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Bank of America Hates My Small Business

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BoA Sold My Account Without a By Your Leave

I feel like occupying Wall Street right now. At the beginning of the year, I decided it was past time for me to get a business account. I went to my local credit union (where I already have several accounts), but the staff person was even less informed about how to open a business account than I was (she slid the paperwork I had earnestly brought with me, in the event that information was needed to open my account, back across the desk to me and informed me I would have to come back after I acquired some information that neither she nor I had any idea how to get — and she didn’t seem to even care that she was letting a business owner walk out the door thinking that particular credit union was not a good fit for my small business).

I ended up at the Bank of America branch a few blocks from my house. The account manager was a dream. She knew her business so well she could explain it to me well enough that I understood what type of account would work for my business. I walked away feeling very happy with my choice. I was happy with it, even after BoA closed my local branch this summer.

I was not so happy when I got the notice that BoA was selling my business account to another bank…effective almost immediately. They very kindly told me my new bank would explain it all. So I waited. And waited. And waited some more. I finally got the information on Friday. Now that I’ve finally gotten the information from the other bank — I’m really unhappy. The terms are worse, I have no idea what their online setup is (I really liked the way BoA was set up to pay bills and keep track of my business expense). I didn’t even have any idea who I needed to contact to close my account (new bank says BoA…tomorrow I’ll find out what BoA says).

The full extent of BoA’s contempt for small businesses like mine is contained in their helpful list of what I need to do to make the transition smooth(ish) for my business:

1. Print *all* my records (estatements, transaction histories, ebill payment, check images) by the 23rd. Because after that I will have no access to those records from their site.

2. Download the information on any epayment or automatic transfer so that I can more easily (?!?) set up the account with my new bank (because, umm, what…BoA can sell my account without my permission, but they can’t work together with the new bank to make the transition seamless for me?).

3. Figure out how to deal with the dead air gap between when BoA will stop fulfilling my scheduled bill pay requests and the new bank will allow me online access to set up and manage a bill payment schedule.

For my business, this amounts to an annoyance (I have to close my account and transfer my money to a different bank, from which I can do what I normally do every month to take care of my business bills). For other businesses, I’m sure this is a great deal more than annoying. It’s going to take me several hours to deal with my relatively small workload to effect the change (time to go to the bank and close my account, time to go into my accounts that auto deposit into that account and change the automatic deposit information; time to do the research and find a new bank that is better than the one BoA sold me off to without a by your leave). I’m imagining that for some businesses this is causing a “drop everything and handle pronto” kind of work disruption. Because employees and vendors and suppliers don’t really want to hear any whining about BoA being the worst bank ever for small businesses. Payments have to be made, new accounts have to be set up. New debit cards, new online account set ups, new….

Well, I send those bigger small businesses my condolences.

And I warn any small business banking at BoA who hasn’t been sold off yet — get a backup plan in place. You may need it — in a hurry.


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Posted in Crazy or Genius?

On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: The Wedding!

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Kelly here again (you didn’t think I’d let Jim have the fun of talking about the wedding, did you?) Thank you for hanging in with us as we reported on our roadtrip to the wedding. Apologies for taking so long to get to the main event. We’ve been sifting through pictures and memories while resuming our normal lives. We were blessed to have many pictures from friends and family to choose from, but that takes time…and space.

The trip to the wedding was worthwhile, but the wedding was… perfect from the little ribboned bell sticks to flower petals strewn along the path to the ceremony site, to the thoughtfully prepared and nervously spoken wedding vows.

One post can’t possibly do this justice, so we’re going to dedicate the next week to pictures of the wedding (including behind the scenes shots and tributes to everyone who contributed to make this event perfect in every way). One of the things about doing a wedding as inexpensively as possible is that the wedding party and families do much of the work. We have a lot of people to thank, and we’ll be thanking them in the next few posts.

But today is reserved for the Wedding ceremony. The raison d’etre for the gathering and the roadtrip.

At Last — The Wedding

We should start with the waiting groom and his officiant Jacob (a good friend of the couple; this was his second time in the officiant role and he did a fabulous job).

Next came the flower girl, Lena (utterly adorable daughter of my cousin Sean and his wife Alana). She did a lovely job of scattering flower petals as she came up the aisle, although she was unsure of what to do when she got to the end and still had flowers.

She debated whether she was supposed to go back and scatter some more, but was persuaded she’d done a great job and could stay put.

There had been some discussion about whether Jim wanted to take the traditional role of walking the bride down the aisle. That was an affirmative. Father and daughter made their way down the aisle (with daughter whispering, “Faster, faster!” …or so I hear.

I’d had a hard time picturing the yellow and gray wedding colors, especially given that the setting was outdoors. The wedding party made a stunning tableau.

The beautiful bridesmaids were Kristen’s (and now Pete’s) great friends and my only niece.

The handsome groomsmen and the officiant were all Pete’s (and now Kristen’s) great friends.

The ceremony was touching and meaningful, as they read their vows (and stumbled a little, which was captured on the video for posterity).

They were proudly presented as a Mr. and Mrs. for the first time as they walked into the reception.

And then, it was official…time to party (see reception coverage in tomorrow’s blog).



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On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports From Jim — Brick Oven Pizza and S’Mores at Chalet View Lodge

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1 day until the WEDDING!!!

I admit it was a bit of a blur; we met family at the continental breakfast while plans for the day were made. A hike was planned but my blister kept me sidelined and I seemed to have enough to keep me busy. Those who went on the hike climbed mountains and valleys for 5 hours and had a great time. My brother confided he worried a bit about keeping up but his pride wouldn’t let Kelly’s aunt outdo him!

The groom-to-be’s family kept with the casual and friends-and-family focus for the rehearsal dinner. Since most of the guests were staying at the Chalet View Lodge, they arranged for brick oven pizzas on the outside patio.

The rehearsal itself was very casual (Twenty Mile House, where the wedding would take place, was busy with another wedding). It was all the participants circled around the bride-to-be being told not to worry too much about it, it would all work out. And then on to the fun.

The hotel had an outside area with a brick oven for gourmet pizza so pizza, along with some great sides, beer, wine and mojitos were on the menu.  No toasts or speeches tonight, just good conversation.

Kristen is blessed with many friends with professional level baking skills so one group provided amazing desserts for the dinner (with approval from the hotel).

The hotel then set up a SMore’s area around a fire pit. The sticks were a bit short, which led to some interesting attempts to toast marshmallows. Fortunately, no one had their eyebrows singed off. The winning technique seemed to be to connect the sticks with marshmallows and then quickly eat the results before they fell apart.

After all the planning, dreaming and waiting the Wedding was tomorrow!

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On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports from Jim — We Arrive at the Wedding Venue

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Winding Our Way to Graeagle

It was a 5 hr trip from SF to Graeagle, where we rented a house for the wedding. We could choose to travel back on I-80 (through the Donner Pass), which we had done on the way from Reno or the back route, about same time according to Mavis (and future son-in-law Pete). We took the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (no toll in our direction-saved $5!) on 580 to 80 to Sacramento. We crossed a small bridge which cost $5 (no free lunch for us). Left SAC for 99 north to Yuba City.

The plan was to stop and get lunch, gas and groceries along this stretch. I assured Kelly we would have plenty of choices. We had none, there was nothing there.

In Yuba we stopped for gas at an ARCO that did not take credit cards (they did take debit). Decided to pass and had to wait for the guy in front of me to fill up before I could leave. Paid a bit more to gas up a few miles away but missed the Carl’s Jr where we planned to have lunch.  There would be more places  I said confidently (there weren’t) so we had “lunch” about 5 pm. Took 20 to 49. 49 was a twisty winding mountain road where I made up a lot of time.  We formed a sort of convoy with two other vehicles, an SUV and a truck carrying 5 or 6 bicycles (no idea who these people were). These two cars took curves at somewhat amazing speeds. I kept up for a long time but decided we were traveling too fast (seeing a highway patrol car helped convince me, as well as what little common sense I still possessed).

Mavis directed us pretty well with one mishap; she directed us to the “Old Golden Chain Highway”. The turn went into an apparent parking lot for road maintenance with a narrow dirt road leading up into the mountains.  I opted to skip this path and just continued driving figuring (hoping) Mavis would find another route. She did and put us on the “New” road which was paved and undergoing new paving (but minimal interruptions to our travels).

We were concerned that our rental house could be a scam (blame all those scare-tactic reporters) because we had minimal contact with the owner.

Or that it could be too small, lacking, etc. (we’d rented sight unseen except for two small pictures).

We drove slowly, with our hearts going a little bit fast, looking at every house number and comparing it to the tiny picture we’d seen of the outside.

Except for Mavis saying our house was on the right when it was on the left, we arrived and were very impressed (and relieved).

It was a beautiful house, with big driveway for many cars, 2 garages and a couple of decks.  We were not disappointed when we went in. We just wished we had food, so we could have a cookout for any other wedding guests who’d gotten into town that day.

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On the Way to the Wedding: Jim’s Roadtrip Reports — California, Here We Are

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For those of you who have been hanging on to read about the best part of the trip, good news: we’re almost to the wedding. Today’s episode sees us arrive in San Francisco, California for a visit with Daughter  (aka Kristen) and Almost Son-in-law (aka Pete) before heading to Graeagle, where the wedding will take place. Thank you for your patience as we unfold the story. I promise the wedding pictures will be spectacular.

A Home is Made of Family and Friends, But Walls and a Pool are Also Nice

We left Reno for the 5 hr drive to Kristen and Pete’s new house. The ladies were planning to go shoe shopping so Kristen went and picked up Kelly’s mom from Kelly’s sisters place where she was staying. She then joined us after work.  Kristen had done some pre-shopping that turned out to fill all needs so shopping was cancelled. We had a tour of their house, which has a nice pool and deck. The house will be filled with friends, family and much love and will make them a fine home.

We walked with Kristen and Pete to a local pizza place and had dinner before we left Kristen to deal with the 4,327 remaining wedding details.

We were uncertain where to stay in SF. Some prices were pretty high and the reasonable priced places disappeared by the time we were ready to make a decision. I found an Extended Stay America in San Rafael that was near the Ferry terminal.

Things did not start out well; the hotel was near nothing and wasn’t what Kelly wanted (a place in downtown SF).  Since Kelly booked the room (with my urging) she went in and found that they had no non-smoking rooms available. The clerk was nice and went and checked the two remaining rooms and chose the one with the least smell.  While we were unpacking the fire alarm went off and everyone had to leave the hotel. It was someone’s smoky cooking that set off the alarm and no fire so after 10 minutes or so we could go in.

We could barely detect any smoke, many non-smoking rooms we have been in had more smoke.  The room was nice and pretty big. We slept well.

It was a short, rather easy drive to the Ferry terminal but the parking lot was filled.We were directed to the paid parking at a nearby bus station ($4 a day). We just made the ferry by minutes and were soon on our way to SF. The terminal is near San Quentin and we got a good view of the prison.  The SF Ferry building is nice, we were too late at the first place we stopped for breakfast (on the water) but the place on the street was still serving. Except for being so backward that they didn’t have Splenda, which meant no coffee for me, they were very good.

We didn’t do anything in SF except walk and sightsee. We walked to Fort Mason, went to Ghirardelli Square and resisted all the treats except for the 2 pieces of free see salt chocolate they gave us as we go in, as you all know free chocolate has no calories.

I made a poor decision to eat dinner at Bubba Gumps on Pier 33 (or was it 39?). Nothing was wrong with Gumps, food was fine and people were nice, we got good views of the Bay-which is what I wanted- it just seemed too expensive for what we got. Some of that was my fault for trying the “Corona-Rita” which is a Margarita with a small bottle of Corona pouring into it.  The drink was good but over $11 (most places don’t put prices on their cocktails, more often than not they are what I expect or cheaper, seldom more).  The meals came without salads or any extras.

We made our way back to the Ferry terminal and all the great pastries called to me but there was just enough time to make the Ferry so I missed my chance for a good dessert, but I was not done yet.

The previous day Kristen and Pete and walked us through the grocery store next to the pizza place as Kelly wanted a cup of coffee. I saw some amazing looking Danish but made the poor decision not to buy one (I knew Kristen would not approve). On the Ferry ride back over I found another member of the chain and programmed Mavis to take us there. Disappointment as all pastries were gone! I took solace in two cookies which were just ok as I wanted a good Danish!

A primary reason to visit SF was to visit Kelly’s uncle who is in very poor health. It was recommended that we not stop by however so we never did get to see him. [This was very hard for me, but in no way did I want to jeopardize his recovery in any way -- fortunately, I could visit him in another way: through a report on his innovative cancer treatment: . The report captures him perfectly, in all his interesting and crazy old man ways (he was a crazy young man, too...and middle-aged man...not only rode motorcycles up until his diagnosis, but taught motorcycle safety in several countries)].

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Mary Carter Uses a Lighthouse to Illuminate a Relationship

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Please welcome Mary Carter to my blog today, for a brief reprieve from travel related blogging. But the travel tales haven’t stopped. In fact, we’re just about to get to the good part: the wedding!

Let there be light 

An empty stretch of beach as the sun rises. Waves crashing onto the rocks. Fog rolls in. Ships at sea plod their courses. In the distance, way up high, a gentle light begins to blink.

I’ve always loved lighthouses. Let’s face it. They’re romantic. They’re mysterious. They are a part of our history, they’ve saved lives, they’ve evolved. And they’re becoming extinct. When I originally pitched the idea of The Things I Do For You to my editor, the premise was: A couple decides to run a bed and breakfast. That was it. Kensington liked the idea and I signed a two-book deal. But since the B&B was the second book of the deal, I had to put it aside while I worked on my 2011 novel, The Pub Across the Pond. There is always a bit of a let down when I finish a book. A melancholy sets in. In a way I’m grieving the loss of the characters who have kept me company for the past year. Even though I can always re-read them, it’s not the same as having them moment-by-moment in your thoughts. The Pub Across the Pond, a tale about about an American woman who wins a pub in Ireland, was close to my heart. I knew I needed to psyche myself up for starting another novel, especially since I was so attached to the previous one.

  But something about the bed and breakfast idea just wasn’t exciting me. I still loved the idea of quirky guests, and the day-to-day challenges of running such a business, but I still wasn’t in love. While writing a novel, you absolutely have to be in love with the idea. It’s hard enough even when you are, but impossible if you’re just lukewarm about the project. That’s when it hit me. Lighthouse! What if they lived in a lighthouse? Now that woke me up a little. I knew I would love spending my days researching lighthouses, and how lucky my characters would be to get to live in one. And wala, I was on my way. And even though I didn’t get to stay in any lighthouse bed and breakfasts this time around, I was able to do enough research to bring it to life. I was also fortunate enough to talk to conservancy groups whose goal is to keep lighthouses functioning. GPS systems are making them obsolete. It takes a lot of money, and the cooperation of the Coast Guard, to keep them running as functioning lighthouses. Some of my experts were worried I would glorify the idea of buying a private lighthouse and distinguishing its light forever. In certain states, lighthouses can be run as An Aid to Private Navigation, but they are few and far between. Learning all of this was fascinating, and ended up changing some key points of the plot—and for the better I believe! Some day, I’d love to curl up in a Crows Nest of my own, watching the light from my tower spread uponthe might ocean below. Until then, at least I’ve got, The Things I Do For You. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The Things I Do For You

What happens to a marriage when a husband buys a lighthouse behind his wife’s back?

Bailey Jordan has loved her husband, Brad, since they were ten years old. She’s followed him on every adventure–opening a sweater store in Seattle, a café in Colorado, a surf shop in Santa Monica. Each time, she’s picked up the pieces when things fell apart. But now, it’s her turn. Bailey has a successful real estate career in Manhattan, and she’s eager to start a family–until a car crash leaves Brad in a coma and changes their lives forever.

Awakening after his near-death experience, Brad has a new mission. He buys a lighthouse on the Hudson River, planning to turn it into a B&B. Grateful to have Brad alive, Bailey tries to make his dream her own. The lighthouse is beautiful, but the challenges–renovating, bringing in supplies by boat, navigating the locals and guests–are enormous. And then Bailey discovers a secret in Brad’s past that compels her to question her husband, her marriage, and how far she’ll go to keep them both. . .

Thoughtful and moving, The Things I Do for You exhibits a rare understanding of the joys, compromises, and small rebellions that lie at the heart of every marriage, and of the resilience and surprising power of love.

Mary Carter is a freelance writer and novelist. The Things I Do For You, is her sixth novel. Her fifth novel, The Pub Across the Pond, was July’s pick of the month with Barnes and Noble online book club, and is also available as an audiobook through Blackstone Audio. Her other works include:  My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues, She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged.  In addition to her novels she has written three novellas: A Very Maui Christmas in the New York Times best selling anthology Holiday Magic, The Honeymoon House in the New York Times best selling anthology Almost Home, and A Kiss Before Midnight (in an anthology collection headlined by Janet Daily) which will be out in the Spring of 2013. Mary is also excited to announce that she has started, The Writers’ Den, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where she will be teaching the exact writing course that helped her write and publish her first novel. Aspiring writers in the New York City area can go to www.themanhattanwritersden for more information. Readers can visit Mary at or Like her on Facebook and Follow her on Twitter.

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Posted in About a Book, Pardon My Gossip

On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports from Jim — Vegas Lite (aka Reno)

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The Road to Reno

Vegas was 9 hrs from the wedding and cheaper to fly into than Reno, so some of our upcoming wedding guests had made plans to do that. We wish we could have warned them about the drive, though. Unfortunately, we didn’t know how boring it was until we did it ourselves, too late to do anyone else any good. The drive was through uninteresting desert with few small towns that each had a gas station, a McDonalds and a Dollar General.  Occasionally we would see a brothel in the middle of nowhere. These places were little more than shacks and were pathetic looking. A friend who did the same drive suggested doing a coffee table book of Brothels of Nevada.

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On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports From Jim — Bryce Canyons, A Long and Beautiful Diversion

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Our road trip across the country on the way to our daughter’s wedding has begun! We’re taking the slow roads, avoiding the interstates, stopping to walk through the little towns we pass through if they catch our eye. For the next few weeks, we will be footloose and fancy free. And then we will be parents of the bride. So, please welcome my husband, Jim, to the blog. Jim is the photographer in the family, and he will be taking pictures and giving updates on the trip from his perspective.

Day 11 – July 25, 2012

A Very Long — But Worthwhile — Short Detour

Today is August 11 (which means the wedding is over — successfully, no runaway bride or groom). I am way behind but the choice to do or to blog is no choice at all for me.

When I last left you we were moving towards Vegas. The drive from Price, Utah was just supposed to be a drive, and a bit of a disappointing one at that.  My plan had been to drive rt 12 through Bryce Canyon and other beautiful sites but our arrival in Vegas would be too late.  Nevertheless Utah presented us many pretty sites, such as lunch by a stream along rt 89.

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On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports from Jim — Day 10, No Home on the Range

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Our road trip across the country on the way to our daughter’s wedding has begun! We’re taking the slow roads, avoiding the interstates, stopping to walk through the little towns we pass through if they catch our eye. For the next few weeks, we will be footloose and fancy free. And then we will be parents of the bride. So, please welcome my husband, Jim, to the blog. Jim is the photographer in the family, and he will be taking pictures and giving updates on the trip from his perspective.

Wide Open Skies, Mountains and Canyons

Day 10 – July 24, 2012

The Fairfield had a good breakfast, one we could actually eat.  We asked and received a late check out (noon) so Kelly could get some work done. She didn’t make it so I shooed her out of the room and into the lobby so we could make our noon checkout, with 30 seconds to spare.

While we have been early risers we have not been early departers, many times we start traveling after 10 am and some times after noon, such as today.  As I look back I can’t figure out what we did with those mornings.

While Kelly fought the noon deadline I loaded the car and took some daytime pictures of the monoliths. I also checked the map and gps, deciding to take a detour and head further down the new road. The road quickly became dirt and entered a canyon. A sign said something about a 20 plus mile trip. We only went about 2 but the canyon was a beautiful, reddish rock wall all around us.

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On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports from Jim — Day 9, Ayers Natural Bridge

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Our road trip across the country on the way to our daughter’s wedding has begun! We’re taking the slow roads, avoiding the interstates, stopping to walk through the little towns we pass through if they catch our eye. For the next few weeks, we will be footloose and fancy free. And then we will be parents of the bride. So, please welcome my husband, Jim, to the blog. Jim is the photographer in the family, and he will be taking pictures and giving updates on the trip from his perspective.

Striking Out and Getting Lucky in the Wild West

Day 9, July 23, 2012

Overview: The plan was to leisurely reflect on the events and wonders of each day. Yet each day has been full and we end most days exhausted so blogging waits until the morning when we have much to do (and Kelly needs the computer for work stuff).  We have streamlined the process to transfer pictures to the blog, a process I still leave mostly to Kelly.

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