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Charmion De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021 (186* d) RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021 15 Jan 21

On the immunization front, the Ontario Ministry of Health website now has a "vaccination tracker" that forecasts your date with the needle according to which vulnerable groups you belong to. I might get my jab for my birthday. In September.

Meanwhile, as of yesterday, Ontario has entered into an even tighter lockdown in which we are forbidden to leave our homes unless we absolutely have to, and the police are ordered to ticket or arrest scoff-laws. Like most of my neighbours, I wonder how this differs from what we have been doing since Christmas.

Today's excursion is an expedition to the bank to make an affidavit stating that I never received, let alone cashed, a cheque in the amount of $220.51 that was the credit standing in our joint MasterCard account when the Bank of Montreal cancelled it on Edmund's death. While I'm off the chain, I might pop into Sobey's for some fresh veg and coffee cream.

This is what I'm reduced to: eagerly anticipating a visit to the bank!

The bank business is one result of yesterday's hours and hours of telephone time invested in chasing money owed to me.The first debtor is LL Bean, which uncharacteristically has never reimbursed me for two pairs of trousers I returned because they did not fit. LL Bean does business in Canada through a forwarding company called Borderfree that employs arrogant young Asian men to answer their telephones, and it took half the morning to learn, first of all, which precise string of 16 characters Borderfree needs to identify a transaction, and then to launch an inquiry into what happened to Cdn$153.35 that disappeared somewhere between LL Bean and me. The odds on getting my money back have improved, but (I suspect) only slightly.

The second debtor is MasterCard, to the tune of $220.51 (see bank visit, above). First, I spent more than an hour on the phone with MasterCard, where the matter was escalated FIVE TIMES before I found myself talking to someone who could plumb the depths of the computer to locate the data in question: whether a refund was ever made and, if so, how. (At every level of the telephone tree, I had to explain that the appearance of a line item on my MasterCard statement proved only that someone had entered the transaction on my account, not that I had received the payment.) Sure enough, a cheque had been mailed, and never landed in my mailbox. I know this because neither the household chequing account nor Edmund's estate account has received a deposit in the amount of $220.51 -- WHICH THE BANK STAFF CAN EASILY SEE FOR THEMSELVES! I also wonder why the bean-counters at MasterCard apparently can't either find the cashed cheque or, in its absence, simply stop payment on it and issue another.

Finally, at half past five in the late afternoon, I received a telephone call from a mealy-mouthed functionary of the Government of Canada Pension Centre. She was responding to a rather ferocious letter of 22 December in which I demanded to know why they had yet to pay out Edmund's Supplementary Death Benefit, a stonking sum of money that had gone unmentioned over ten weeks of correspondence, and informed them that their telephone system (the only other way to contact them) stinks out loud. The functionary allowed as how they had sent for Edmund's file and would soon "verify" the claim. I replied to the effect that Edmund died three months ago, and what have they been doing all this time? How long would they have sat on it -- a sum amounting to two years' worth of a good salary -- if I had not rattled their cage? The functionary could offer only platitudes and empty consolations. If one more bureaucrat tells me (instead of answering a Yes Or No question), "First of all, may I say how sorry we are for your loss?", I shall do something truly unpleasant.

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