Be Careful What You Wish For

I've worked at my job for going on nine years. When I started, I was just to be part-time seasonal help and was to assist a guy who had a degree in this field. I'm not putting myself down, here, to be sure I can do my job. However, he occasionally would go off on a tangent and do things for farmers that really weren't in the realm of what he should have been doing and was over-reaching a bit. He definately was working outside my comfort zone.

Shortly after I started, he quit, leaving me with the job on a full-time basis. This also left me with more than one headache in the form of farmers that he had been working on these special "outside" projects with.

One such farmer we'll call Bud. Bud was a grouch from day one. He came into the office expecting to see my co-worker and when he found out he'd quit he was completely livid and didn't mince words about it. I had only been here about a month at the time, so wasn't quite ready to have someone blow up at me for something I had nothing to do with. Bud liked to do things his way. It wasn't good enough to have us go take his field samples, nooo… he had to take his own. Then he'd show up with his little diagrams of where they were in his field. Not to mention he had several different diagrams of what he wanted where and how and of course, none of it was GPS'd. It was measured with who-knows-what in the field and he came in with his maps and wanted things done using his diagrams and his measurements. Total pain in the ass, let me tell you. I mean, yeah… it can be done, but when it is the busy season I really don't have the time to spend three or four hours on one field!

The other thing he would do was to come up with his own formulas and he wanted us to plug them into our system and use them to apply his fertilizer. They were in no way usable with our system and would have to be re-worked. Something, I'm sorry to say, is way above my pay grade. Oh, wait. The guy above my pay grade is gone. It is just me.

After a conference with my boss, it was decided I didn't have the time, energy, or to be honest, the knowledge to continue pampering this one customer. Well, he took it badly. No surprise. After that he wouldn't even talk to me. He would look at me like I was the dumbest person on the planet. In a bizarre twist, he went completely the other way… instead of applying his product with variable rate GPS like we normally do, which was only a step away from what he was trying to do in his cobbled up way, he went right back to conventional blanket spreading. That's spreading one rate of product over the whole field whether it needs it or not. Totally backwards.

Bud always came off as being so superior to everyone. He drove me nuts. He had to be in his 60's and I found out he climbed mountains for "fun". The big ones. (Although I laughed because he always had help carrying his gear, I heard.) I would get so frustrated with him that I would often wish he'd just go on one of his trips and fall off the mountain. I know, evil of me, wasn't it?

I found out yesterday that a few months ago he died of a heart attack. Home, sitting in his computer chair. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. *note sarcasm* I know you aren't supposed to speak ill of the dead… but really? When they are such asshats in life, does it help to try and make them sound wonderful in death? I guess I don't think so. Obviously.

Camping Day 2 – Property of the Kingdom of God

Friday

Up early, Hubs had made his coffee, watched his morning TV and eaten breakfast. I woke to the sound of the dump trucks hauling rock in for the handicapped pier they were building across the driveway from the RV.

Showered, breakfast eaten, we decided to go ride the bike. I was wanting a leather coat for riding and we thought we'd make it a day trip of about 200 miles to a Harley dealership Hubs knew of in the northern part of the state. It was a beautiful day.

We started off, then detoured after about 20 miles and visited with some friends from the racing community that also happened to be farmers. A couple of hours sitting around their shop talking and we were ready to move on. Further up the road we had lunch, then rode on to the dealership.

I found a coat, on sale, and some gloves – you can't believe how cold your hands can get just riding along! We loaded up and headed back. Taking our time, we stopped for fuel and beverages and took a stretch break. By now my butt wasn't really bothering me, but my lower back was beginning to give out.

About 10 miles from the campsite I asked Hubs to pull over on a gravel road. I decided later it must have been a low blood sugar attack, but I felt dizzy, weak and light-headed and thought I was either going to pass out or throw up. I had some regular soda with me, so had a few swallows and lay on the grass for a bit until I felt better, then we pushed on the last little ways to the RV.

As we pulled in, we notice more campers all around us. They'd been coming in for the weekend. Hubs said "hi" to one couple and chatted with them a few minutes. Mr. "I-can-talk-to-anyone". He came back over and we were sitting outside having a beer and discussing what we were going to have for supper. Hubs tell me the people around us were from some church group and they were all wearing shirts that said "Property of the Kingdom of God". Um.. okay…

As we sat and visited, the noise level got louder and more campers continued to invade our space. People were walking past us to join up with the original group right next door. They had about twenty people gathered when we just looked at each other.

"Why are we sitting in a campground with more noise and people than we ever have at home?"

 "Good question"

"You know neither of us slept worth a damn last night and tonight isn't going to be any better – especially with this group of noisy people right next door."

"Yea"

"You know we are both missing our critters."

"Yea"

"You know we talked about going home tomorrow… but we could be home by our own firepit, cooking in our own backyard and have more privacy and quiet than we have here, right now."

"Yea"

'We could be home before dark."

"Okay."

We were on our way home with the bike five minutes later and came back to get the RV 30 minutes after that. It took us about 10 minutes to pack up the RV for travel and we were home by 8 p.m.

Happily home.

Where we proceeded to sit out on the deck, overhanging the creek, in the woods, surrounded by our critters and listening to the locusts and the frogs and the woodland creatures. Period. We lit the grill, cooked and ate our supper, and happily crawled into our cozy comfortable bed.

Going away  – alone – was fun. But coming home? Priceless.

You’ve Been Warned (a rant)

I thought I'd give you all a warning so you could take cover. When you see a big mushroom cloud rising over the center of Iowa, you'll know that Hubs has informed his mom that we're going camping to a racetrack this weekend…without her. Yeah. OMG. The world is going to end with a bang. At least, that is my expectation.

The only time we have ever taken the RV anywhere without her was once last year when she was at my sis-in-law's place out of state. The only time. She even got pissy about that one when she got back and found out. She has somehow taken ownership of that which was never hers. Can't quite figure that out. It was never even in her family. It was my parents who gave it to me.

From the very first time we took it out she went with us and started "nesting". She couldn't just sit and enjoy nature or visit or relax. She had to be sweeping out the RV, sweeping the rug we put outside the step, picking up sticks, yelling at my son to remove his shoes before he got in the RV… WTF? It is an RV, not our home. We have rugs down on the floor to protect the carpeting – we're not stupid. We're at a campground and/or a racetrack. We expect dirt. She even brought rugs of her own, which she said were old and she was donating to the cause…yet, this week as the guys were cleaning out the RV from the Supernationals, she had some hissy fit because one of the rugs was missing. Your point? Who knows where it ended up, but I'm betting someone would take the flat screen high-def TV my hubs put in there quicker than they'd take your friggin' rug!

She fidgets. She can NOT sit still. She's always shuffling, putting things away, getting things out… last year I'd stocked the RV to the gills with food and when the guys decided to cook burgers, I was all like "there's catsup, mustard, pickles, mayo, etc, in the frig… help yourself." These are adults we're talking about after all, and I'm on vacation too. But, nooo… she's got to go inside, drag all that shit out of the frig and put it on the table, then try and force it on the people eating the burgers. Some of which weren't even my family, but race friends who stopped by and were offered a burger. What part of "no" couldn't she understand? Then, of course, you can't leave anything in the sink to be washed… and you can't leave a blanket unfolded or the table left down as the bed, even if no one is using it as a table and will be using it as a bed in another twelve hours.

The other thing that annoys the hell out of me is the woman is one of the most negative people on the planet. I realize the irony in me saying that as I post a negative rant, but trust me. You can't say anything to her that gets a positive response the first time out. Oh, she'll back-pedal, but to start out with a smile and a positive comment. Ain't gonna happen. I had to laugh at the Supernational finals the other night. We were on the catwalk, pinned in like sardines, and surrounded by a bunch of my son's friends and racing buddies that hadn't made it in. First, they started by pushing her to the front as she's very short… then making her stand on a cooler… but what made me laugh was the whole time they were calling her 'grandma'. (She hates to be called that. She hated it from the time her grandkids started being born. She was never what you'd call a 'warm and fuzzy' grandma. My kids mainly remember being given the invite to come to grandma's only to be put to work picking up sticks in the yard, or some other menial task. Fun times, let me tell you! ) Then, as the night wore on and the beer flowed, the potty mouths kicked in. I, for one, have a potty mouth. I admit it. My kids do too. All of them. They can all control it, when in the appropriate setting, but I think nothing of having the f-bomb flying around my head, especially at the track. One of my sons' friends leaned over and whispered (as much as you can whisper at a race track) "Grandma just gave me the evil eye!". Seems he let fly with a few explatives, and she scowled at him and said something about "that wasn't necessary". Oh, puuleeaze… lady, you are at a race track, testosterone is flying, beer is being consumed, and you are going to be the potty mouth police? Good grief. I found out later that night that a woman friend of my daughter-in-law moved to another part of the stands because she, too, got the "evil eye" from my MIL for being a potty mouth. I swear, if she could think of a way to crush someones' fun, she'll do it.

So… that brings us back to the weekend. There is a race about 40 miles from home. There are races Friday night and Saturday night. Youngest daughter has been kind enough to offer to take care of the critters. Son and wife will drive back and forth as DIL has to work. Basically, it will be Hubs and I. Alone. Camping. For two days. Have I mentioned alone?

Watch for the mushroom cloud. I know it's coming.

And Yet Another Surprise

If you've been a long-time reader (at least since March) you may have remembered this dilemma. Well, when I came to work yesterday I was greeted by a dark office. This in itself is not unusual, as people are taking vacations this time of year. However, when I walked in and flipped on the light it seemed a bit… empty. My "roommate" had quit.

In discussing it with one of the other guys I work with, he informed me that the quitting had officially taken place on Friday, but that he'd shown up early in the morning to clean out his desk. The music that he'd constantly play and leave on when he left for hours? Gone. Yay! I can go back to listening to my own music tastes, thank-you-very-much.

Also, it was well known in the office that he had been job hunting. I hadn't needed to say a word. I found out that one day when I was gone he'd been looking at some well-known job-hunting site on my computer and left the screen up for the plant manager to see. Tell me he didn't want to be caught! I guess the manager played dumb, just looked at it and said, "Now what dumbass would go and leave a job-hunting screen open on the computer like that?"  After turning whiter than his normal scandanavian complextion had him, I guess he was pretty quiet, but as far as they knew didn't do that one again.

He also applied for a job with the company that my former "roommate" had gone to. He had moved out of state when his brother was killed in an accident to be closer to his family and young nephew. He is still a friend and keeps in touch… so when the "big dummy" (as he is referred to and trust me, it fits) applied for a job with them, former roomate had called to talk to the manager about him. The manager had to be honest and just say he was pretty lazy and it probably wouldn't be a good fit. This was a couple of months ago, so they knew he was continuing to look.

I wish him well, I do. I honestly don't look forward to having someone new to have to "break in". Guess when you've been at a job for nine years there will be some of that, though. It is just part of the whole process. With the fall crunch right around the corner I hope they can find someone good that can step right in and so the job. It is badly needed.

Who said all surprises are bad ones?

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Respect covers a lot of territory. Today I'm going to narrow it down to respect for private property. This week has been the RAGBRAI bicycle tour of Iowa. It is an annual bike ride from one side of the state to the other. It has thousands of participants and covers a lot of ground. During their week-long ride they stop each night in a pre-determined location where the city has put aside some land to use for them to camp, park their support vehicles, and generally have set up many venues for their entertainment. They also have people along the routes who provide water, other forms of refreshment, food, encouragement, and support. There are volunteer families who donate yard space and house space to the bikers to camp and to use their facilities.

This is great. This would be even greater if the people who participated on these bike rides could all be respectful of the other people along their routes who may not share in their enthusism for bicycling.

A few years ago the path of the ride took them through our community, as it did this week once again. The last time, a friend of ours who lived in the country near the route was shocked upon returning home to find his yard, barn, shed – basically every nook and cranny of his farmstead – taken over by bicycles. Had he offered his home for their use? No. The weather had turned bad and the rain had caused the bikers to pull off the road and take shelter at his farm. They were everywhere. Up in the hay mow of his barn. The one that was about ready to collapse any day. The one that was unsafe for one or two people to be – suddenly was full of people! When our friend asked people to leave, they got angry at him for not being supportive of them.

He asked them, "Where do you live?"

They replied, "Why?"

He said, "Because next week I want to get fifty or a hundred of my best friends and come to your house and hang around your yard."

The person he was speaking to got angry. They just didn't get it.

This week, the ride went right past my son's house – our old house. The road was blocked off to most traffic. My son and husband were trying to haul grain out of a bin at the site. They had to fight thousands of bike riders who feel it is their right not to obey any traffic laws like stop signs, to be able to haul their grain. Trying to do their jobs.

At one point, my husband came back to find people sitting all over the yard in the shade of the trees. He also saw several men going into the corn field. When he asked them what they were doing, one man replied in a joking manner that they were just "going to fertilizer the corn". When my husband asked him where he lived and he replied a city nearby and asked why, my husband replied, "because next week I want to come to your house and fertilize your bushes".

I grew up in town. I grew up with parents who cherished their little square of grass and sidewalk as if it were the only piece of land on earth that mattered. We lived on a corner and I remember how irritated my parents would get if the kids crossed the corner on the way to school, or the newspaper boy cut across the lawn. I was told from the time I was little to stay on the sidewalks and not to go on other peoples' lawns, unless I was invited. This was not just a quirk of my parents, but the code of the neighborhood. We lived in several different neighborhoods and it was the same everywhere. No matter how ratty someone kept their yard, it was still their little piece of the earth and they didn't want your dog coming over to shit on it, or to pee on their flowers… they didn't want your kids tromping on it unless they were over to play with their kids, and you didn't mess with someone elses' stuff.

Respect. Just because we live in the country and you see the wide open spaces does not mean it is property open for public use. We may keep our large lawn mowed and looking nice and you may see a five acre piece of ground that looks like a park, but it is not a park. It is our home. It is our land. It is our field, our crop, our livlihood you're messing with when you tromp out in it to 'relieve' yourself.

Maybe if you didn't act like such assholes we wouldn't hate you so much. Respect. Earn it.*

*I realize like anything else there are some good people who ride bikes and who do obey the laws and who don't trespass. This is not meant for you.

God and Politics

Anybody who has come here for any length of time knows I don't do posts very often on religion or politics. Both of those are subjects I have some very definate opinions about and both of them can generate a lot of controversy in the blogosphere. I'm not one to generate controversy. However, a couple of things have happened recently that have made me want to say a little something.

If I Were God. Part I.

In September, 2007, The Los Angeles Times did a story on Jan Mickelson. He is a radio 'personality' on a local station that goes all over the universe. One of those mega-watt stations that can be heard for a gazillion miles. Normally I am not a fan. I just don't spend much time on talk radio. My Hubs has occasion to listen to them quite a bit as he goes back and forth in a tractor cab and music can get pretty old after awhile. I don't know all the details of this story, only the gist… but it is a good enough example to make my point; Jan Mickelson is a very religious man. I have no problem with that. Recently he went on a trip to ….somewhere… remote. I'm not going to pretend I remember where Hubs said it was, but suffice it to say it was a region of the world that had evidently yet to be disturbed by the likes of Jan Mickelson before. Hubs said he was going on and on and on about how beautiful it was, how pure and untouched and how beautiful and wonderful the people were. Then, in my opinion, he stepped on his dick. He started in with a tear-filled choked up voice about how amazing it was to watch these people seeing their native language in print for the first time…. oh, yeah… and it was, of course, some religioius material that was the media.WTF? If these people were so beautiful in their purity… then why didn't he leave them that way? Why is it, some people must be so arrogant in their religious beliefs that they feel they just have to "save" everyone?

If I Were God. Part II.

Last Friday I spent the day with some of my favorite people. Both of my daughters and my grandson. We spent a few hours at the local zoo, then decided on one of the hottest, most humid days of the year to take it up a notch and go to the local amusement park. Surprisingly enough, we had a great time despite the heat. Of course, the massive water ride that got everyone soaked that we rode almost as soon as we got there – that kept us in wet pants for the rest of the day – may have helped. For the most part, it was a terrific time. That is, until we ran into The Obnoxious Woman. There were a lot of things that characterized this woman as obnoxious, and any one of them on their own would have made her marginally tolerable. Rolled together, they were enough to make me want to grab her and shake her and wish I were God so I could reach down and smack her the Big One. She had a couple of children with her, also another adult friend with a child of her own. The Obnoxious Woman was telling her boy – who looked about 6 – that he WAS going on this ride. This ride that he had no-way-no-how-no-no-no-no-please-mommy-don't-make-me-no. Yeah. He was begging for his life. He was pleading with this woman that he did not want to go on this ride. In our park it is called "Der Flinger"… don't know what you may call it in yours. You sit in a swing that goes around in a circle, gradually getting higher and higher in the air where it then pumps up and down at a high rate of speed. The Obnoxious Woman was trying to tell her crying, pleading child that it was "just like a swing in the park"…. BULLSHIT, LADY. She told him he had no recourse but to go on the ride, that if he stayed on the ground "you will be kidnapped". Forget the fact she and her friend could have taken turns, if you are so damned determined you must ride this ride, why must you torture your child for your own pleasure?

She got the kid on the ride… drug him on, kicking and pleading and crying. The whole ride could hear him begging. We were hoping the older guy running the ride would have some rules that said if someone didn't want to go that badly they had to get off, but nope. He just checked their safety lock like everyone elses. The Obnoxious Woman continued trying to tell her child that it was just like that damn swing in the park… all the way until it took off. Then? Then the gut-ripping, heart-stopping shrieks started. The kid was terrified. He screamed, then whimpered… I couldn't see, but imagined her covering his mouth with her hand at that point. When the ride was over she proceeded in a very loud voice to tell him that he was a "big boy now". Forget the fact that he's just had a traumatic experience that probably will make him hate amusement parks, heights, and all rides for the next several years… all because she had to be a selfish bitch.

Probably a good thing I'm not God, huh?… or that I don't talk about it, or politics, much.

Bitter on the Tongue

Dear Ex-Husband,

Throughout the years I have tried hard to be understanding of your life, perhaps my guilt leading me to overcompensate for your shortcomings. When we divorced many many years ago, I did everything I could to be pleasant to you, your family, and eventually your new wife. Although I was seething with anger every time you blew off your kids' weekend visits, I bit down on the anger and never spoke to or around the kids with anything but good where you were concerned. I wished you only the best as you gradually stepped out of their lives and became a ghost of a father to them.

As they grew, they learned you were not to be counted on. I heard time after time of family gatherings with your family that you never attended. Birthdays that passed without even a phone call. Numerous times when your kids worried about you… and wondered if you ever had a thought about them. If it hadn't been for your parents and siblings, I wonder if you ever would have contact with your now-grown children?

Then came weddings. You appeared on cue to walk your daughter down the aisle and to play 'host' at your son's rehearsal dinner… all the while you have not been 'dad' for a very, very long time. Oh, and didn't offer a nickel toward helping to pay for anything. Just let everyone assume you had. Bitter? Yeah. I'm getting there.

I think the final straw has come. You have known what your daughter is going through because your parents have told you, your siblings have told you, your son has told you… and yet? Not one inkling of support until your sister finally comes from out-of-town and lays a gigantic guilt trip on you to go with her to the hospital to visit. Then I hear you only stayed about an hour. One hour out of the two she gets for visits… and lives for because of the boredom she suffers the rest of the time she is there. An hour to talk about all that you haven't spoken of for months? An hour to let her know  you love her? Did you even tell her you love her?

I will not say anything. It isn't my place anymore. Still? It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and anger in my soul.

Sincerely,

The Ex

Whoops! You Did It Again! (a rant)

Three-and-a-half years ago you "forgot" Begger's Night. Now, dear ex-son-in-law, you've stepped in it again. I realize for many people in the world Easter is a religious holiday. Although you aren't very religious – at least, not that I've noticed – you seem to have missed one very important aspect of Easter. Kids. Kids have this thing about Easter like they do about Halloween. They've been at school, whispering and giggling for the past week about the upcoming holiday. Bulletin boards have been covered with construction paper bunnies and crepe paper eggs. There are anticipated Easter egg hunts and chocolate bunnies and Peeps are selling off the store shelves as quickly as they can be stocked.

My grandson came home from spending his weekend with you. Normally, a very sweet boy… very calm… very. He was not calm, or sweet, or happy when he got home Sunday night. He was upset and disappointed and angry. Very angry. Angry that his dad spent most of the weekend sleeping. Angry that eggs were not colored or hunted. Angry that nothing… n o t h i n g was done to recognize Easter. Just another day.

Luckily, his mom and step-dad were anticipating he would be home that day and had gotten him a basket with some goodies.

Still? I'm really disappointed in you. Just taking care of your son for a couple of days a week and being involved in his life is a good thing, yes. But… there is more than just being a babysitter. You need to be a little bit more aware of what is going on around you and take that word "involved" to a new level. C'mon… he's a great kid. He's really worth it. These are the memories he's going to take with him when he thinks of you. Get your shit together. For both of your sakes.

Warped

I saw this story last week on our local news and had a hard time wrapping my brain around it. For those of you who don't want to jump to the link, it is a story out of Muncie, Indiana, about a man who forced his 7-year old daughter to kill the family cat with a knife. He originally tried to force his 11-year old son into it, but the son hid the cat and put ketchup on the knife, thinking he would fool his dad.

The dad's comment? He wanted to teach his kids how to kill.

WTF?

I can't imagine what this would do to a child. I've heard the horror stories of when parents go beserk and kill the family pet in front of the kids, but to actually make the kids do the killing? It just leaves me sickened.

Level Orange-ish (Not a Family-Friendly Post)

I'm guessing the rating for today's post is not going to be PG-13. Today finds me at bit peevish. Oh, nevermind. I'm not going to beat around the bush… I'm pissed. Big-time. Once again my faith in human nature has taken a hit and I'm frustrated, saddened, and really really pissed off. 

I've been robbed. No, not my home, business, or person… but in the cyber world. Still? I can relate a bit to the feelings a person has when they have had things stolen in their real life as the shock was very vivid and I have to keep reminding myself "this is only a game".

I have spoken before about how I play "World of Warcraft" with some of my kids. I actually have two accounts as I took over my daughter-in-law's account when she decided not to play any longer. You are only allowed a certain number of characters in what they called a "realm" and with two accounts I was able to exceed that character number. I love making new characters and since I play so slowly I it takes me a long time to get to a very high level. (I apologize to those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about.) Right now the game has a high level of 70. After playing for almost 3 years my highest character is only level 41 – and that is on my main account.

In November after loading a weekly update patch (they do this practically every week), I found I was unable to log into my main account. Because I was busy, in pain with my neck and back, and swamped with work and holiday stuff coming up I didn't think much about it and thought I had just made a typo in entering my sign-on information. I had changed my email address a couple of times and wasn't sure which email address I had on file so was not able to use their automated password recovery to try and figure out what I was doing wrong. I didn't try to log on again until January and was still unable to. Thinking (wrongly) that if anyone wanted to steal my account and my characters, as what happened to my son-in-law several months ago, they would go for my main level 41 character – the others being level 30 or below. The couple of times I logged in with my other account I could see that my main character was right where I left her, so hadn't gone into panic mode. In retrospect, I was an idiot… and have been kicking myself. A lot.

A few weeks ago I tried to get in again – this time more seriously. No luck. I sent an e-mail to Blizzard, the parent company, and got the reply that I would have to contact the Accounts department by phone. I did so a couple of days ago and explained my whole situation to a very pleasant support person who informed me that just a couple of weeks ago Blizzard had frozen my account and had sent emails to my old email account. He looked them up and said I would need to contact the account administration people and tell them exactly what I had told him. I did and they responded yesterday by giving me access to my account again and saying they could see there apparently had been unauthorized activity on the account.

No shit.

I logged in and my stomach went into dying fish mode… you know, flipping and flopping. I was sick. Instead of logging into my main realm and seeing 8 characters, there was only one… my main… and she had been stripped, literally. She had no money, no bags, no 'stuff', not even clothing. They had taken everything except her horse (which can't be sold). I personally think the only reason she wasn't gone was because she was the guild manager of our small family guild and couldn't be deleted without handing over guild management to someone else.

Every single one of my characters (yes, even the one I created that looked like my husband and I loved to play to tease my daughters) was totally gone as though they'd never been there. All my three years of work to get to where they were… all the money I'd acrued… all the weapons and spells and bags and armor… all I had to show for three years worth of play was gone.

In their place, on 32 different realms were 32 different characters. All had the same name "Sbld" (whatever the hell THAT means)… all were level 1 and throughout most of them was scattered my money. Trust me, a level one doesn't end up with 500-some gold unless something or someone is behind them.

I'm going to have to rebuild my characters. I'm going to have to try and go from nothing to something and take another who-knows-how-long to get there. I can look at the bright side and say "at least I still have my level 41 character" which is true… but right now she's naked without a cent to her name. I've written to Blizzard again, hoping there is some way of recovering my funds from these shady characters that I'm sure are just being used as "banks". I'm not holding out much hope since they are on different realms. (If they were on the same realm as my character, it would be an easy mail transfer – but across realms I just don't know what can be done.) I am crushed by the fact that someone, somehow, got into my account and did this to me. I'm not a level 70… or even 60…  I play slowly and carefully and as far as I know, try not to piss anyone off. I try to be a friendly, helpful player. I have made sure to have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and not to ever give out my password to anyone. Ever.

I know this is "just a game"… but it still has impacted me at the cruelty and cold calculating nastiness that some people will go to – even in a virtual world!  I just want to walk away, but don't want to give them the satisfaction. If Blizzard won't give me my money I'm not sure what I'll do next. It certainly will make it a hardship to start over with nothing.

Is it so much to ask that a game… a place where you go to relax and enjoy your friends and family and chat and run around …that it could just be that? Fun? Do the bad people have to ruin everything? Fuckers.