makes your eyelashes grow longer/thicker, and expensive skin care line products. I go to this spa maybe a few times a year for facials. I have never used Botox, thought I’ve been bluntly told “You’d look more youthful if you got  Botox”.

As I look around at many of the women who work at this Medi-Spa, I notice that they have seemingly “plastic”, expressionless faces, or the skin on their faces doesn’t match the rest of the body’s skin tone, because they’ve been using products to lighten the “hyperpigmentation”. (Think Michael Jackson).

As I passed by the Laser hair removing machine, an Asian man attending the machine asked me if I’d ever had Laser Hair removal done. I looked him squarely in the face and said “I’m part Asian, and I’m part Native American…I don’t have excessive body hair” and I walk on.

Next, I pass by the longer/thicker eyelash serum. Again, I get the pitch “Have you ever tried….?”. Yes, I have. Loreal’s version. It costs about $6, where your’s costs around $200. Thanks, but no thanks.

The Botox lady is beautiful, but she looks like a mannequin. Her face looks “tight”, and her nose is pointed. She just looks “Unnatural”. She reminds me of the Blonde woman in the store on Rodeo Drive in the movie “Pretty Woman”. Sure, she’s “gorgeous”, but something seems “off”. I move on.

Finally, I come to the Indian (As in “From India”, not “Come to my Casino” Indian, like me), who has a ghosty-gray face against the rest of her otherwise brown skin. She asks me if I’ve used the product. Well, yes, I’ve used some of the products from that particular (and very expensive, I might add) line. She doubts me. She tells me I have “hyperpigmentation”. I tell her I’ve just come from a swimming pool, as one of my jobs is teaching Aqua Aerobics. I don’t have make up on. She goes on and on about my “hyperpigmentation”. I sigh out of frustration with her, and said “Look, I’m a redhead, are you sure it’s not freckles?”. She gets huffy and very snidely says “It’s hyperpigmentation….from the sun”. No kidding? From the SUN? Go figure! I storm off.

I refuse to be bullied into buying a product that is way overpriced, and makes your face look freakishly unnatural. Sure, I’d like to have perfect skin, and a perfect body, but being closer to 60 than I am to 50, I think I look pretty darned good.

Facebook comments

Some people take Facebook comments WAY too seriously. A year or so ago (I don’t really remember, it’s not that important to me), I made a comment about a photo of a guy’s 2 sons. They were cute, and also looked old enough to be young adults. It wasn’t a risque comment, just something about how they’re “Cougar Bait”. Now, with all the T-shirts going around saying “Cougar Bait”, I thought this was a compliment. This guy’s over reaction to my comment made me feel as though he was practically accusing me of being some sort of pedophile!

The worst part of it was, he felt he had to “EXPLAIN” to me why he didn’t like my comment, and that I needed to immediately remove this comment from his Facebook page. What the….? Couldn’t he just hit the delete button on my comment? I was at work, could only read the message on my cell phone, but would have to get to a computer in order to delete the comment.

Well, I couldn’t just get up from my desk (where I had no access to a computer), and go to the Library where there was a computer (that runs as slow as molasses), I had to wait until my lunch break to do so. I ended up not having lunch that day, because I had to go to the library, and wait for the computer to come up (slow as molasses, remember?), log in, find the comment, and delete it. I also deleted him from my “Friends” list. It’s just easier that way.

Since the incident, this guy has tried to get back in my good graces, and has tried to “friend” me again, but I just don’t have time for that. I have over 600 friends on Facebook, and he’s just not that important to me. He’s not someone I could call if my car broke down in the middle of the night on a lonely road, or anytime, for that matter. In fact, I don’t believe I even had his phone number.

This is the same guy who used to post horrible photos he took of me at social gatherings. You know, the kind that for some reason expand to make you look twice your normal size? To me, that’s far worse than a comment about someone’s kids being cute. But I never sent him a message saying “Hey, I don’t like this photo you took of me, I hid it” or whatever. I just untagged the photo and let it go.

We’re big boys/girls now. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So, if someone’s comment on your Facebook page doesn’t please you, just delete it. Don’t rub their nose in it like you’d rub a dog’s nose in its own feces to show it that it did something wrong. Unfriend them if necessary. If they’re constantly posting offensive things on your Facebook page, arguing with your friends, putting people down, etc., you’re far better off just “unfriending” them and letting it go.

Then, if they ask you why you unfriended them, you can tell them, but not until then. Don’t bring a gun to a knife fight.

Words of advice to “Celebrities” at Awards Shows

1. You are there. Your peers have nominated you. You should be flattered. If you do not win, do not sulk. Do you know how many people in the world would give their eye-teeth to be in your shoes?

2. Don’t “diss” your fans. These are the people who love/admire you, simply for your work. I can’t think of many people that I love for their work, except for my dentist and his remarkable cosmetic dentistry. Oh, and my hairdresser, who can perfectly match my natural color.

3. Even if you don’t win, smile. Be happy for those who do win. Their show may be cancelled the next season, and you may still be working 10 years from now. Your turn will come, and even if it doesn’t, keep in mind, it’s an honor just to be nominated.

4. Thank the writers, thank the writers, thank the writers. Your show/movie begins with them.

5. Thank the Producer, the Director, and the crew. These people work the same long hours that you do, and go unrecognized for their hard work, for the most part.

6. Thank God, or whomever you consider to be a higher power, for helping get you where you’re at. Yes, a lot of hard work goes into getting into the business, but sometimes you get an unexplainable boost from an unidentifiable source.

7. Don’t use winning an award as a  platform for which you can express your political views. Save that for another time.

8. Be gracious to your fans. Even if you have a personal battle going on, it only takes a minute or two to make someone’s whole day/month/year/life. Meeting you for a split second may have been a dream of theirs for many years. Remember, fans go with the territory. Without them, you would not be where you are.

9. If you’re nominated for an award, try to be at the ceremony, unless you absolutely cannot attend. People are expecting to see you there, the least you can do is show up. And again, there are millions of people who’d gladly go in your place, just to be at the event.

10. Again, don’t sulk if you don’t win. Don’t act like a bratty child, it’s not going to do you any good, and will just make you look like an ass, Steve. Smile, pose for photos, give an autograph. You have one of the most coveted jobs in the world.

10 Rules if you’re going to an Awards show in Hollywood with me…

1. Behave yourself. The Actors are on their best behavior for this event, you should be, too.
2. Don’t yell/wave at the talent (celebrities). Even though you know who they are, they don’t know you.
3. Keep in mind, this is a “business trip” for me. I do want to be able to “eat lunch in this town again”, even if it is YOUR last trip.
4. Don’t ignore me or leave me sitting by myself just because the show is over. Remember, I’m the one who got you there.
5. Don’t interject your comments/ideas when I’m in the middle of a conversation with a writer/producer/director. Again, I want to “eat lunch in this town”.
6. Don’t think you can just “meet up with me” on the day of the show. Either go with me the entire trip, or don’t go at all.
7. Don’t complain. Ever. About anything. Remember, this may be a “once in a lifetime chance” for you. This is the biggest event in the Universe on that night. You are there. Be grateful for that. Keep in mind I have a “waiting list” of guests who’d gladly replace you.
8. Don’t “expect” anything. Don’t “expect” to get photos with the celebrities, or meet your favorite celebrity, or even see your favorite celebrity. Again, you’re there, period. Not everyone gets to go to these events.
9. Don’t act “fake”. Don’t speak in an “affected” manner, and don’t refer to the event as “rubbing elbows with the stars”. Again, this is “business” for me, “loose cannons” will not be tolerated.
10. Try to “blend in”. Don’t stand out in a bad way by saying things like “I don’t see anyone I recognize, do you see anyone you recognize?!” when we’re on the red carpet.

Substitute Teaching

I don’t believe that anyone plans a career as a substitute teacher. It’s usually college students getting their credential, recent graduates of a teaching program, or retired teachers that are substitute teachers. However, there is the occasional college graduate, who has passed the test in order to teach, and cannot find other work (either due to a poor economy, or just lack of jobs) that becomes a substitute teacher. 

I started substitute teaching a year-and-a-half after I graduated from college and had not landed in a career I’d planned for. A friend had also chosen to substitute teach after she’d been laid off from the Social Worker job she’d gotten right out of college. 

She made it sound so easy. She said she’d get up at 6:30am, plug in her rollers (hot curling set), go back to bed, and wait for the phone to ring.

After being laid off of a “temp” job I’d had for almost a year, I decided to sign up for substitute teaching. It was the first time in history that my local school district had to advertise in the “help wanted” section of the paper for substitute teachers.

I started working the day after I registered with the school district. I got a Kindergarten class. My  Mom told me “All you have to do is read to them all day”. She could not have been more wrong. A Kindergartener’s attention span is shorter than that of a Hummingbird. It’s hard to read to them when you are constantly being interrupted with “He hit me!”, “She’s farting”, “Can I go to the bathroom?”, “We heard that one already” (referring to the book I’m trying to read), and “How do you spell….?”.

After a few “hit and misses”, I found that High School was my niche’. It was much easier to go into a classroom, read the lesson plan, jot a few notes on the board, and hand out a worksheet left by the well-prepared teacher.

Sure, there were problems from time to time, but for the most part, the high schoolers seemed the easiest to deal with. They could potty themselves, go to lunch without having to line up and be walked to the cafeteria by the teacher, and, at the end of the day, did not have to be walked out to the bus.

The hardest part was getting out of the parking lot at the end of the day.

As years passed, I thought about what I was going to do “with the rest of my life”. Paralegal was supposedly the “up and coming profession”, so, I plunked down $5,000, and went to Law School for a year. We were told the first night of class that we’d make $50-an-hour, and jobs would be WAITING for us upon completion of the program.

Not so. Lawyers were paying $10-an-hour for paralegals, and jobs were NOT waiting for us when we got out.

Have you ever tried to get a paycheck out of an Attorney? While I’m sure it’s not true of ALL Attorneys, it certainly seemed to be the case with the ones I worked for. I still recall the weekend the attorney I was working for took off on vacation, and conveniently “forgot” to pay me.

So, I went back to substitute teaching, as I knew the school district would always cut me a paycheck.

Years went by, and I found myself taking care of my aging mother. Substitute Teaching was great in that I was almost always out by 3:00pm, and didn’t have to take work home with me, nor make lesson plans for the next day. I didn’t work evenings or weekends. The money was OK, and actually more than what I had been making at the “temp” job, and for the attorneys.

Then, one day, I landed a “long term” position at a brand new school in town. A friend was out on medical leave (surgery) and I took over her classes. I had to create fun and interesting lesson plans to keep the students engaged.

While in the teacher’s workroom one day, I said something to the affect that not all “subs” would be….well, “smart” enough…to have gone to the Media center to check out materials as I had. Then, I got the “slap in the face” from one of the “regular” teachers at the school. She said (with sort of a nasal whine in her voice) “Well, if you were SMART, why would you be a SUB, why wouldn’t you be a TEACHER?”.

Just because I had not chosen to go back and get a full credential, did not make me “stupid”. In fact, I might even venture to guess that my IQ is actually higher than the teacher who made the remark.

I guess it doesn’t occur to some people that “Life Happens”. Just because someone had a teaching credential, it does not guarantee that they will be hired as a full-time teacher!

Some people “choose” to be Substitute Teachers as they do not want the responsibility of having the same class for an entire school year, deal with the parents, grades, having to chaparone events, proms, dances, etc. Also, most teachers at some time or another, must be a club sponsor, or coach a sport.

Sure, teachers get paid 4 times what subs get paid, but they have to work for it, too.

Citibank and Elder Abuse

Five years ago, my mother passed away, and left me with a little surprise, more of a “Pandora’s Box” to be exact. As my mother got on in age, she began to lose her mental capabilities. She just couldn’t figure things out quite like she used to. She entrusted others to “think for her”. She had been banking at the same location for over 40 years. A little branch located at the corner of Blackstone & Ashlan, in Fresno, CA, had changed banks several times, but my mother kept her accounts there, regardless of what bank took over. Finally, Citibank settled in. My mother had had the same personal banker for many years, and trusted the woman. “Frannie”, an older woman, seemed to be the kind of person my mother could trust to lead her in the right direction, financially. I never cared much for Frannie, as she was always a little “cold” towards me.

But it wasn’t until my mother died that I found out what Frannie’s character was truly like. Once I cancelled my mother’s checking account, I started getting calls from a collections agency, saying that the loan payment had not been received.

My mother, having grown up during the depression, really knew how to handle money, to make it go as far as you could stretch a penny. I couldn’t imagine why she’d have taken out a loan. To make a long story short, she’d been talked into a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) loan, but I couldn’t imagine what for! When I went into the branch to ask Frannie about it, she told me that it was “Private” and that I would “Just have to pay it off”.

Now, it seems to me, if a person is told they must pay something off, they have a right to know what it’s about. It was obvious Frannie didn’t want me to know.

Come to find out, if I did not pay it off, I would lose my house (the house I inherited upon my mother’s death). I still didn’t know why my mother had taken out a loan in the first place. It was a 30-year-loan, for $10,000, with a 3-year prepayment penalty, at a rate of interest of 10.75%!!!!

It wasn’t until I posted on the Citibank US Facebook page that I actually got some answers. The Client Liason in New York sent me a letter telling me that my mother allegedly had been overdrawn on her checking account. and the interest charge was 26.25%! The overdraft had grown to over $4,500 before my mother was alerted, and her banker, Frannie, felt it would be best for my mother to take out this HELOC loan, to pay off Citibank! My mother had over $9,000 in her savings account. Why not draw from that? And…why not alert me, since my name was also on the checking account? I had no idea my mother was ever overdrawn, as she had worked as a bookkeeper at one time, and could “balance her checkbook to the penny”.

I protested this loan, and was put in contact with an Operations Supervisor Manager Senior Vice President by the name of Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers was very curt with me over the phone, and in fact, sounded like a sassy middle-school-aged boy.

After spinning my wheels for several years, I finally got a meeting with Mr. Rogers, who was so inept, he did not even know the address of the building where we were to have the meeting, in spite of the fact it was on his business card!!!

Luckily for me, I’d discovered his Facebook page just a day or two before the meeting, and had made copies of it. It really made him look like an ass, in my opinion.

At the meeting (I took a friend along, as a witness), Mr. Rogers turned red in the face, sweated, sputtered, and lied. I knew it would do no good to argue with him, as he just talked louder over me whenever I spoke.

I got my revenge, however, when I sent letters of complaint to his superiors here in Fresno, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and New York, and enclosed a copy of his Facebook page for each one to see.

Have you ever heard the legal term “The thing speaks for itself”? Well, Mr. Rogers’ Facebook page indeed spoke for itself. He listed his occupation as “Ops Guy, Citibank, I help run the joint”. Education: “School of life, living, working.” USMC: “Taking names, kicking ass.” and last but not least, Music: “Everything but crap like jazz”.

Oh, did I happen to mention that I’m 5’6″, and Mr. Rogers was shorter than me?

I’m still trying to get back the $18,000 plus I feel that Citibank owes me….